On 25 May 2006, an immensely valuable digital project was launched on a six-year mission.
It is already proving an extremely exciting journey – one that combines the phenomenal potential of the Internet and computing technology with literary scholarship, the enduring power of great journalism, and the lives and stories of our Victorian ancestors.
DJO successfully created, by the time of the Charles Dickens bicentenary in February 2012, a complete online edition of Dickens’s weekly magazines, Household Words and All the Year Round. In their day, these were phenomenally popular journals, which not only carried instalments of such well known novels as Great Expectations, Hard Times, North and South, and The Woman in White, but also poetry, investigative journalism, travel writing, popular science, history, and political comment.
It is free at point of delivery. Readers have access to high-quality facsimile downloads of each weekly number, which are also fully indexed and searchable, not only on the text but on keywords (i.e. a search under “firearms”, “exploration”, or “Medway towns” will produce a comprehensive list of hits). Authors’ names are supplied where known, linked to biographical profiles and bibliographies. The site also documents and where possible makes freely available all good scholarship relating to the journals. Resources and ‘learning journeys’ based on National Curriculum requirements are being developed for school readers of Hard Times and Great Expectations at GCSE and A-level.
The project is led by John Drew, author of Dickens the Journalist, and co-editor with Michael Slater of the final volume of the Dent Uniform Edition of Dickens’s journalism. He authored entries on All the Year Round and Household Words in the Oxford Reader’s Companion to Dickens, in the forthcoming Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century Journalism, and is an ardent admirer of the journals.