“I was given to understand that whatever was unintelligible would be certainly Transcendental.”
–Charles Dickens, American Notes
Dickens’ Dream by Robert William Buss, 1875. Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.
Yesterday was the 145th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ passing.
Dickens on Tobacco and Transcendentalism
Dickens visited the United States in 1842. He was appalled by the practice of chewing and spitting tobacco in public, calling Washington, D.C. “the headquarters of tobacco-tinctured saliva.” Initially suspicious of the “sect of philosophers” known as the Transcendentalists, Dickens warmed to them after discovering their association with his friend Thomas Carlyle.
From American Notes for General Circulation (London: Chapman and Hall, 1842), 1:133-134.