February round-up: best books on Dickens
Simon Callow, Constance Moore, Jenny Hartley and Ruth Richardson celebrate the novelist's legacy
In February, the rest of the UK will be joining all of dear old London town by taking to our foggy streets in honour of Charles John Huffam Dickens’ bicentenary. Well, perhaps not, but the media has certainly done its best to remind us that 2012 isn’t just the year of the Olympics and the end of the world, but the moment when you should at least attempt to get through one of the Victorian social commentator’s epic doorstoppers (or at least watch one of his adapted tales on the tellybox).
It’s certainly little surprise that Simon Callow is getting in on the act, and with Charles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World (HarperPress) he focuses on the writer as a ‘celebrity actor’ who was driven as much by showmanship and as by literary endeavour. In What Would Dickens Do? (Summersdale), Constance Moore brings us a collection of quotes from some his best-loved characters as well as droplets of wisdom from CD himself.
The Selected Letters of Charles Dickens (OUP) is a compact edition of 450 correspondences edited by Jenny Hartley which takes us from Charlie’s schooldays to his very last afternoon on earth while Dickens and the Workhouse (OUP) by Ruth Richardson uncovers the building which inspired him to write Oliver Twist. When the discovery was made that Dickens once lived literally doors away, a campaign was launched to prevent the demolition of the workhouse.