7.2.12

200 Years of Dickens

So, we have made it through all the Dickens chat, coverage and hype to the actual bicentennial day of his birth on the 7th February 1812.

I have chatted about him A LOT lately, so rather than chat about him some more, I thought I might let Claire Tomalin do it, with one of the most impressive paragraphs of her biography of him, which also happens to be the very last one of the book: 

'He left a trail like a meteor, and everyone finds their own version of Charles Dickens. The child-victim, the irrespressibly ambitious young man, the reporter, the demonic worker, the tireless walker. The radical, the protector of orphans, helper of the needy, man of good works, the republican. The hater and lover of America. The giver of parties, the magician, the traveller. The satirist, the surrealist, the mesmerist. The angry son, the good friend, the bad husband, the quareller, the sentimentalist, the secret lover, the despairing father. The Francophile, the player of games, the lover of circuses, the maker of punch, the country squire, the editor, the Chief, the smoker, the drinker, the dancer of reels and hornpipes, the actor, the ham. Too mixed to be a gentleman - but wonderful. The irreplacebale and unrepeatable Boz. The brilliance in the room. The inimitable. And, above and beyond every other description, simply the great, hard-working writer, who set nineteenth-century London before our eyes and who noticed and celebrated the small people living on the margins of society - the Artful Dodger, Smike, the Marchioness, Nell, Barnaby, Micawber, Mr Dick, Jo the crossing sweeper, Phil Squod, Miss Flite, Sissy Jupe, Charley, Amy Dorrit, Nandy, hairless Maggie, Sloppy, Jenny Wren the dolls' dressmaker. After he had been writing for long hours at Wellington Street, he would sometimes ask his office boy to bring him a bucket of cold water and put his head into it, and his hands. Then he would dry his head with a towel, and go on writing.'

Happy Dickens Day everyone! 



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