BBC Radio 4 is airing a new adaptation of Barnaby Rudge . . . which I didn't find out about until after it started. (Sorry!) I found this out via a BBC News article about lead actor Daniel Laurie, a young man with Down syndrome. Producer-director Jeremy Mortimer (who also did the recent Tale of Two Cities radio adaptation) has some interesting things to say about how casting Daniel made Barnaby realistic and relatable to modern audiences.
You can listen to the first episode on BBC iPlayer; it's up for four more days. The next episode airs Sunday, June 1.
If you're on Twitter, you might enjoy subscribing to Our Mutual Feed! Here's the scoop on how it started, and how you can become a participant. This started a while back, but they might still have one or two characters left for people to take on. This is based on a Dickens novel, after all.
The British Library's Discovering Literature project, which puts online "a wealth of the British Library’s greatest literary treasures, including numerous original manuscripts, first editions and rare illustrations," along with articles by experts, is well underway. And Dickens is well represented! Go here to start exploring.
Herb requested a quote from The Old Curiosity Shop.
"Some men in his blighted position would have taken to drinking; but as Mr Swiveller had taken to that before, he only took, on receiving the news that Sophy Wackles was lost to him for ever, to playing the flute; thinking after mature consideration that it was a good, sound, dismal occupation, not only in unison with his own sad thoughts, but calculated to awaken a fellow-feeling in the bosoms of his neighbours. In pursuance of this resolution, he now drew a little table to his bedside, and arranging the light and a small oblong music-book to the best advantage, took his flute from its box, and began to play most mournfully.
"The air was 'Away with melancholy' -- a composition, which, when it is played very slowly on the flute, in bed, with the further disadvantage of being performed by a gentleman but imperfectly acquainted with the instrument, who repeats one note a great many times before he can find the next, has not a lively effect. Yet, for half the night, or more, Mr Swiveller, lying sometimes on his back with his eyes upon the ceiling, and sometimes half out of bed to correct himself by the book, played this unhappy tune over and over again; never leaving off, save for a minute or two at a time to take breath and soliloquise about the Marchioness, and then beginning again with renewed vigour. It was not until he had quite exhausted his several subjects of meditation, and had breathed into the flute the whole sentiment of the purl down to its very dregs, and had nearly maddened the people of the house, and at both the next doors, and over the way -- that he shut up the music-book, extinguished the candle, and finding himself greatly lightened and relieved in his mind, turned round and fell asleep."