Posted by: deeyamirch | September 18, 2011

Charles Dickens’ Home

While I was at home this summer, I went to the Charles Dickens museum. This is where he lived from 1837-1839, and where Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby were written. The blue plaque scheme was created in 1866 in order to commemorate “the link between notable figures of the past and the buildings in which they lived and worked.”

I also found it interesting that many of the areas described by Dickens still exist in London today, such as Temple Bar and Lincoln’s Inn, both in close proximity to his home.

 


Responses

  1. I also visited when I was in London this past summer!

    Originally, I went to his home with the intention of hating it, because, young and naive as I was, I thought that I hated Charles Dickens…but I was so wrong.

    It all started in the fifth grade. Really too young to be reading Dickens anyway, I struggled through Nicholas Nickleby on principle, and (spoiler alert) when Smike passed away, I felt like I lost a family member and vowed never to read his work again.

    Of course that didn’t last long. When Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol were assigned in high school, I had to revisit his writing, but my feelings of irritation only grew because of the constant “poor, lonely orphan redeemed at the end” story trope. To be honest, the situation was probably only compounded by the fact that (spoiler alert again, but to be honest it’s been out for almost 200 years ) Smike was only “redeemed” or elevated to a higher place in society after his death.

    However, I feel like actually visiting Charles’ home, and learning about his troubled past (why I never looked into it before then confounds me…it was probably out of spite) helped to change my views on him and open my eyes (and heart) up to his writing again.

    Seeing the desk he killed Smike on, but understanding how his upbringing could influence him to pen “real-life” novels in which really bad things happen, almost made me forgive him. Almost.

    Normally, it’s healthy for a reader to completely separate an author from their writings, and view them only as a complete work of fiction. But, as you said, the mere existence of the Temple Bar and Lincoln’s Inn complicate things, and invite reader’s to construct a new pseudo-reality.

    I made a continual effort to keep this in mind during Bleakhouse, because to read a Dickens novel you really have to commit to try to love (well at least like) it, right?


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