Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dickens Turns 200!

Dickens blowing out birthday candlesOf course literary types care, but why would a law library note that today is Charles Dickens's 200th birthday? Because the prolific 19th-Century novelist had a lot to say about law and lawyers, that's why. (Also we like literature.) Contested inheritances, debtors' prison, property settlements – these are often as important to the story as any human character.

The Guardian has a rich website, Dickens at 200, that has a variety of articles, a video and audio tour of Dickens's London and other sites.

Consider yourself a Dickens buff? Then take the Guardian's "fiendishly difficult" birthday quiz.

If you're daunted by the hugeness of Bleak House, read Rules of Reading, which remind us that this book, like the other novels, came out in pieces, month by month – and it was hot:
The problem for Charles Dickens's original audience wasn't that they had more book than they could manage – but that they couldn't get enough of it.
Think of this:
When we sit down to watch "Season 1" on DVD or Netflix, we wouldn't demand the same rhythm or technique for The Sopranos or Battlestar Galactica that we would for a 92-minute theatrical release.
For an assortment of books and articles about Dickens and the law, see this list.

The Guardian even has something for those who are not Dickens nuts: Enough with the Charles Dickens Hero Worship.

Graphic: mw, using Dickens portrait from The Guardian.

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