Convivial Dickens
The Drinks of Dickens and His Times

By Edward Hewett and William F. Axton

“What a jolly and instructive book! At once a contribution to Victoriana, to Dickeniana, and to the history of potabilia.”

Clifton Fadiman

“A fine example of research in several closely allied fields—the history of food and drink, the biography of Dickens, and the social history of Victorian England. The book as a whole is in fact an encyclopedia of its subject.”

Richard Altick

“Victorian drinks, from Arf–and–Arf and Caudle to Shandygaff and Tom and Jerry, are not the only temptations in this book; it is a downright good read, full of the lore and laughter of messrs. Pickwick and Micawber.”

Bon Appétit

Convivial Dickens, carefully researched yet presented in a lively, popular style, provides those interested in the lore of drinks and drinking with a dependable and authoritative guide to the creation of Victorian potables such as would have been enjoyed by Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Micawber.

Alongside its many exuberant period illustrations by Cruikshank, Dicky Doyle, John Leech, and others, a leading feature of the book is over 130 authentic Victorian drink recipes. Culled from bartenders’ guides, butlers and housekeepers’ manuals and cookbooks of that era, the recipes appear at the end of each chapter and are carefully cross–indexed for handy reference.

Here is a wealth of information about the ways in which these drinks were made, the original materials employed in their mixing, and the social circumstancs surrounding their enjoyment. As a bartender’s guide or companion for the many readers of Dickens who enjoy his convivial scenes and wish to paticipate more fully in them, Convivial Dickens should please and instruct, and perhaps lend a Dickensian glow to modern conviviality.


Edward Hewett is an artist and writer who makes his home on Martha’s Vineyard. A former professor of art at the Ohio State University, he taught painting at universities in England and the U.S. from 1955 to 1971.

W. F. Axton, founder and past president of the Dickens Society, is professor of English at the Univesity of Louisville. He has lectured widely on Victorian eating, drinking, and social customs and attitudes.

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Related Subjects

Literary Studies · Literary Criticism

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Paperback

978-0-8214-0702-8
Out-of-print