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Old 01-15-2012, 09:33 AM   #1
kennyc
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The Whirling Sound of Planet Dickens

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The Whirling Sound of Planet Dickens
By VERLYN KLINKENBORG
Published: January 14, 2012


In death, Charles Dickens still keeps his greatest secret to himself — the essence of his energy. None of the physical relics he left behind betray it. The manuscripts of his novels — like “Our Mutual Friend” at the Morgan Library — look no more fevered or hectic than the manuscripts left behind by other novelists.


Dickens, who was born 200 years ago, wrote a long shelf of novels, 14 in all, not counting “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” which lay half-finished at his death. They sit plump and bursting with life, spilling over with the chaos of existence itself. It’s easy to imagine writers working the way Dickens’s prolific contemporary, Anthony Trollope, did — steadily, routinely, knocking off his 2,000 words a day until, by the end of his life, he had written 47 novels. But this is not how Dickens wrote.

Find the tumultuous heart of your favorite Dickens novel, the place where 19th-century London seems to be seething, smoking, overcrowded, in a state of vulgar contradiction. Then imagine Dickens working in the midst of it — a small, brisk figure rushing past you on a dark and dirty street. He is lost in a kind of mental ventriloquism, calling up his emotions and studying them. Every night he walked a dozen miles, without which, he said, “I should just explode and perish.”

....
More here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/15/op...t-dickens.html
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Old 01-15-2012, 10:44 AM   #2
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Great article! I wish I could have met the guy.
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Old 01-15-2012, 10:55 AM   #3
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His out put was prodigious! Not only all done in long hand, but in addition to his extensive walking and family life. Not to mention the theatricals, speaking tours ....
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Old 01-15-2012, 02:07 PM   #4
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It was the speaking tours which killed him, of course. If only he'd stuck to writing.
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Old 01-15-2012, 07:30 PM   #5
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I am amazed at how he wrote so intensely for one so young. It's as if the development line throughout his life was brought forward to account for a fated early death. That's hogwash I know, but at times you can't help thinking that way. I know some would say 57 wasn't young for then, but for many middle classes and above (sorry to bring class into it), 57 still was nowt, even for the late 1800s.
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Old 01-15-2012, 08:40 PM   #6
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I took the family to The Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco last month. The Cow Palace was transformed into Victorian London and everyone was dressed up like characters in his books. It was amazing to me to see how his stories over a century later have the power to get people to wear bonnets and top hats and dance to 19th century English drinking songs.
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Old 01-16-2012, 06:32 AM   #7
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They do that here too, special theme days in resort towns / market towns. Trouble is, the ale prices are not Victorian, bummer that.
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