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Happy 200th Birthday Charles Dickens!

Was he the greatest novelist of the Victorian era? You decide!

Dickens wrote his novels to be read aloud (the literacy rate in London during Dickens’ time was not exactly sky high).

In a childhood plagued by poverty, Charles Dickens sought refuge in books (a scene he recreated in David Copperfield).

As a young reporter, Dickens covered parliamentary debates in England’s House of Commons—an experience that gave him a considerable disregard for government.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood is truly the greatest mystery story ever written because Dickens died before he could finish it!

Dickens loved the theater and relished acting but chose to be a writer as acting was a not a respectable occupation in the Victorian era.

Dickens loved walking the streets of London and observing people. He loved the city and felt lost outside of it.

Much of Dickens’ work was semi-autobiographical and many of his colorful & diverse characters had real-life counterparts.

Dickens’ reputation as a novelist is unsurpassed but his works are filled with poetic imagery:

“A brilliant morning shines on the old city. Its antiquities and ruins are surpassingly beautiful, with a lusty ivy gleaming in the sun, and the rich trees waving in the balmy air.”

Please make sure the Dickens novel you read has illustrations! Dickens prose combined with the whimsical yet often poignant illustrations of Hablot Knight Browne aka “Phiz” was truly a match made in heaven.

Library Tips:
Search the Curtis Library catalog (via the “word” category) for “Phiz” and / or “Hablot Knight Browne.”

Search for Dickens, Charles under “Author” and look for “ill.” (short for “illustrations”) in the book records.

Search the Marvel for database for literary criticism on Charles Dickens.

Ask a Reference Librarian for assistance.

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