Gerald Dickens is participating in what sounds like a delightful project: a play about the writing of The Life of Our Lord. Jeffrey Hatcher (The Duchess) is the writer, and Dr. Gary Colledge, writer of God and Charles Dickensand a friend of this blog, is serving as a consultant.
A staged reading was recently done at The Kilns, home of C. S. Lewis (which is extra delightful to me, since I love Lewis as much as I love Dickens!). Gerald Dickens reports on the project on his blog. I truly hope one day I get to see this.
In the 1850s, St. George's Hospital in London was shockingly careless and disrespectful in its treatment of dead bodies. Dr. Ruth Richardson (author of Dickens and the Workhouse) has discovered evidence that Dickens and his friend Angela Burdett-Coutts worked together to change that. BBC News has the story.
"Perhaps some of Dickens's most significant observations concerning the cross were made as a result of his fondness for the idea of resurrection. Dickens seems to have possessed an obvious affection for Jesus's words in the story of the raising of Lazarus in John 11:1-57, particularly 11:25: 'I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live' (KJV)."
Gary L. Colledge, God and Charles Dickens, Chapter 4, "Charles Dickens: Resurrectionist"
A few years ago, the world learned, to its great dismay,
that Terry Pratchett has Alzheimer’s. Well, it doesn’t show in one of his
latest books, Dodger.Dodger is a rollicking romp through
Dickensian London, with the occasional interference of some famous historical
personage and occasional discursions into philosophical matters.
"In a sense, Dickens was a greater mystery to his contemporaries than he is to us: they had absolutely no clue as to where it all came from -- the darkness, the passionate empathy with the disadvantaged, the massive driving energy, the overwhelming willpower. Only two years after Dickens's interment at Westminster Abbey, John Forster, exactly as Dickens had intended, in a masterly piece of posthumous stage-management, let the cat out of the bag: the source of so much in his work -- and his life -- suddenly became clear. But nothing can account for a man like Dickens. Not that there ever has been any man like Dickens: quite aside from the stupendous scope of his writing, his personality and his life are of almost overwhelming richness. It is one of the greatest of English Lives, both humbling and heart-warming, despite titanic flaws. It would be wonderful to think that there might be a second Dickens, but there have so far been no sightings."
-- Simon Callow, Charles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World, p. 350
Happy birthday, dear Mr. Dickens.
(You don't look a day over 200.)
(Photo from Dickens birthday celebration in Clark Park, Philadelphia, Pa., February 3, 2013. Photo courtesy of Herb Moskovitz, The Buzfuz.)
Dickens on the Strand is a world-famous annual one-weekend
festival dedicated to Dickens and his time. It is located in Galveston in the
state of Texas, and takes place during the first weekend of December, rain or
This was my first experience visiting the festival, although
I had already heard about the parades, the food, the costumes, and the visits
from Dickens’s relatives. After missing last year’s festival (and the
opportunity to view the famous Dickens’s Dream painting in person) I decided this would be the year
I would finally visit the festival, especially with the bicentennial taking place this year.
In the Edmonton Journal, Rick McConnell tells the fascinating story of how A Christmas Carol sparked his deep love for Dickens, which in turn inspired him to write his own Christmas book, Shadowing Dickens. His novel has just been published by HarperCollins as an e-book, available here.
Dickens scholar and biographer Michael Slater has a new book, The Great Charles Dickens Scandal, available for pre-order at Amazon. The book "investigates what Dickens did or may have done, then traces the way the [Ternan] scandal was elaborated over succeeding generations."