The earliest surviving Dickens literary manuscript comes from a parody of Shakespeare’s Othello. Dickens wrote the adaptation in 1832 or 1833, around the time he first secured work as a journalist. The role of the Great Unpaid went to his father, John Dickens. The Dickens family apparently performed Charles’s parody in 1833 just a few years after he missed his Covent Garden audition.
John Dickens, a chronically impecunious spendthrift, sold this manuscript in 1842 hoping to benefit from his son’s fame.