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.
"Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day."
It's been a wonderful five years since the formation of that first link, not least because it's brought people into my life whom I now consider friends. Dickens has a way of bringing his fans together, and I'm so grateful that he's done that for so many of us! Thank you all for reading and contributing to this blog. You've helped to make it what it is today, and I hope we'll all be doing this for many years to come!
Thanks especially to all of you who entered our anniversary giveaway. The drawing has been held and Natalie, Selenia, and Marian are the winners of the miniature book Charles Dickens: The Complete Novels in One Sitting by Joelle Herr. I'll be sending those out shortly. Congratulations!
The "What the Dickens?" festival in Orlando, Florida, features "202 event days celebrating his 202nd birthday." Events include plays, movie screenings, art exhibits, games, and more! Go here and here to read all about it.
"One whom young and old, wherever the English language is spoken, have been accustomed to regard as a personal friend is suddenly taken away from among us. Charles Dickens is no more. The loss of such a man is an event which makes ordinary expressions of regret seem cold and conventional. It will be felt by millions as nothing less than a personal bereavement. Statesmen, men of science, philanthropists, the acknowledged benefactors of their race might pass away, and yet not leave the void which will be caused by the death of Dickens. They may have earned the esteem of mankind; their days may have been passed in power, honour, and prosperity; they may have been surrounded by troops of friends, but, however pre-eminent in station, ability, or public services, they will not have been, like our great and genial novelist, the intimate of every household. Indeed, such a position is attained not even by one man in an age. It needs an extraordinary combination of intellectual and moral qualities to gain the hearts of the public as Dickens has gained them."
"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.)