I'm planning to start my Dickens Bicentennial celebration on Christmas Eve, even though the official onset isn't until New Year's Day. Charles Dickens, born in Landport, Portsmouth, England, on February 7, 2012, long has been a favorite of mine, and, of course, millions of others.
So next weekend I plan to settle down with some of the movies I've been taping from the Turner Classic Movies wondrous "Dickens in December" series, showing each Monday night. Here's my lineup so far for Christmas weekend:
- The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1935) with Claude Rains.
- Oliver Twist (1948) with Alec Guinness.
- Nicholas Nickleby (1947) with Cedric Hardwicke.
- A Christmas Carol (1938) with Reginald Owen.
- A Tale of Two Cities (1958) with Dirk Bogarde.
- Little Dorrit (1984) with Alec Guinness.
- "Punch, my dear Copperfield, like time and tide, waits for no man ... His recent despondency, not to say despair, was gone in a moment. I never saw a man so thoroughly enjoy himself amid the fragrance of lemon-peel and sugar, the odour of burning spirit, and the steam of boiling water, as Mr Micawber did that afternoon. It was wonderful to see his face shining at us out of a thin cloud of these delicate fumes, as he stirred, and mixed, and tasted, and looked as if he were making, instead of a punch, a fortune for his family down to the latest posterity."--David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
Then in June I'll be celebrating in London with Road Scholar's "The Best of Times." Kevin Flude, a Dickensian expert, will be leading this tour. Highlights include:
- A private viewing and reception at The Charles Dickens Museum, Doughty House.
- A pub crawl to Dickens' favorite haunts: The George Inn and the Prospect of Whitby.
- An outing to marshy Kent to see Bleak House, Dickens' occasional holiday retreat.
- A visit to Little Dorrit's church, St. George the Martyr.
- A coach trip to the historic waterfront city of Portsmouth, to the site of Dickens' birth, where now is located the Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum.
As 2012 progresses, I'll read some of the lesser-known Dickens' works, already downloaded to my Kindle:
- The Seven Poor Travellers
- Somebody's Luggage
- Going into Society
- Mugby Junction
- The Haunted House
- Doctor Marigold
And finally in January I'll at long last undertake the legal novel, Bleak House, that I've put off for so long. It's waiting for me on my Kindle, as well.
I'll also be ordering Charles Dickens: A Life, by Claire Tomalin, who wrote the wonderful book on Dickens' mistress, Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens.
I'm anticipating that 2012 for me indeed will prove to be "the best of times." It's not only Dicken's bicentennial...it will be my diamond jubilee!