As I previously announced, I will be co-hosting a streaming program about The Pickwick Papers, the first novel of Charles Dickens. You can catch my first appearance this Saturday, May 27th, at 2:00 pm Eastern time. To register, click here.
The program is presented by the Rosenbach Library and organized by Edward G. Pettit, who brings in one of four rotating co-hosts to discuss a different installment of Pickwick each month. This Saturday, we'll be discussing chapters six through eight, which originally appeared in May of 1836.
Dickens included in this section his poem "The Ivy Green" which was allegedly written by the clergyman introduced in chapter six. The poem was subsequently set to music by Dickens's brother-in-law Henry Burnett, who married the author's favorite sister, Fanny, and might have been a model for the title character in Nicholas Nickleby.
Having fictional characters compose poems is not unique to Dickens. I did the same thing in my play The Love Songs of Brooklynites, which takes its title from a poem written by one of the piece's characters. That play had a staged reading last year by Vivid Stage in Summit, New Jersey, but there are no immediate plans for a full production.
By the way, I got some lovely feedback from the staged reading of Wedding Night at Anacostia Playhouse in Washington, D.C. earlier this month. Hopefully it will get a full production somewhere soon!