10 Great Books Contemporary Culture Has Forgotten


Valentine Vox, by Henry Cockton (1840)

We were drawn to this 1840 title based on the name alone and were pleased to find out that Henry Cockton’s first novel, Valentine Vox, influenced the writing of Charles Dickens. The story about “a gifted ventriloquist who used his skills to play practical jokes” is described as “broadly comic,” but contains several “horrific lunatic asylum scenes.” That sub-plot involves Valentine’s uncle, Grimwood Goodman (another great name), being committed by “unscrupulous relatives” — and it remains an important, early study of the bias associated with mental illness.