Happy Birthday Charles Dickens. The English reading /speaking world is celebrating this prolific writer's 200th birthday throughout 2012. No doubt, celebrating two hundred years requires a huge lot of cake and dangerous collection of candles!
Charles' birthday celebration was brought to my attention the other evening when I was surfing television channels and came upon Charlie Rose interviewing a panel of writers, actors and historians in England and America who are familiar with Dickens' writings, life and history. I became fascinated as Rose's guests described fascets of Charles Dickens' writings as though they knew him personally - perhaps having sat down to lunch with him just yesterday....
Dickens was born on 8 February 1812 and died 9 June 1870. Is it possible this penman was just 58 years of age? He had published sixteen or more novels, a large number of short stories, a few plays and several non-fiction books. He became internationally famous during his own lifetime - an unexpected accomplishment! It seems Dickens wrote many of his novels and short stories serially, in monthly installments - a style and means of publication new to the reading populace. With developing a seriel style came his writing technique of suspense which caught the reader mid-drama, making them anxious to read on to the next issue; a 'tease' now known as the 'cliff hanger.'
Dickens' books were so popular, they have never gone out of print. They are filled with realism, personalities, fantasy, comedy, intrigue, history and social awareness. He presents the everyday man with whimsical, unforgetable names. While it is not uncommon for writers to interject their personal life into their stories, Rose's experts stated without reservation that Charles Dickens' life is prominent in all his writings. It is significant to note Dickens was the catalyst for England and the world to establish and to safeguard copyright laws. Authors, songwriters and artists are grateful.
R.S.V.P. to your invitation to celebrate 200 years with Charles Dickens this February. Don't wait till Christmas to read or see The Christmas Carol. Pick up a copy of The Adventures of Oliver Twist, The Tale of Two Cities or Great Expectations and reacquaint yourself with this master storyteller. (Google Charles Dickens/ Wikipedia/ list of Notable Works).
Remember, if you are invited to one of Dickens' birthday parties in England, California, Texas or New York, enjoy the cake and beware the candles.
Which Charles Dickens writing is your favorite? Tell me. I want to know.