Friday, February 03, 2012
This coming Tuesday, February 7th, 2012 the Royal Family of England will be throwing a huge bash to celebrate the 200th birthday of the writer Charles Dickens. A search on the internet for Charles Dickens' 200th birthday brings up an array of websites describing celebratory events to mark this anniversary by institutions of all types.
The novels of Charles Dickens have been read and loved by millions from his time to the present. His stories are models of popular writing still able to draw readers in and hold their attention. A Tale of Two Cities is arguably the the best popular novel ever written.
His stories are populated with memorable characters in unforgettable circumstances. Some of us would love to be able to forget Miss Havisham, caught aflame after wearing her wedding dress for decades, but the mental image is too stark to be forgotten.
His stories draw upon our sympathy for the poor and moral outrage with the inequalities of society. Dickens showed again and again that any of us can be dropped by fate from any height to the most desperate state of want. It was his ability to cause the reader to imagine the equal opportunity of misfortune that make his stories applicable to all in our imaginations and our hearts.
These are the sentiments expressed by websites dedicated to the celebration of Charles Dickens' 200th birthday. The work of Charles Dickens is important to our culture because of the qualities described. Almost from the very first publication of his earliest works to the present, his stories inspire us to want to enjoy them from the stage, radio and TV broadcasts, and movies.
This month the Al Harris Library has a display of Charles Dickens books and movies at the entry to the building. We encourage you to join in the celebration by reading Dickens or by watching an adaptation of one of his stories.