Charles Dickens were he alive would be 200 and probably dead. The reason i remembered this..well actually i didn’t remember it, I read it on the Guaradian.UK’s Charles Dickens a 200 webpage, I am sure that tiny island will lose it’s mind next year celebrating this event. From what i can see American children used to have to wade through one Dickens novel during their entire school life…these days less than that I am sure. Most of this side of the pond only recognizes Dickens as the author of Masterpiece theater productions. I remember trying to wade through Great expectations and a few others on my own and i think the only one I finished was Tale of Two Cities in 9th grade. Personally I have read more Victor Hugo and Alexander Dumas than Dickens, but they are both 210. I do feel badly that i haven’t read more Dickens…well no…not badly…but a little left out, like Jane Austen another writer i never got around to. For a big fat victorian book I prefer >Moby Dick, now being bandied about as The American Bible , which I am actually in agreement with. It’s a damn fine book – reading it I discovered the WAY to get through these tomes is the same way they were produced, ONE CHAPTER AT TIME…which is how we did Tale of Two Cities in school, but apparently I forgot that part. Put yourself in the 19th century mind, no internet, no television, no radio, no media….and a new found mass media that were producing books and penny newspapers as fast as they could grind up trees for the paper. As for Dickens…we know for a fact that people waited at the pier for the next chapter to get off the boat and then when all the chapters were on this continent everyone with a press, produced their own editions without sending Herr Dickens so much as a red sou. I think I have at least one pirate copy in the back of my cupboard. Folks were mad to consume the adventures of Dickens’ poor waifs, mad women and misers….knowing what i do about that period, I was never drawn to read about a world which i find exceeding depressing. But perhaps i have been missing out on some part of the cultural literacy?
Since i got the new reading glasses anyway, i guess my 1st new year’s resolution will be to tae a stab at reading more Dickens in 2012. Now i just have to figure out which one.