Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Happy Birthday, Charles John Huffam Dickens...

From: Mr. Rennaissance

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will be lead celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens.
     Events to be held across the country include a wreath-laying ceremony at Dickens's grave in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey and at the novelist's birthplace in Portsmouth, Hampshire.
     The congregation at Westminster Abbey will include the largest ever gathering of descendants of the Victorian novelist as well as representatives from the worlds of literature, film, theatre and the media. [...]
     Simon Callow, author of Charles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World, will read from David Copperfield at a service being held at St Mary's Church, Portsmouth.
He said: "It's going to be a dangerously moving occasion. I really made the strong decision to come to the place where he was born rather than to Westminster Cathedral where he never wanted to be."
—Martin Chilton, The Telegraph

"A couple of years ago, I played Charles Dickens in an episode of the British sci-fi series Doctor Who. As the doctor takes his leave of Earth, Dickens asks whether his books will still be read in the future. 'Yes,' the doctor replies. 'For how long?' Dickens wants to know. 'Forever,' says the doctor, disappearing into cyberspace. [...]

"Surprisingly, considering that Dickens is that unusual thing, a writer whose life was as riveting as his work, there has been no film biography. If there were one, a large part of it would surely center on his early years, and especially on one year of shame, humiliation and degradation, the memory of which was so painful to him that he hid it from view completely, allowing it to be revealed only after his death.
     Victorian England was profoundly shocked to discover that Dickens’s compassion for the poor and the disadvantaged sprang, not simply from Christian kindness, but from the bitter personal experience of toiling 10 hours a day, for 6 shillings a week, in a rat-infested shoe polish warehouse off the Strand from the ages of 12 to 13.
    It is of course this experience that placed children at the center of so much of his work, and inevitably and rightly it looms very large in the excellent crop of books for young people being released on the crest of the Dickens publishing tsunami which next year’s bicentenary has provoked."
— Simon Callow, The New York Times (December 16, 2011)

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