Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Happy Birthday, Charles Dickens!

Today is the 211th birthday of author Charles Dickens, and I am happy to announce that I will be part of an upcoming streaming program on The Pickwick Papers, Dickens's first novel, which is imminently theatrical and has been adapted for the stage numerous times.

As readers of this blog know, Dickens had numerous connections to the stage and was a close friend of the actor William Charles Macready. In his home at Tavistock House, Dickens even staged amateur versions of The Lighthouse and The Frozen Deep by his friend Wilkie Collins.

The Pickwick Papers was originally published in monthly installments as The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. It came out once a month from March 1836 to October 1837. Now, the Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia will be starting a show about the book that will stream live once per month, each episode corresponding with a different original installment of the novel.

Noted scholar Edward G. Pettit and a rotating set of Dickensian co-hosts will talk about each serialized part once a month from March 2023 to October 2024.  If you tune in, you'll be able to relive the story just as Dickens's first readers did, one piece at a time. I'll be one of the co-hosts, though it hasn't been decided yet which months. You can see a list of dates the show will be airing and get more information here.
Known as Pickwick Monthly, the show will be free for anyone to watch--live or recorded--on the Rosenbach’s YouTube channel. The library is asking people to register to receive monthly email updates, plus get links to PDFs of the original serial as it was published with illustrations and advertisements. Yes, the Rosenbach has in its collections the complete serial issues of The Pickwick Papers, along with a portion of the book's manuscript, first editions, letters, a lock of Charles Dickens's hair... you name it! 
The first episode of the program will stream live next month on March 25. Subsequent episodes will air on the third or fourth Saturday of each month until October 19, 2024. I hope you can join us!