Instalments

John Mullen discusses Dickens's method of writing and publishing in installments

John Mullen discusses Dickens's method of writing and publishing in installments

Dickens stimulated the interest of readers with a revolutionary method of composition: he wrote and published his novels in instalments. Most of them, like Nicholas Nickleby or David Copperfield, came out in monthly parts. A few, like Hard Times, were published weekly. 

Publishing in this way also allowed an extraordinary feedback from readers to author. Here is Dickens writing to his publisher during the composition of The Old Curiosity Shop.

‘I am inundated with imploring letters recommending poor little Nell to mercy.—Six yesterday, and four today (it’s not 12 o’Clock yet) already!’

Watch the video and explore the source below to find out more about Dickens's revolutionary method of writing and publishing in instalments. Filmed at the Charles Dickens Museum, London. 

Historical & Literary Sources

Nicholas Nickleby

An original front cover for Charles Dickens's Nicholas Nickleby.