Stephen Blackpool recovered from the Old Hell Shaft

Frederick Walker

Wood engraving by Joseph Swain

7 x 4¼ inches

Charles Dickens, Hard Times for These Times, originally serialized in Household Words, 1 April-12 August 1854 (unillustrated). Illustration opposite p. 151 in the Illustrated Library Edition (1868).

Dickens narrates the death of his working-class hero in a sentimental vein as Stephen, speaking in his thick North of England accent to Rachael, achieves a kind of apotheosis through looking fixedly on the North Star. Walker invests the mournful scene with a perfect Pre-Raphaelite stillness and harmony.

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Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham

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