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The Heart of Mid-London

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Authors Charles Dickens
W[illiam] H[enry] Wills
Genres Prose: Leading Article i
Prose: Short Fiction i
Subjects Agriculture; Fishing; Forestry; Gardening; Horticulture
Great Britain—Commerce
Other Details
Printed : 4/5/1850
Journal : Household Words
Volume : Volume I
Magazine : No. 6
Office Book Notes
MemoSmithfield cattlemarket
Views : 3040

Dickens probably wrote the following section of 'The Heart of Mid-London': from 'Obdurate heads' (p. 122) to 'blasphemous Nightmare' (p. 123).
Dickens may also have written portions of the following passages: the opening paragraph; from 'Mr. Bovington was about to hazard a remark' (p. 125) to the conclusion.
In addition, Dickens seems to have added many touches to sections primarily by Wills. For a discussion of the Dickens-Wills attributions, see note to 'Valentine's Day at the Post-Office.'
In 1850 there was much agitation against the terrible conditions at London's Smithfield Cattle Market, and the following article was a part of the campaign to effect reform. There were other similar articles. In the 29 June 1850 issue of Household Words, for example, Dickens ran (he probably also commissioned and titled) R. H. Horne's 'The Cattle-Road to Ruin' â€“ another article with a punning, 'literary' title. The livestock market was finally removed from Smithfield in 1855.
'The Heart of Mid-London,' like many of Dickens' collaborative or, as he termed them, 'composite' articles, was planned in advance and based, in part, upon a visit. On 12 March 1850 Dickens wrote to Wills from Brighton: 'I shall be back [in London], please God, by dinner-time to-morrow week [Wednesday, 20 March]. I will be ready for Smithfield either on the following Monday morning at four, or on any other morning you may arrange for.'

Harry Stone; © Bloomington and Indiana University Press, 1968. DJO gratefully acknowledges permission to reproduce this material.

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