I don’t think it can have escaped anyone’s notice that 2012 marks the bicentenary of Charles Dickens’ birth. Everywhere there are adaptations, publications, articles, love letters from writers, from actors, from readers – none better than Simon Callow. Like Dickens, Callow is both an actor and a writer (or, rather, Dickens would have liked to have been an actor and put a great deal of theatricality into his stage readings of his own work).
On The Review Show this week, John Carey, Geoff Dyer and I will be talking about Dickens, why he still has such a hold on the imagination, why the celebrations of his birth two hundred years ago are so widespread. We’ll also be talking about favourite adaptations and favourite novels, so if anybody wants to send me their thoughts on this during the course of the week, that would be very interesting to know.
What was your introduction to Dickens? Do you like or dislike this raising of one author above so many others – first amongst equals? Do you, whether you’re a writer or a reader, feel that the way Dickens’ birth is being commemorated tells us anything about our reading habits now, what we value in a novel or an author now?
In the meantime, four wonderful books that we will be looking at, all very much worth a look:
Charles Dickens Bicentenary 1812 – 2012 – Lucinda Dickens Hawksley
Charles Dickens – and the Great Theatre of the World – Simon Callow
Becoming Dickens – Robert Douglas-Fairhurst
Charles Dickens: A Life – Claire Tomalin