Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Happy Birthday, Charles Dickens!

Mr. Dickens' birthday is today. He's 200. Now, having read English literature at university (as the British say; in America, I'm an "English major," which sounds very military; however, at least I'm not the French lieutenant's woman...) I have read my share of Charles Dickens--although it's been a while. In honor of the great man's bicentenary, I leave you with this article from my beloved Shelf Awareness. And also with an invitation. I intend to read one of Dickens' novels this year, in his memory. If you were going to do the same, which one would you read?

From Shelf Awareness:

Further Reading: Charles Dickens at 200

February 7 is Charles Dickens's 200th birthday, so it comes as no surprise that we are seeing a plethora of tributes to Britain's first literary superstar. New film adaptations of both Oliver Twist and Great Expectations--the latter starring Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes--are slated to hit the big screen this year, and the BBC recently aired two new miniseries adaptations of Dickens novels. New York City's Morgan Library, home of the largest collection of Dickens manuscripts and letters in the world, has a special exhibit of Dickensiana on display through February 12.

The celebrations don't stop there; these titles will also give fans a chance to celebrate Dickens's birthday.

The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tail tells a delightful story of an unlikely friendship between a cat, a mouse, a raven and Charles Dickens himself--complete with writer's block. This illustrated novel is not just for kids, however; children will enjoy the adventure tale contained herein, and adults will delight in the clever allusions to Dickens characters throughout.

Becoming Dickens offers a new approach to the standard Dickens biography, telling the story of Dickens's growth into a novelist and ending early on in his career. Dickens expert Robert Douglas-Fairhurst draws on both biographical fact and a careful analysis of Dickens's own characters to provide fresh insight into how a child growing up in poverty transformed himself into one of the most famous writers in Britain.

For those looking for a more hands-on experience of Dickens's life, Charles Dickens: The Dickens Bicentenary 1812-2012 is just what the doctor ordered. Published by Insight Editions in association with the Charles Dickens Museum of London, this oversized book features full-size images, photographs, drawings and removable facsimiles of documents from the Dickens archives, letting readers get elbow-deep--literally--in the life and times of this well-loved author. --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm


  1. The Cheshire Cheese Cat looks terrific! My love of Dickens started with A Tale of Two Cities, in grammar school!!

  2. ooo Cheshire cat does look good

  3. I'll have to check out the Cheshire Cheese Cat. I still feel like I'm recovering from my theater's annual production of Christmas Carol.

  4. Dickens was born in my home town.

    And I haven't read anything by him for a long time. So next week I will buy Bleak House which I have never read.

    And out of further scholarly research I will probably find it necessary to see the Helena Bonham-Carter movie, whatever it is about.

  5. Can I . . . dare I . . . say it? (deep breath) I don't like reading Charles Dickens! Whew. It's out. I know, I know, how can I call myself a writer, a lover of fine stories, a true reader, if I don't like Dickens? *sigh* He talks too much. Three pages about a sunset. Oy. Although I read somewhere that back in those days authors were paid by the word, which explains all that rambling. The one book I did truly enjoy (in spite of the motor mouth aspect) was "A Tale of Two Cities." I'll read that one again one day. Just, er. . .not today. :)

  6. I haven't read his stories, but I've seen movies based on his books. Does that count???? :D


If comments be the food of love, comment on. Give me excess of them... (With apologies to The Bard)