Feb 7, 2012

Charles Dickens 200th Birthday

Charles Dickens,  beloved author, America hater, and documentarian of the professional lives of children, has his 200th birthday today.  Growing up in North Carolina most people my age were able (forced) to listen to the traveling lectures of Dr. Elliot Engle.  As far as lectures go his were pretty good, full of witticisms and little tidbits of trivia that I love.  He'd come to your school and give a talk about Shakespeare, Poe, or Charles Dickens and then that night he'd give a lecture to the parents about something more salacious like Gone with the Wind.  I remember him telling us in his Poe lecture that Dickens met Poe in America and told him that their beloved family pet, a raven, had just died by drowning in a bucket of paint thinner, and that was the zeitgiest for Poe's famous poem (I reckon he squawked nevermore from the bucket and expired).
After the show parents would buy a little cassette tape of a lecture that they hadn't heard before and bring it home to listen to with the family.  It's actually a pleasant memory, but after ruminating on it for a bit,  I don't remember my dad going to the lectures, not that he was anti-literature, but he was a single parent with two kids.  I think that I must remember going to friends' houses and listening to the tapes or maybe I would buy them on my own.  Anyhow somewhere in there is a pleasant memory.
(Unfortunately his Dickens lecture is not free on Youtube, but there are others)

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