Now, most of you know I have a love/hate relationship with Dickens, but I have to respect him for his long and lasting impact on literature. And since I have loved more novels (A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, Hard Times) than I have hated (Bleak House, Great Expectations), Dickens can't really be my arch-nemesis anymore. Instead, I have come to respect what he has accomplished and I am curious to know more about him!
I first spotted this book, Charles Dickens: The Dickens Bicentenary 1812-2012 back in December. I have been waiting anxiously to show it to you all in hope it will convince you to get your hands on a copy (or spend a long afternoon in the bookstore looking at it).
Anyway, while I still haven't made my way completely through it (I am reading it this month in addition to a few of his novels, so I will review it fully when I finish), I have been flipping through and reading bits and pieces about Dickens as the mood strikes me. This really isn't a book to read straight through, but to savor slowly and when the mood strikes. I've read through some of the biography pieces as well as the pages on the books I have already read.
Okay, enough. Time to show you!
The book has a LOT of material. There is a section for each of his major novels, as well as the issues and events that took place in his lifetime. This picture shows the table of contents and the beginning of the introduction.
It begins with talking about his childhood and early years. Each section is reviewed in the italics before diving into the detail-complete with pictures!
What makes this book are the pages with INSERTS. Below you can see the first of these sections. The page on the right-hand side folds out!
For each of these little packets, there is a table of contents to tell you what is included. This one has copies of some of the manuscripts of his novels (Pickwick Papers and Oliver Twist).
And here are the inserts from the first section! You can see the pieces of manuscript (Dickens had horrible penmanship). All of these inserts come from the Dickens museum and were copied from the real thing! I also love that the front one (the orange Oliver Twist booklet) opens and is a replica of the play book!
I love that there is a feature on each of his major novels. The sections give a lot of great background information on when and where and how the novels were written. There are pictures of early editions too!
What makes this book is the emphasis on all aspects of Dickens life. In addition to sections about the social activism in which Dickens partook, there are also sections on other aspects of his life-his book tours, speeches, love interests, and the magazines that propelled him to super stardom in the 1800s.
The overall effect is a book full of wonderful information about the life and legacy of one of the world's greatest authors. Dickens did a lot for literature and this book highlights every aspect of that life!
Happy Birthday Charles!
You can find a copy of this one at any major bookstore! I first spotted it at my local Barnes and Noble. I'm sure that with his birthday celebrations this month there are tons of other Dickens themed books being highlighted in bookstores. Let me know if there is another great Dickens book I need to check out or add to my TBR list!