Katharine and Ryan Taylor, who named their new daughter Ada Clare! (Katharine is a Facebook/LiveJournal friend of mine.) Both Ada and Clare are family names, and Katharine says, "It didn't hit me until after we'd already settled on the name that Ada Clare (even spelled the same way) is the name of Jarndyce's beautiful and virtuous ward in Bleak House. But that's a fine literary association to have."
Congratulations and blessings to them! And thank heaven Tattycoram wasn't a family name. ;-)
Simonetta Falchi, an Italian researcher in English literature, is taking a survey on Little Dorrit fanfiction and has asked me to pass the word along to Dickensblog's readers. You can go here to take it! Let me know if you have any trouble with it.
Msantimacassar on LiveJournal requested a quote from Little Dorrit.
"They were very near the end of their walk, and they now came out of the gateway to finish it. Nothing would serve Maggy but that they must stop at a grocer's window, short of their destination, for her to show her learning. She could read after a sort; and picked out the fat figures in the tickets of prices, for the most part correctly. She also stumbled, with a large balance of success against her failures, through various philanthropic recommendations to Try our Mixture, Try our Family Black, Try our Orange-flavoured Pekoe, challenging competition at the head of Flowery Teas; and various cautions to the public against spurious establishments and adulterated articles. When he saw how pleasure brought a rosy tint into Little Dorrit's face when Maggy made a hit, he felt that he could have stood there making a library of the grocer's window until the rain and wind were tired."
Congratulations to the Dickens Society of Baltimore for becoming an official branch of the Dickens Fellowship! (H/T The Buzfuz) This makes it the branch of the Fellowship closest to me. I may have to look into joining up with them!
Speaking of the Fellowship, I'm getting ready to go to their annual conference, starting next week in Chicago, where I will get to meet up with Dickensblog reader and frequent guest blogger Rachel McMillan! (Charles Dickens: bringing people together since 1836.) As I did the last time I was away, I plan to set up some quotes from various Dickens novels to run on the blog while I'm gone. I already have some requests left over from last time that I can use (Nicholas Nickleby, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, A Christmas Carol, Little Dorrit, and HardTimes)but if you have any more novels that you'd like me to quote from, please let me know in the comments section on this post. Thanks!
And I'm sure Rachel and I will both have lots to share when we get back!
Everyone's talking Oscars tonight, so let's get into the swim! Here, with help from IMDb, is a list of the films based on Dickens's books that have received Academy Awards and nominations over the years:
Scrooged (1988): nominated for Best Makeup.
Little Dorrit (1988): nominated for Best Supporting Actor (Alec Guinness) and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Mickey's Christmas Carol (1984): nominated for Best Short Film, Animated.
Scrooge (1970): nominated for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Costume Design, Best Song ("Thank You Very Much"), and Best Score.
Oliver! (1968): won Best Picture, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Sound, Best Score for a Musical, and an honorary award for choreography (Onna White). Also nominated for Best Actor (Ron Moody), Best Supporting Actor (Jack Wild), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, and Best Film Editing.
Great Expectations (1946): won Best Cinematography, Black-and-White, and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and White. Also nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (David Lean), and Best Writing, Screenplay.
A Tale of Two Cities (1935): nominated for Best Picture and Best Film Editing.
David Copperfield (1935): nominated for Best Picture, Best Film Editing, and Best Assistant Director. (Imagine nominating the assistant director and not the director! I wonder what that was all about.)
What do you suppose Mr. Dickens would wear on the red carpet? Something very dashing, I would think, considering his love for fancy clothes!
The Invisible Woman is a film that goes to great lengths to uncover the hidden Dickens, a Dickens unfamiliar to those who enjoy his happy endings and the moralistic brushstrokes that redeem Scrooge through Bob Cratchit’s tightly knit family.
Here, Ralph Fiennes has taken the sordid side of Dickens from Claire Tomalin’s biography of Ellen “Nelly” Ternan, and infused it into the film with no lack of passion, but a great deal of narrative depth and integrity. After the Toronto screening I saw, director/star Ralph Fiennes and his co-star Felicity Jones talked about their passion for the script as well as for the source material. The young Jones was challenged by the “meat” she found in the role.
At the same time, though, the film waded into soap opera territory: straining to find a dark side to Dickens that scholars know existed, without balancing his lesser qualities with his great talent.
"I walk because Dickens walked and in that year of reading Boz, his accounts of London by night and on foot cast a spell."
Inspired by several of Dickens's essays, especially "Night Walks," editor and journalist Laura Freeman took a few night walks of her own through London. She recounts them in this fascinating essay for the Financial Review.
Julie Davis at Happy Catholic's Bookshelf has a delightful post about Dickens's skill in drawing minor characters, particularly Mr. Pancks, Maggy, and others from Little Dorrit. An excerpt:
Dickens may not spend a lot of time on his minor characters because he is generally juggling a cast that seems as if it contains the entirety of London. However, his ability to make us care about them is really a rare talent, whether we are rooting them on or hoping they will come to their just desserts.