Today is the bicentennial of Charles Dickens’s birth. I have been trying to decide how best to use my blog to commemorate the day, and I haven’t come to a satisfying conclusion. I think the problem is that there’s too much Charles Dickens. I can’t pick just one favorite character from his teeming world, where every time you turn a London street corner you’re likely to run into an old enemy, a dear school friend, or a long-lost relative. Or, maybe just a singular character whom you ran into on that same street corner ten years before. I can’t pick just one favorite line from the most verbose Englishman since Shakespeare (I’m not doing an accurate word count, here; I’m just referring to the exuberant flow of language that characterizes the work of both authors), who mastered both snark and sentiment, and can still make readers who have never seen the Thames feel a creeping London fog rolling in with the night over the river.
To my readers who don’t know what I’m talking about: for the characters, read David Copperfield. For the descriptions, read Bleak House. For something short to start off with, read A Christmas Carol. And let me know what you think!