Happy 200th Birthday Charles Dickens

They’ve been going on about the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth for ages in the UK. I’m sure we’ll be reaping the benefits with lots of BBC adaptations coming to our television screens.

Check out the Charles Dickens 2012 website for inforamation about events, exhibitions, TV, Radio and theatre and all manner of things to do with Charles Dickens.

Charles Dickens was born at Landport in Portsea, England on 7th February 1812 into a big family of 8 children.  After his marriage to Catherine Hogarth in 1836, he became himself father to ten children.

His first story, A Dinner at Poplar Walk was published in the London periodical, Monthly Magazine in 1833. Most of his novels were first published in serialised form. His novels were written to be read aloud, the literate reading to those of limited literacy and his practise of leaving each chapter or installment on a cliffhanger to keep the audience in anticipation contributes to the popularity of his novels.

Dickens was not just a writer. He was a philanthropist. Approached by heiress Angela Burdett Coutts in May 1846, he set up a home for the redemption of “fallen” women, named “Urania Cottage.” Public readings and other charitable events enabled him to raise money to fund the struggling Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children, now an internationally renowned centre of excellence in child health. Railing against the treatment of the poor and infirm and the Victorian class system in his novels, he brought the suffering of the poor to a wide audience.

Charles Dickens died on 9 June 1865 following a stroke, and he was buried in the Poet’s Corner of Westminster Abbey (although he’d requested to be buried at Rochester Cathedral).  A printed epitaph circulated at the time of the funeral reads: “To the Memory of Charles Dickens (England’s most popular author) who died at his residence, Higham, near Rochester, Kent, 9 June 1870, aged 58 years. He was a sympathiser with the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed; and by his death, one of England’s greatest writers is lost to the world.”

Books by Charles Dickens held by Blue Mountains City Libraries which can be found on the Adult Fiction shelves under D.

These books and more are held by Blue Mountains City Libraries and can be found on the Adult Non-fiction shelves:

  • Coffee with Dickens by Paul Schlicke – interviews between a fictionalised Charles Dickens and an imaginary interviewer –  at 920 DIC
  • Charles Dickens : the makings of a literary giant by Christopher Hibbert –  at 920 DIC
  • Charles Dickens by Michael Slater –  at 920 DIC
  • Charles Dickens : a life by Claire Tomalin –  at 920 DIC 

There is also an extensive entry on Charles Dickens over at Wikipedia.

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