First there was Disney World, then the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – and now Dickens World. New York Times’ magazine critic Sam Anderson writes a mixed review of the theme park. A recreation of the London of Charles Dickens’s novels (including the smells), the park was to open in Chatham, England (Dickens’ childhood home) in April 2007, but was delayed due to lots of last minute construction problems. When Mr. Anderson returned to the park last month before Dickens’ 200th birthday he noted that “Dickens World was an attraction very much down on its luck. Posts were abandoned; displays were broken; animatronics failed to animate. The visitor experience consisted mainly of listening to recorded speeches, many of which were either dull or unintelligible.” And many of the attractions at the park, marketed to children, were “surprisingly grisly”. Despite this he found Dickens World a “perfect tribute to Charles Dickens”. You can read the entire and very insightful NYT article here.
I’d like to add to Laura’s post below by directing readers to today’s airing of Morning Edition. Host Linda Wertheimer’s excellent commemoration of one of the world’s most popular and enduring authors offered listeners commentary from other writers, biographical bits, reading remembrances, a variety of linked resources, and more.
David Copperfield was Dickens’ favorite work — and the first book he wrote in the first person. This illustration (left) circa 1850 depicts Mr. Micawber and young Copperfield. What’s your favorite Dickens? Mine? Oliver Twist.
Tomorrow February 7 is the 200th birthday of the great English novelist Charles Dickens, whose works continue to inspire, delight, amaze, and engage us today. From a ceremony at Westminster Abbey starring actor Ralph Fiennes to the “Dickens at 200” exhibit at New York’s Morgan Library and Museum, celebrations will be held on both sides of the Atlantic. There have been countless movies adapted from his books, with more on the way. PBS’ Sunday night Masterpiece Classic series will air new British productions of “The Old Curiosity Shop” (Feb. 26), “Great Expectations” (April 1 and 8) and “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” (April 15). Yesterday’s Sun-Times has a wonderful article on the author and his lasting influence.
Oprah Winfrey announced today that she has chosen Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens for her next book discussion. Check Oprah’s Website for details.