Henry Morley

Henry Morley was, among other things, a physician, the conductor of a school, the first Professor of English Literature, and a longtime writer and editor for Charles Dickens's magazine Household Words.  He worked at HW from 1851 to its cessation in 1859, and published more articles in it than any other writer, Dickens included.  In later years, he returned to his alma mater, King's College in London, where he was a Lecturer in English, and later to University College, where he was appointed Professor of English Language and Literature.  A veritable Harold Bloom of his times, he edited over three hundred volumes of literary texts, which were issued in series as "Morley's Universal Library" and "Cassell's National Library," giving the English middle classes convenient compendia of the classics and forming a key moment in the canon formation of English literature as a whole.

Dickens was, as the "conductor" of Household Words, sometimes a stern taksmaster, making numerous revisions and additions to Morley's contributions, but Morley maintained good relations with him until Dickens's death in 1870.  In later years, Morley was reluctant to lecture on Dickens, and when he spoke of him, he nearly broke down in tears.  His assement of Dickens was mixed, however; he remarked of him that he "he had great genius, but not a trained and cultivated reason."

This site will offer a selection of Morley's periodical writings, along with some of his introductions and critical texts.  There will also be links to sites related to Morley and his times, and to editions edited by him which are available on-line (as copyright-free editions, Morley's are unusually well-represented online).

Comments or questions to: Russell A. Potter, rpklc@etal.uri.edu

Selected Writings of Morley

Our Phantom Ship among the Ice (Household Words, 12 April 1851)

The Globe in the Square (Household Words, 12 July 1851)

What is Not Clear about the Crystal Palace (Household Words, 19 July 1851)

The Birth and Parentage of Letters (Household Words, 27 September 1851)

Houses in Flats (Household Words, 24 March 1855)

Death's Cyphering-book (Household Words, 12 May 1855)

Wrecks at Sea (Household Words, 11 August 1855)

Anglo-Saxon Bookmen (Household Words, 8 May 1858)