When Charles Dickens fell out with America

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On his first visit to America in 1842, English novelist Charles Dickens was greeted like a modern rock star. But the trip soon turned sour, as Simon Watts reports.

On Valentine's Day, 1842, New York hosted one of the grandest events the city had ever seen - a ball in honour of the English novelist Charles Dickens.

Dickens was only 30, but works such as Oliver Twist and the Pickwick Papers had already made him the most famous writer in the world.

The cream of New York society hired the grandest venue in the city - the Park Theatre - and decorated it with wreaths and paintings in honour of the illustrious visitor....

But a visit which had started so well quickly turned into a bitter dispute, known as the "Quarrel with America"....

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