Charles Dickens Turns 200
George Cruikshank (1792–1878), Oliver Asking for More / The Morgan Library & Museum.
February 7 marks the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens, and the third and final month of Dickens 2012, an international festival devoted to paying tribute to the famous author and his work. Here are five events not to miss:
1. Dickens on Screen: The largest retrospective ever staged of film and TV works based on or inspired by the author. The highlight of this month-long festival takes place on Charles Dickens’s actual birthday, February 7, with a celebratory première of the film Dickens in London, a multimedia collaboration, at the BFI Southbank. The exhibit will then go on tour, including a stop at MoMA in New York. bfu.org.uk.
2. Dickens at 200: The Morgan Library and Museum in New York is exhibiting the author’s manuscripts, letters, books, photos and original illustrations—one of the two largest archival collections of Dickens in the world. Through February 12; themorgan.org.
3. Rochester Dickens Festival: Rochester, Kent, figures largely in some of Dickens’s greatest works (the author spent the last 15 years of his life there), and the area is paying tribute to his bicentennial with festivities that include readings, music, theater, Victorian costumes and a special exhibition at the Guildhall Museum. Can’t make it on such short notice? The annual Dickens Summer Festival is coming up at the beginning of June. February 6–11; rochesterdickensfestival.org.uk.
4. Dickens and London: This show at the Museum of London is the U.K.’s first major exhibition on Dickens in over 40 years, featuring paintings, photographs, costumes, original manuscripts and commissioned films. Through June 10; museumoflondon.org.uk
5. Dickens at the Lion: Shrewsbury’s Lion Hotel, where the author stayed and gave readings, is hosting a weekend-long festival, featuring Gerald Dickens, Charles’s great, great grandson, performing excerpts from Sikes and Nancy, The Christmas Carol and his own show based on his ancestor’s diaries. February 3–5; thelionhotelshrewsbury.com