“Surmount This With A Loose Coil of Common-Coloured Hair”: Thomas Carlyle’s Description of Dickens

October 12, 2011 § 1 Comment

Imagine Charles Dickens. Got an image in your head? Now read this:

In a letter to his brother in 1840, Thomas Carlyle wrote:

“He is a fine little fellow, Boz, as I think; clear blue intelligent eyes, eyebrows that he arches amazingly, large protrusive rather loose mouth, –a face of most extreme mobility which he shuttles about, eyebrows, eyes, mouth and all, in a very singular manner while speaking; surmount this with a loose coil of common-coloured hari, and set it on a small compact fiure, very small, and dressed rather a la D’Orsay than well: this is Pickwick; for the rest a quiet shrewd-looking little fellow, who seems to guess pretty well what he is, and what others are.”

Do the two images match?

 

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§ One Response to “Surmount This With A Loose Coil of Common-Coloured Hair”: Thomas Carlyle’s Description of Dickens

  • I have to say the images don’t match actually – I wouldn’t have though he was small from my recollection – not too sure about his hair because I picture him with a top hat, but the colour of his eyes is of interest because I have only ever seen black and white photos of Dickens!

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