The Letterjoy Blog

Charles Dickens Was Not A Fan Of Unicorns

 Recently, while reading through the letters of Charles Dickens, I came across this gem: Dickens declining to publish a "scientific" paper on unicorns in his journal. It doesn't really fit the criteria of a letter we'd share with our paying members via mail, but it's amusing, so we're sharing it on our blog instead.

The recipient (and author of the paper in question) was Servaas de Bruin, a prolific Dutch writer and translator.

This letter is a good reminder that the concept of unicorns has been around much longer than you might expect (or at least much longer than I expected). There are artistic depictions of unicorns dating back hundreds and thousands of years, including seals, statues, and cave paintings created prior to 2,000 BC.

Letter To Servaas de Bruin

Tavistock House, London

Fourth March 1857

Dear Sir

I regret to inform you that the little paper on the Unicorn is not suited to Household Words. I do not think the existence of such an animal sufficiently probable, to render the subject worth mooting. I do not return the paper, because of the expense of postage. But I carefully reserve it, for you to reclaim in any way most convenient to yourself. Let me hope that I may yet have it in my power to send you a more agreeable communication.

Faithfully Yours
Charles Dickens