What the Dickens?

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What the Dickens?

Postby Graceful Leonard on February 8th, 2012, 11:28 pm

Hello Tom

Well, we've reached the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens's birth. In a recent article, it's suggested that children these days no longer have the concentration span to read Dickens. Do you think his work is still relevent and important for children to read?

Thanks and best wishes,

"A man's work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened."
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Re: What the Dickens?

Postby Tom Baker on February 29th, 2012, 10:16 pm

Dear GL,

I will ask around. But Dickens is still read. By whom? I don't imagine women would like his women. He's incomparable on frumps and wasp-waisted child brides.

I think of Dickens as primarily a comic novelist, don't you? I have read all the novels and hundreds of his letters and I still re-read my favourite bits. He is fabulous on hypocrites. Pecksniff being my favourite.

I warmly recommend "The Violent Effigy" by John Carey, in paperback published by Faber & Faber. Relevant for children? Are the Greek myths relevant? Is the Bible relevant? Are Grimm's tales relevant? It might depend on how they are introduced to them. But then, what do I know what children like? Oh, wait a minute, they love Doctor Who in their millions.

All the best from Tom.
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