Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Charles John Huffam Dickens ( 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870)

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known. (A Tale of Two Cities)

Bah Humbug. (A Christmas Carol)

Please Sir, I want some more. (Oliver Twist)

He wrote about life in the modern city, with its lawyers and criminals, bankers and urchins, dreamers and clerks.

He created characters still known to millions Ebeneezer Scrooge and Tiny Tim, Pip and Miss Havisham, Fagin and Oliver Twist. And it made him a star, mobbed by fans on both sides of the Atlantic.

Britain has marked the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens, the first global celebrity author and chronicler of a world of urban inequality that looks a lot like the one we live in today.

"You only have to look around our society and everything he wrote about in the 1840s is still relevant," said Dickens' biographer, Claire Tomalin.

"The great gulf between the rich and poor, corrupt financiers, corrupt Members of Parliament ... You name it, he said it."

Dickens' mistrust of the wealthy and compassion for the poor haven't stopped him being embraced by Britain's high and mighty.

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