I was quite startled the other day, while doing some Dickensian research, to learn that TV writer/producer Joss Whedon considers Dickens one of his two favorite writers. Honestly, I never would have guessed that.
I'm not really saying anything against Whedon. I liked Firefly and Dollhouse (though I disliked Buffy and Angel), and while I have some quibbles with his writing style, he is quite talented. I simply wouldn't have figured him for a Dickensian. Dickens, even in the midst of the gloom that fills so many of his works, is ultimately life-affirming. Whedon is . . . I don't quite want to say "death-affirming." But with him I rarely sense the light shining through the darkness, as I do with Dickens. Whedon's worldview seems to me to contain very little hope.
But maybe what little hope he does have was inspired by the master. I think sometimes Dickens does have that effect on people -- even on people you never would have expected!