Jonah’s Account of the Whale
Charles Dickens' fake books
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In 1851, Charles Dickens and his family moved to Tavistock House, the London home in which he would go on to write A Tale of Two Cities, Bleak House and Little Dorrit. All was close to perfect, but there was one small dilemma: he didn’t have in his possession enough books to fill the many bookshelves offered by his new abode. Rather than purchase more reading material, Dickens’ creative solution was to instead fill the gaps with fake books, the witty titles of which he had invented and then supplied, by letter, to a local bookbinder named Thomas Robert Eeles. The list read as follows.
—History of a Short Chancery Suit
—Catalogue of Statues of the Duke of Wellington
—Five Minutes in China. 3 vols.
—Forty Winks at the Pyramids. 2 vols.
—Abernethy on the Constitution. 2 vols.
—Mr. Green’s Overland Mail. 2 vols.
—Captain Cook’s Life of Savage. 2 vols.
—A Carpenter’s Bench of Bishops. 2 vols.
—Toots’ Universal Letter-Writer. 2 vols.
—Orson’s Art of Etiquette.
—Downeaster’s Complete Calculator.
—History of the Middling Ages. 6 vols.
—Jonah’s Account of the Whale.
—Captain Parry’s Virtues of Cold Tar.
—Kant’s Ancient Humbugs. 10 vols.
—Bowwowdom. A Poem.
—The Quarrelly Review. 4 vols.
—The Gunpowder Magazine. 4 vols.
—Steele. By the Author of “Ion.”
—The Art of Cutting the Teeth.
—Matthew’s Nursery Songs. 2 vols.
—Paxton’s Bloomers. 5 vols.
—On the Use of Mercury by the Ancient Poets.
—Drowsy’s Recollections of Nothing. 3 vols.
—Heavyside’s Conversations with Nobody. 3 vols.
—Commonplace Book of the Oldest Inhabitant. 2 vols.
—Growler’s Gruffiology, with Appendix. 4 vols.
—The Books of Moses and Sons. 2 vols.
—Burke (of Edinburgh) on the Sublime and Beautiful. 2 vols.
—King Henry the Eighth’s Evidences of Christianity. 5 vols.
—Miss Biffin on Deportment.
—Morrison’s Pills Progress. 2 vols.
—Lady Godiva on the Horse.
—Munchausen’s Modern Miracles. 4 vols.
—Richardson’s Show of Dramatic Literature. 12 vols.
—Hansard’s Guide to Refreshing Sleep. As many volumes as possible.