The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (also known as The Pickwick Papers) is the first novel by Charles Dickens. After the publication, the widow of the illustrator Robert Seymour claimed that the idea for the novel was originally her husband's; however, in his preface to the 1867 edition, Dickens strenuously denied any specific input, writing that "Mr Seymour never originated or suggested an incident, a phrase, or a word, to be found in the book."
Dickens was asked to contribute to the project as an up and coming writer following the success of Sketches by Boz, published in 1836 (most of Dickens' novels were issued in shilling instalments before being published in the complete volume). Dickens (still writing under the pseudonym of Boz) increasingly took over the unsuccessful monthly publication after Seymour had committed suicide.
With the introduction of Sam Weller in chapter 10, the book became the first real publishing phenomenon, with bootleg copies, theatrical performances, Sam Weller joke books, and other merchandise.