Charles Dickens, Happy Birthday!

Charles Dickens was born on the 7th February, 1812.

Just a short item from me today.

Charles Dickens

Inevitably, the bicentenary of someone as well known as Charles Dickens is going to be widely celebrated.  WikiPedia has a nice summary for someone, such as me, who isn’t too familiar with the writings or life history of Charles Dickens, from which I quote,

Charles John Huffam Dickens (7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature’s most iconic novels and characters.

Many of his writings were originally published serially, in monthly instalments, a format of publication which Dickens himself helped popularise. Unlike other authors who completed novels before serialisation, Dickens often created the episodes as they were being serialised. The practice lent his stories a particular rhythm, punctuated by cliffhangers to keep the public looking forward to the next instalment.  The continuing popularity of his novels and short stories is such that they have never gone out of print.

Dickens’s work has been highly praised for its realism, comedy, mastery of prose, unique personalities and concern for social reform by writers such as Leo TolstoyGeorge Gissing and G.K. Chesterton; though others, such as Henry James and Virginia Woolf, have criticised it for sentimentality and implausibility.

From the BBC website, there is a podcast that can be downloaded, introduced thus,

Docs: Dreaming Dickens: Feb 03 12

Fri, 3 Feb 12

24 mins

In this documentary-fantasy we bring the danger back to Dickens. Slipping in and out of his weird and brilliant imagination, we see modern London as he might have done, travelling through the city’s streets at night to crack dens and strip-joints as the police sirens wail. We meet characters from his novels and characters who would be in his novels if he were still alive today.

CNN from London have published an interesting article, that opens thus,

Dickens admirers mark bicentenary

By Bryony Jones, CNN
updated 9:16 AM EST, Mon February 6, 2012

London (CNN) — Charles Dickens is one of the world’s best-loved writers, whose books — and the countless film and TV adaptations they inspire — still keep readers (and viewers) on the edge of their seats.

Now, 200 years on from his birth, his genius is to be feted with a host of events marking the bicentenary of one of Britain’s most famous sons.

Dickens 2012 will see everything from readings to royal visits, celebrating the man who gave the world “Oliver Twist,” “David Copperfield” and “Great Expectations.”

In London, the special events will begin with a celebrity performance, by actors Simon Callow and Joanna Lumley, at the Dickens family’s graves in Highgate Cemetery on Monday.

And on Tuesday, the anniversary of Dickens’ birth, the Prince of Wales will lay a wreath at Dickens’ grave in Poet’s Corner, Westminster Abbey, while actor Ralph Fiennes, Dickens’ biographer Claire Tomalin and the author’s great-great-grandson, Mark Dickens give readings.

So, quite rightly, a broad appreciation for the great man.

2 thoughts on “Charles Dickens, Happy Birthday!

  1. Paul,
    Just to say “Great Expectations” was my favorite of his writings. A wonderful and great writer!


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