NOTES ON ISSUE 1: ALLUSIONS
Morgiana in the Forty Thieves
A character from the Arabian Nights. Brewer's Dictionary
of Phrase and Fable describes her thus:
The clever, faithful, female slave of
Ali Baba, who pries into the forty jars, and discovers that
every jar, but one, contains a man. She takes oil from the only
one containing it, and having made it boiling hot, pours enough
into each jar to kill the thief concealed there. At last she
kills the captain of the gang, and marries her master's son.
that famous cow with the crumpled horn who tossed the dog
who worried the cat who killed the rat who ate the maltů
This passage is taken from the well-known nursery rhyme "The
House that Jack Built." Dickens uses multiple references
to children's rhymes, songs, and stories in this passage to
underscore his point: that the young Gradgrinds have been deprived
of a childhood.
that yet more famous cow who swallowed Tom Thumb
Tom Thumb was originally the diminutive hero of Henry Fielding's
The Tragedy of Tragedies, or, The Life and Death of Tom Thumb
the Great (1730). George Cruikshank—an important illustrator
of the day, who illustrated many of Dickens's early works—included
a version of the story in his Fairy Library (1853-4).
The figure of Mrs. Grundy—originally an unseen character
from Thomas Morton's play Speed the Plough (1798), to
whom the onstage characters refer as a censorious judge of their
behavior—had become a cliché of respectability
by the mid-nineteenth century.