Updated: February 8, 2012 01:37 IST

Great expectations mark Charles Dickens celebration

Hasan Suroor
Comment (3)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
In this undated file photo, Charles Dickens poses for a photograph. Prince Charles is leading ceremonies to mark the 200th birthday of the novelist.
In this undated file photo, Charles Dickens poses for a photograph. Prince Charles is leading ceremonies to mark the 200th birthday of the novelist.

Celebrations marking the 200th birth anniversary of Charles Dickens, one of Britain's greatest and globally best-known novelists, got off the ground on Tuesday with Prince Charles and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, placing a wreath at his grave in the famous Poets' Corner at a service at Westminster Abbey.

Click here to read about the major works of Charles Dickens (PDF file)

Several of Dickens's descendants, including his great-great-grandson, Mark Dickens, his biographer Claire Tomalin and actor Ralph Fiennes were among those who attended the service.

The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, said Dickens made an “extraordinary impact” on Victorian England through his writings which were “immensely popular” even today.

“This bicentenary should help renew our commitment to improving the lot of the disadvantaged of our own day,” he said.

The royal couple also visited the Charles Dickens museum in London, located in a house in Doughty Street where he lived from 1837 to 1839. They were given a private reading by Gillian Anderson, the American actor who played Miss Havisham in the BBC's much-acclaimed adaptation of Great Expectations telecast recently.

Celebrations in the author's native Portsmouth, on the south coast of England, began with a ceremony outside his place of birth — originally 1 Mile End Terrace, Landport, Portsea, but since renamed 393 Old Commercial Road. His great-great-grandson, Ian Dickens, laid a wreath there.

“I really made the strong decision to come to dthe place where he was born rather than to Westminster Cathedral where he never wanted to be,” said actor and his biographer Simon Callow.

Plans for year-long celebrations include a series of worldwide “readathons” from his works, exhibitions, seminars and the launch of a Dickens newspaper and iPad app using his work as content.


Dickens' other womenFebruary 6, 2012

Real-life Dickens characters tracedFebruary 3, 2012

More In: Books | News | International

What an irony. The celebration by the rich British of the old money celebrate the birth of Dickinson.
It was their ancestors who were responsible for the exploitation,abuse,
poverty and jailing and transporting to penal colonies and later on shipping the poor to countries like Australia,Canada etc.
The children did not escape this as well as they were declared offens
and were shipped to Rhodesia,Australia,New Zealand,Canad, ensure that the Raj interestand loyalty was kept alive

from:  munnap
Posted on: Feb 26, 2012 at 01:38 IST

What the dickens! It brings back fond memories of my schooling; Yes, my schooling in Stanes-Coonoor-The Nilgiris then Campion-Trichy we had some of the best of the best teachers and English was at the best too! Thank you our teachers our Gurus for the astounding knowledge imparted to us! Shakespeare and Dickens were our detailed and non-detailed studies, loved Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, As you like it and Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, and Nicholas Nickleby. I would never forget Fr.Tamby, Fr.Macedo, and Mr.Arokiaraj at Campion and Mr. David at Stanes, who literally got all the vivid images, scenes before us walking us together with Dickens and Shakespeare. These sights that they portrayed before us were just far out than what the 2-dimensional moves can portray! I still cannot forget in Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby, Dotheboys Hall school, the winter, the cold and evil Mr. Squeers!; the Reading Dicken’s Pickwick Papers you would see thru the eyes of Dickens himself of the yesteryear politics, bringing us a full circle to our current era itself! My daughter’s love of Shakespeare took us to witness 2 plays at the now restored Globe Theatre in London, this is ‘the place’ for the Shakespearian Lovers, a must visit in London! One small piece of advice to the young ones out there, read, read and read the classics, any language it may be! Reading makes one intelligent, always!

from:  Raj S Ram
Posted on: Feb 8, 2012 at 00:51 IST

He made the English language sound like music to his readers and commanded respect which led to love of the language. You can easily identify with the characters in his novels. He had a way of feeding one's intellect and making the mind hungry for more knowledge through his literature. He was one of the greatest authors and owning any of his books, is a lifetime investment.

from:  Babalwa Ursulla Malgas
Posted on: Feb 8, 2012 at 00:11 IST
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Last Sunday, a friend left a message for me on Facebook. “Professor Mushirul Hasan was injured in a road accident. He is critical.” I said a quick prayer for his life and health. As news came in, f... »

More »



Recent Article in Books

Rajmohan Gandhi

Response to Arundhati Roy's annotated edition in pipeline: Rajmohan Gandhi

Writer and historian Rajmohan Gandhi says the extensively annotated edition of B.R. Ambedkar’s Annihilation of Caste, introduced... »