Reading at Reading Literary, Scientific and Mechanics' Institution


Speech given before a reading of A Christmas Carol (19 December 1854).


Dickens, Charles


'Mr. Charles Dickens' Visit to Reading.' Berkshire Chronicle (23 December 1854): p.6.



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Bibliographic Citation

Dickens, Charles. 'Reading at Reading Literary, Scientific and Mechanics' Institution' (19 December 1854). Dickens Search. Eds. Emily Bell and Lydia Craig. Accessed [date].


Ladies and Gentlemen, you will feel with me, I am sure, that the time is past when it would have become me to make any reference of a merely personal nature to the cause of your having so greatly honoured me in selecting me as your president – for the memory of the good is still removed to a region, in which all public life and private attachment must equally rise. Therefore you must equally agree with me that it is not my task to disturb its serenity by any reference to private grief or individual attachment. I stand here in the place of one whose name is deeply dear to all of us. He recognised as you do, in the selection of a friend to follow him, the expression of a hope that that friend my have learnt some lessons at least from the example of his gentle nature and his simple heart.


'Mr. Dickens then stated that the last time he had had the pleasure of reading his Christmas Carol, it was to an audience of three thousand, and they were kind enough to consider themselves a Christmas party listening to a Christmas story. He wished his audience so to consider themselves that evening; and to give a free and natural expression of their feelings, without entertaining any feer of disturbing him. He then proceed to give his reading.'


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Dickens, Charles, “Reading at Reading Literary, Scientific and Mechanics' Institution,” Dickens Search, accessed September 26, 2023,

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