The Circumlocution Office

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At The Circumlocution Office we strive to provide the most authoritative and accurate information about the life and works of Charles Dickens.

In a word, it was impossible for me to separate her, in the past or in the present, from the innermost life of my life.

Background. "In a word, it was impossible for me to separate her, in the past or in the present, from the innermost life of my life." is a quotation from Great Expectations (Chapter 29). Great Expectations is Charles Dickens's thirteenth novel first published between 1860 and 1861.   Context. Pip sums up his feelings for Estella. Taken from the opening passage in Chapter 29 of Great Expectations: Estella laughed, and looked at the shoe in her hand, and laughed again, and [...]

2018-09-27T23:33:41+00:00Categories: Great Expectations|Tags: , |

Her light came along the dark passage like a star.

Background. "Her light came along the dark passage like a star." is a quotation from Great Expectations (Chapter 8). Great Expectations is Charles Dickens's thirteenth novel first published between 1860 and 1861.   Context.  In this quotation the character Pip (as narrator) describes Estella as she walks towards him along a gloomy passageway at the decaying mansion of Miss Havisham, Satis House. Although the reference to 'her light ... like a star' is that from a candle, the fondness in [...]

All skeleton within, all bonnet and cloak without.

  Background.   "All skeleton within, all bonnet and cloak without." is a quotation from A Walk in a Workhouse. A Walk in a Workhouse was an article written by Charles Dickens about a visit to a London workhouse. It was first published on Saturday, 25 May, 1850, in Dickens own magazine Household Words.   Context. Dickens describes elderly women in a workhouse. Taken from the following passage in A Walk in a Workhouse: Among this congregation, were some evil-looking [...]

He has frequently been exactly seven-and-sixpence short of independence.

Background.   "He has frequently been exactly seven-and-sixpence short of independence." is a quotation from The Begging-Letter Writer. The Begging-Letter Writer was an article, written by Charles Dickens, about begging letter writers. It was first published in Household Words on 18 March, 1850.   Context. Charles Dickens had been plagued with receiving begging letters after being catapulted to national fame following the success of The Pickwick Papers. The quotation is taken from the following passage of The Begging-Letter Writer: I [...]

We are quite in a childlike state altogether, representing an infant institution, and not even yet a grown-up company.

Background. "We are quite in a childlike state altogether, representing an infant institution, and not even yet a grown-up company." is a quotation from a 1858 speech given by Charles Dickens at Freemasons’ Hall (Covent Garden), London. The speech, in support of the Hospital for Sick Children at Great Ormond Street, London, was given on 9 February 1858.   Context. Taken from the following part of the speech Dickens gave: Ladies and gentlemen — It is one of my rules [...]

Those who are most distrustful of the advantages of education, are always the first to exclaim against the results of ignorance.

Background. "Those who are most distrustful of the advantages of education, are always the first to exclaim against the results of ignorance." is a quotation from a speech given by Charles Dickens to the Birmingham Polytechnic Institution. The speech, promoting educational improvement and learning, was given on 28 February 1844.   Context. Taken from the following part of the speech Dickens gave: There is, indeed, no difference in the main with respect to the dangers of ignorance and the advantages [...]

2018-09-09T17:20:33+00:00Categories: Speeches|Tags: |

If any one were to ask me what in my opinion was the dullest and most stupid spot on the face of the Earth, I should decidedly say Chelmsford.

Background. "If any one were to ask me what in my opinion was the dullest and most stupid spot on the face of the Earth, I should decidedly say Chelmsford." is a quotation from a letter written by  Charles Dickens to his friend Thomas Beard on 11 January, 1835. The letter was written at the Black Boy Hotel in Chelmsford, where Dickens was staying during a reporting assignment.   Context. Dickens reflects on being stuck in the town of Chelmsford. [...]

2018-09-08T12:30:49+00:00Categories: Letters to Friends|Tags: |

The Theatre was capacious, with a very large capable stage, well lighted, well appointed, and managed in a business-like, orderly manner in all respects.

Background. "The Theatre was capacious, with a very large capable stage, well lighted, well appointed, and managed in a business-like, orderly manner in all respects." is a quotation from The Amusements of the People (Part 2).  The Amusements of the People was an article, written by Charles Dickens, exploring popular theatre. It was first published in Dickens own weekly magazine Household Words on 30 March, 1850. This was followed up with a second article two weeks later, also called The [...]

We believe a love of dramatic representations to be an inherent principle in human nature.

Background. "We believe a love of dramatic representations to be an inherent principle in human nature." is a quotation from The Amusements of the People (Part 2).  The Amusements of the People was an article, written by Charles Dickens, exploring popular theatre. It was first published in Dickens own weekly magazine Household Words on 30 March, 1850. This was followed up with a second article two weeks later, also called The Amusements of the People, about The Eagle theatre in [...]

A great many very young girls grown into bold women before they had well ceased to be children.

Background. "A great many very young girls grown into bold women before they had well ceased to be children." is a quotation from The Amusements of the People (Part 2).  The Amusements of the People was an article, written by Charles Dickens, exploring popular theatre. It was first published in Dickens own weekly magazine Household Words on 30 March, 1850. This was followed up with a second article two weeks later, also called The Amusements of the People, about The Eagle [...]

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