This document is an annotation to the author's transcription of Charles Dickens's "Philadelphia, and its Solitary Prison," from American Notes (1842)

The Vicar of Wakefield (1776) by Oliver Goldsmith is a novella that Dickens much enjoyed reading as a boy, and which in some respects copied in The Battle of Life, his 1846 Christmas Book. The narrator is the story's protagonist, Dr. Primrose, who describes the comfortable existence he, his wife Deborah (despite her social pretentions), and their six children enjoy--until he loses his personal fortune in a mercantile bankruptcy. This event sets the stage for a series of tribulations, the chief of which is the narrator¹s being thrown into debtors¹ prison. In the end, Primrose's fortunes are restored by the reformation of a swindler, and his son and daughters marry well.

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Last modified 8 July 2004