It was 200 Years Ago today…

‘Chapter 1 – I Am Born

Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show…’

(Opening of David Copperfield)

Well, it’s here – the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’s birth. And what a difference that baby’s arrival in the world – on 7th February 1812 – went on to make to so many lives, including my own…

‘Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.’

– Charles Dickens, Chapter 9, Great Expectations

For me, that fateful arrival in the world created a first link in a chain that would definitely be of flowers, gold and many treasures – binding me only to the freedom and endless possibilities of the imagination…

This morning, at 11 o’clock, there will be a wreathlaying service in Poets’ Corner at Westminster Abbey, to commemorate the momentous event.

I wish I could be there to pay tribute. But, instead, I shall set aside some moments today to make special remembrance and thanks, light a candle…  and, most of all, to celebrate Dickens’s life by reading some of his magnificent prose. Spending time with Pickwick, Fezziwig and other companions from the teeming array of colourful characters he gifted to our imaginations, should make for a great (and very interesting) birthday party!

Dickens's Dream, unfinished painting by R.W. Buss, 1875 (pictured in John Forster's The Life of Charles Dickens, Illustrated Edition (published by Sterling)

Wishing all my fellow Dickensians a very Happy Bicentenary Day!

Happy 200th Birthday, Dickens!


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