decorated initial 'D' ickens supplied two of his literary friends, Mark Lemon (first editor of Punch) and dramatist Gilbert Abbot A'Beckett, with rush proofs in order to have the "authorized" adaptation of The Chimes beat to the boards those produced by such theatrical pirates as Edward Stirling. He needn't have bothered since the only serious stage rival to his friends' production at The Adelphi (home of the type of popular melodrama called "The Adelphi Screamer") was Stirling's at the Lyceum, then managed by the Keeleys. Stirling's production opened about a week after the novel's publication, on 26 December 1844, and closed its run of thirty-three performances on 1 February 1845. Just two days after the novel's publication, 16 December 1844, Lemon and A'Beckett opened their version, but Dickens never saw it: he had already left town, arriving back in Genoa on 20 December. The "authorized" adaptation closed two nights after Stirling's, presumably having enjoyed a run of about 45 performances. In Dickens Dramatized, Philip Bolton lists from 1845 to 1975 just 29 adaptations in total, including two silent films (the later being Herbert Blanche's in 1920) and two radio plays. If, as Michael Slater contends, The Chimes was "a tract for the times," it was probably too firmly rooted in the miseries of the Hungry Forties to stand the test of time and warrant either theatrical or cinematic resuscitation.

Related Material


Ackroyd, Peter. Dickens. London: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1990.

Bentley, Nicholas; Michael Slater and Nina Burgis. The Dickens Index. Oxford: Oxford U. P., 1988.

Bolton, Philip H. Dickens Dramatized. Boston, Mass.: G. K. Hall, 1987.

Davis, Paul. Charles Dickens A to Z. The Essential Reference to His Life and Work. New York: Facts On File, 1998.

Kurata, Marilyn J. "Fantasy and Realism: A Defense of The Chimes." Dickens Studies Annual 13 (1984): 19-34.

The Letters of Charles Dickens. Ed. Kathleen Tillotson. The Pilgrim Edition. Vol. 4: 1844-1846. Oxford: Clarendon, 1965.

Schlicke, Paul, ed. Oxford Reader's Companion to Dickens. Oxford: Oxford U. P., 1999.

Last Modified 16 January 2007