Art: Blighted Wretch

The news traveled swiftly along London's Grub Street. Charles Dickens' illustrator, Robert Seymour, had shot himself after finishing only half his sketches for the Pickwick Papers. A few days later, with some sample sketches tucked hopefully under his arm, a stout, bumbling, bemonocled young man called on Mr. Dickens to ask for the vacant job. The novelist took a quick look at the sketches and shook his head. "Had it not been for that unfortunate blight which came over my artistical existence," declared William Makepeace Thackeray many years later, "I should have tried to be not a writer, but a...

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