Thanks to John Kyriacou, who pointed us to Holly Furneaux's revelation that the mysterious Fanny Biggetywitch on Dickensian is definitely a Tony Jordan character, not a Charles Dickens character. Furneaux is an adviser on the series, so she knows whereof she speaks. (She also mentions something I hadn't heard before -- that Dora Spenlow's dog, Jip, is on the show as well!)
One other interesting piece of Dickensian news from the same source: The Dickens Museum will have a special exhibition on the series, beginning January 19.
Tomorrow in the morning and early afternoon, Turner Classic Movies offers a special treat for Dickens fans: four Dickensian movies in a row! David Copperfield (1935) starts at 7 a.m. Eastern, A Tale of Two Cities (1935) at 9:15, Great Expectations (1946) at 11:30, and Oliver Twist (1948) at 1:30.
This interview with Anne-Marie Slaughter in the Washington Post, about how "we utterly devalue the importance of caregiving roles in our society,"has been getting a bit of buzz recently. And it got me thinking in Dickensian terms (as things often tend to do!). In the interview, Slaughter makes the following point:
John Mark Reynolds (whom I know personally) has an interesting blog post up about how Dickens had a "prophetic vision of Western education: the rise of Gradgrind" in Hard Times. There are some good insights here, but I'm not sure whether I wholly agree with his remark that "Against Gradgrind, Dickens had nothing positive to say" -- meaning, I take it, that he offered no alternative vision of how education should be.
It wasn't Dickens's purpose in this novel to compare and contrast differing approaches to education. But it's worth nothing that in other books, perhaps most notably David Copperfield, he did offer portraits of good schools where pupils were inspired and encouraged by good teachers, which effectively serve as a counter to the Gradgrind idea of school.
That's my opinion, anyway. Would be interested to hear some of yours!
The title of Laura Freeman's recent article in the Telegraph, "How Charles Dickens stopped me from starving myself to death," is slightly misleading. It wasn't just Dickens whose writing about food made this anorexic young woman realize that "food could be a pleasure"; it was also Siegfried Sassoon, Thomas Hardy, Marcel Proust, and several other writers. However, Dickens was one of those who played a part in her recovery, and that makes perfect sense -- he always had a special gift for writing about the simple joys and pleasures of life, and making them sound extra appealing.
In short, as Freeman puts it, "Never readCharles Dickens without a well-stocked larder. His novels can make a reader very hungry."
RadioTimes and BBC News report that BBC Films will release a new film version of David Copperfield, from Armando Iannucci and Simon Blackwell. The film, in the early stages of development, may be released in 2016. Though there have been quite a few TV versions of the story, I believe this will be the first bigscreen adaptation since 1935!