Deciphered shorthand

Telling Tales: Dictation, Gossip, Fact, and Fiction

Is it important that Dickens is dictating to his shorthand pupil, Arthur Stone, in the texts that our Dickens Decoders have transcribed? In the first of a series of three blogs, Professor Hugo Bowles thinks through the implications of these texts as spoken stories, as well as the role of dictation, gossip, fact, and fiction.

Deciphered shorthand

The story of ‘Sydney Smith’

What in the world was this dictation exercise, labelled ‘Sydney Smith’, about? Was Dickens writing about his son? His friend, Sydney Smith? Or something else?
Find out more and download a full transcript in this post.

A photo of Nelson's Column, Trafalgar Square, London
Past challenges

The ‘Nelson’ challenge

Our first #SolveItDickens challenge of 2022 comes from the notebooks of Dickens’s shorthand pupil, Arthur Stone, at the Free Library of Philadelphia.
Deadline: 31 March 2022