An article in Centennial Parklands traces the long and fascinating history of the Dickens statue in Sydney, Australia (at one point it lost its head!), and talks about the annual birthday celebrations held there. There are lots of nice photos.
The Telegraph celebrated Dickens's birthday yesterday with a gallery of pictures of some of his best characters. Though the captions are oddly full of typos and mistakes, at least the pictures are great!
"He was born on a Friday, on the same day as his young hero David Copperfield, and for ever afterwards Friday became for him a day of omen. Whether like his young hero he was born just before midnight, when the tide was in, is not recorded; but this strange association between himself and his fictional characters is one that he carried with him always. He said once, during a speech in memory of Shakespeare's birthday, that: 'We meet on this day to celebrate the birthday of a vast army of living men and women who will live for ever with an actuality greater than that of the men and women whose external forms we see around us . . .' He was thinking here of Hamlet and Lear, of Macbeth and Prospero, but is it not also true that in this small front bedroom in Portsmouth, in the presence of a surgeon and a monthly nurse, there was born on this February day Pecksniff and Scrooge, Oliver Twist and Sairey Gamp, Samuel Pickwick and Nicholas Nickleby, Pip and David Copperfield, Miss Havisham and Little Nell, the Artful Dodger and Wackford Squeers, Thomas Gradgrind and Little Dorrit, Sydney Carton and Paul Dombey, Fagin and Edwin Drood, Uriah Heep and Wilkins Micawber, Quilp and Sam Weller, Barnaby Rudge and Bill Sikes, Tiny Tim and Tommy Traddles, all of them tumbling out into the light?"
In honor of Dickens's 203rd birthday coming up on Saturday, The Herald Scotland lists 10 books worth reading by his fellow Victorian authors. I don't quite get the logic -- wouldn't it make more sense to read Dickens on Dickens's birthday? -- but it's a good list, anyway, so here it is!
And here's a question for you all: Which Dickens novel do you think would be a good one to revisit in honor of his birthday, and why?
Forty years ago, Monica Dickens, great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens, founded the first U.S. branch of the Samaritans, an organization that provides emotional support to those in distress. Monica's daughter Prudence Stratton attended their "Breakfast for Hope" benefit that marked the anniversary.
Today marks the 144th anniversary of Charles Dickens's death.
"The old, old fashion! The fashion that came in with our first garments, and will last unchanged until our race has run its course, and the wide firmament is rolled up like a scroll. The old, old fashion -- Death!
"Oh thank GOD, all who see it, for that older fashion yet, of Immortality!"
I just had to add this one from the Daily Mail, captioned "Three of Charles Dickens['s] great great great grandchildren, siblings Tom Dickens 15, Lydia Dickens 14 and Oliver Dickens 9 take a selfie with their ancestor's new statue in Portsmouth today."
(Image copyright Matt Scott-Joynt/M and Y News Agency Ltd)
There was much celebrating in Portsmouth today, as the city's favorite son finally had his new statue, by Martin Jennings, unveiled on his birthday! Members of the Dickens family and the Dickens Fellowship were on hand for the festivities, along with actors Edward Fox and Joanna David. BBC News has the story and some great photos, including a lovely one of the writer's great-great-great-grandon, Oliver (yes, Oliver!) sitting on his lap.