The genius of Dickens

Today, 7th February 2012, is the bicentenary of Charles Dickens’s birth.

Although a writer from the Victorian era, Dickens’s work transcends his time, language and culture. He remains a massive contemporary influence throughout the world and his writings continue to inspire film, TV, art, literature, artists and academia.

During his thirty-five years at the top of the literary tree in the English-speaking world, Dickens published fourteen and a half full-length novels and a great amount of shorter fiction, including five Christmas books and twenty Christmas stories as well as a mass of sketches, essays, topical journalism and other prose.

He also edited a monthly miscellany for two years and two successive weekly magazines for twenty years. He made dozens of eloquent and powerful speeches to a great variety of charitable organisations up and down the country and busied himself with an immense amount of work in this field including, for many years, actively overseeing the running of a ‘Home for homeless women’.

During the last twelve years of his life he also gave phenomenally successful public readings of his own work to enraptured audiences throughout Britain and in the north-eastern United States.

Michael Slater has spent half a century reading Dickens, writing about him and most of all enjoying him. In his inspiring book, The genius of Dickens, Slater captures the ideas and beliefs, the social and artistic ideals of  ‘Dickensian values’ and the ambition that helped shape Dickens’s prodigious output.

You can find further details of The genius of Dickens on the main catalogue, available in ‘Catalogues’ on the Library’s website.