A headline in the Daily Mail blares that Gillian Anderson will play Miss Havisham in the upcoming BBC miniseries of Great Expectations, but if you keep you reading, the piece acknowledges that she hasn't officially signed on yet. (Way to bury the lead, people.) They do have some confirmed casting, though: Ray Winstone as Magwitch and Douglas Booth as Pip. Of more concern is the description of the new miniseries as "radical," but since the writer also describes Pip in the book as "a masochistic lovesick puppy," it's difficult to know how seriously to take anything he says.
Editor and columnist Martin Anderson argues for more accurate and detailed depictions of Victorian London in Dickens movies:
"Just once, I would like to see the vast and genuinely alien realms of the Victorian age given the same care and attention in movies that the rustic environments of Tolkien have enjoyed -- and, with the forthcoming Hobbit movies, will continue to enjoy -- over the past decade. If I concentrate on the works of Dickens in this regard, it's because I am a fan, and because these works have not only become iconographic in regards to the modern conception of the 19th century, but also share with Tolkien and other fantasy authors a truly unique and surreal flavour. . . .
"The BBC, of course, have built up a large stockpile of apparel and detritus from decades of Dickens adaptations, which inevitably get pressed into service for the latest -- but this economy doesn't begin to approach the problem of bringing to life the sheer atmosphere of Dickens best work, particularly within the restricted means of a TV serial."
I can't say I've ever given it that much thought, but it's an interesting argument. See what you think.
Dickens's old home Gad's Hill Place is going to be open to the public again! They're moving the school that's there now, and turning it into a museum in time for the bicentennial. I must try to get there one of these days.
A columnist who visited one of Dickens's other homes says, "The place was perfectly pleasant — rooms, furniture, some artifacts displayed in glass cases. But it also seemed weirdly empty. The thing I wanted wasn’t there." Maybe . . . but still, I feel like it would be awfully close to getting the thing you wanted.
If you're a member of the Dickensblog Facebook group, could you please go leave a post or comment over there? If we don't get some activity going, they're going to archive the group, and that looks like a hassle. (They may archive us anyway, but we can at least give it a try.) Thanks.
Time for a new fanfic challenge! Your assignment: Write a story based on a Dickens novel that you like but have never written from before. (Characters that you wrote about in the group fanfic don't count; you can have written a scene with, say, Estella for that one, and still write a Great Expectations story.) It can be as short or as long as you like. I'm going to do an Our Mutual Friend story (just as soon as I finish a David Copperfield one I'm working on!).
By the way, this reminds me: I never gave the name of the novel I quoted from in the crossover challenge! It's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë.
Lucinda Hawksley (great-great-great-granddaughter of Dickens) has been giving talks about her famous ancestor in India, where she was taken by surprise at the amount of interest in him.
A new exhibition at the Coningsby Gallery in London, "London's Underworld Unearthed: The Secret Life of the Rookery," features excerpts from the writings of Dickens.
In addition to his cat's-paw letter opener, the New York Public Library also has the marked-up copy of David Copperfield that Dickens used for public readings.
Macalester College President Brian Rosenberg writes about the importance of Dickens's ideas in education and business.
Jacobs School of Music student Ari Fisher has been chosen to write a new score for the 1922 silent film adaptation of David Copperfield. The score will premiere at a screening of the film on Dickens's 200th birthday.
Last but not least . . . actor Edward Hardwicke died today at the age of 78. He was perhaps best known for playing Dr. Watson to Jeremy Brett's Sherlock Holmes, but Dickensians will also know him as Mr. Wickfield (2000) and Mr. Brownlow (2005). R.I.P.