In an article on faith and morality in Dickens's work, Anthony Esolen argues that "the spirit of the gospels is the spirit of his works: he is always writing with the works and words of Jesus in his blood and bones."
The novelist who created Inspector Morse writes about Bleak House for the Guardian's series "A book that changed me":
"I have . . . religiously read the novel from beginning to end three times, and with ever-increasing delight and understanding. It was, and is, the greatest novel of the lot. Why? First, the quality of the writing; second, the complexity of the plot; third, the extraordinary insight and honesty of the characterisation."
Plenty, according to citizens of Portsmouth who are angry that Charles Dickens Primary School is changing its name to Ark Dickens Primary Academy (having been taken over by the Ark group). Details are here, here, and here.
Of course Dickens has a connection to the World Cup. Everything has a connection to the World Cup these days. Dickens's connection, according to Sports Illustrated, is that there's an announcer named Ian Darke who they say sounds a lot like him. I'm not so sure about that, but see what you think!
"Accustomed to the luxury of major and minor revision, of multiple drafts, of months or years in which to add or delete a single comma, we can barely comprehend the imagination and the technical skill required to compose an eight-hundred-page masterwork in regular installments of a length determined not by the needs of the artist, but for the convenience of the printer. Though Dickens wrote notes for some of his novels, and sketched out the conclusion of Great Expectations in advance, this working method demanded a prodigious ability to keep a large cast of characters and an elaborate narrative constantly in mind. The wonderment we feel when we contemplate this strenuous mode of composition has, in my opinion, been best expressed in the question posed about Dickens by novelist David Gates: 'Was he a Martian?'"
Francine Prose, Introduction to Great Expectations (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition, 2012).
Maura Kelly at OUPblog, at the Oxford University Press site, has an excellent post about the timeless themes and characters of Great Expectations and how people everywhere are able to relate to and learn from them. Among other things, she contrasts Pip's growth as a character with the resentfulness and lack of growth of Elliot Rodger, the UCSB killer.
Brett Janes, who did such a nice job compiling Dickens's opening lines, has now compiled his closing lines! Go here to see them all and to vote for your favorite. (Obviously, spoilers abound, so proceed at your own risk!)
"His genius, then, is at one with the genius of the form of the novel itself: Dickens willed into existence the most capacious and elastic and versatile kind of novel that could be, one big enough for his vast sentimental yearnings and for every impulse and fear and hesitation in him that countervailed those yearnings too. Never parsimonious and frequently contradictory, he always gives us everything he can, everything he's planned to give, and then more."
Jonathan Lethem, Introduction to Dombey and Son (Modern Library Paperback Edition, 2003)