Following the phemenal popularity of Sketches by Boz and The Pickwick Papers, Dickens produced two short volumes of Sketches of Young Gentlemen and Young Couples, in response to the appearance of Sketches of Young Ladies by 'Quiz'. Each volume purports to dissect the characteristics of familiar types such as 'The Bashful Young Gentleman', 'The Literary Young Lady', and 'The Couple who Coddle themselves'. Whimsical, satirical, witty and exuberant, the sketches ridicule the behaviour of their subjects with perfect comic effect, rendering Mr Whiffler, Mrs Chopper and their companions instantly recognizable. They offer intriguing glimpses of courtship rituals and relations between the sexes at the outset of the Victorian era, and fascinating evidence of a writer learning his craft and refining his style. This edition includes the original illustrations by Phiz, and an introduction that examines the appeal of the sketch, a literary genre in which Dickens excelled throughout his career.
Paul Schlicke is editing the Clarendon edition of Sketches by Boz. For Oxford World's Classics he has introduced and annotated Hard Times and Nicholas Nickleby. He was President of the Dickens Society of America in 1994, President of the Dickens Fellowship 2003-5, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Charles Dickens Museum, 2005-9.