He's been named one of the most important authors of all time and today, he turns 200 years old. helps you celebrate the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens with this week's Library Picks:
David Copperfield (1849-50) was Dickens's favorite novel: 'Of all my books', he wrote, 'I like it the best.' Strikingly autobiographical in its childhood scenes, it relates David's history from birth to young manhood, and the host of characters he meets on his journey of self-knowledge: Mr Micawber, the Peggottys, Betsey Trotwood, Steerforth and Uriah Heep among them.
Charles Dickens's satirical masterpiece, The Pickwick Papers, catapulted the young writer into literary fame when it was first serialized in 1836-37. It recounts the rollicking adventures of the members of the Pickwick Club as they travel about England getting into all sorts of mischief. Laugh-out-loud funny and endlessly entertaining, the book also reveals Dickens's burgeoning interest in the parliamentary system, lawyers, the Poor Laws and the ills of debtors' prisons. As G. K. Chesterton noted, "Before (Dickens) wrote a single real story, he had a kind of vision … a map full of fantastic towns, thundering coaches, clamorous market-places, uproarious inns, strange and swaggering figures. That vision was Pickwick."
Of the complex, richly rewarding masterworks he wrote in the last decade of his life, Little Dorrit is the book in which Charles Dickens most fully unleashed his indignation at the fallen state of mid-Victorian society. Crammed with persons and incidents in whose recreation nothing is accidental or spurious, containing, in its picture of the Circumlocution Office, the most witheringly exact satire of a bureaucracy we possess, Little Dorrit is a stunning example of how thoroughly Dickens could put his flair for the theatrical and his comic genius the service of his passion for justice.
A Tale of Two Cities (DVD)
In the dock of a British courtroom, French aristocrat Charles Darnay stands accused of spying. The outlook appears grim until some last-minute help comes from the mysterious Sydney Carton. Darnay goes free and makes plans to marry Lucie Manette. Carton keeps his love for Lucie to himself, yet assures her that he would make the ultimate sacrifice for her 'or for anyone you love’.
Great Expectations (DVD)
In the gloom of a country graveyard, a young boy encounters an escaped convict, a chance meeting that later leads the boy to tragedy, mystery and wealth.
To check out any of these books or movies, visit the library's website and reserve your copy straight from the online catalogue. Make sure you come back to Birmingham Patch next week, to see what else is new in the stacks.