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 two 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.


‘You have seen me before tonight’: Transcribing ‘The Two Brothers’ part II

We thought the mystery of ‘The Two Brothers’ was solved when the amazing work of the Dickens Decoders produced a full transcript of part II. But, thanks to two eagle eyed decoders, it soon emerged that it wasn’t just the ghost of the Slough brother that we’d ‘seen […] before tonight’. Find out more and download a full transcript.

A man in Victorian dress is confronted by a ghost in a white sheet

The story of ‘The Two Brothers’

This shorthand exercise begins ‘I once heard a story’, but a story about what?
Find out more about this haunting tale of ‘The Two Brothers’ and download a transcript in this post.


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.