An 1858 letter from Dickens to his solicitor, making arrangements related to his and Catherine's separation, was found in an old Bible in Blockley, England. Naturally, the papers chose to sensationalize it as being about "his desperation to be rid of his wife," though in fact it conveys no such message.
Upon my return from London for events surrounding the Dickens Bicentenary. I received an email from a fellow Dickens Web site owner, Ritva Raesmaa, from Finland. She also attended the events, although sadly I did not meet her. She summed up the few days in London as a “once in a lifetime” trip . . . and I heartily agree!
I don't know if I believe in handwriting analysis, but I find it fascinating. One expert, Allie Bradley, tried her hand at analyzing two samples of Dickens's handwriting. All these samples told me was that his handwriting was hard to read, but she deduced several personality traits from them. How do you think she did?
I wonder whether Dickens ever would have made it there himself had he lived in modern times. Somehow I'm doubtful. Victorian rock star he may have been, but I'm not sure I can see him enjoying the celebrity lifestyle.
Some lucky collectors have made off with some wonderful Dickens memorabilia lately, including autographed books and personal letters. My favorite item that recently went up for auction: a copy of The Pickwick Papersinscribed by Dickens to Hans Christian Andersen. Why that one didn't sell, I can't imagine; I'd SO much rather have that than an unsigned Bleak House, even if the latter was the original serialized version.
And then there was the collector who spent $9150 on Dickens's . . . retractable toothpick. Seriously. His toothpick. Look, I love the man, but there are limits. Although if there were any hope of retrieving a bit of DNA from it, and hiring someone with expertise in cloning . . .
How strange it is to be never at rest, and never
satisfied, and ever trying after something that is never reached, and
to be always laden with plot and plan and care and worry, how clear it
is that it must be, and that one is driven by an irresistible might
until the journey is worked out! It is much better to go on and fret,
than to stop and fret. As to repose –- for some men there’s no such
thing in this life… The old days –- the old days! Shall I ever, I
wonder, get the frame of mind back as it used to be then?
Here are a few Dickens-related events going on, or coming up, in his home country:
Simon Callow will perform "Dickens & Me: An Evening with Simon Callow" in Norwich on October 11, the 150th anniversary of Dickens's own first public reading there.The event will raise money for EDP We Care Appeal, which "help[s] elderly, infirm, sick and disabled people in Norfolk by providing financial and practical support to their carers."
Charles Dickens's England has begun airing on Sky Arts 2. Here's an interview with narrator Sir Derek Jacobi, here's one with writer/producer David Wilkinson, and here's one with director Julian Richards. Poor reviews or not, I expect it's still worth checking out.
And then, of course, there's the world premiere of A Christmas Carol in London on November 3. The London Paper reports, "This year, the annual Christmas lights at Regent Street will go on at 3
November to coincide with the world premiere of the Disney film of the
same name. . . . For the first time, the lights on Oxford Street and Regent Street will be turned on at the same time. The world of Dickens will be brought to life in London with a series of
public concerts, special events and a world-record gathering of carol
singers." If you're there, enjoy it!