Happy Dickens Day!

Night Walks

Night Walks
by Charles Dickens

Today is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Dickens, so in preparation I thought I should read at least one of his works that have been sat on my TBR far too long. This is a collection of his essays, most of them from his journal Household Words, which I have a beautiful old boxed set of in my library. They give great insight into Dickens the man, as well as Dickens the writer.

The essays are mostly about Dickens’ forays around London, particularly poorer areas. His social conscience comes through strongly. In fact, he almost seems to be a bit of a busybody, inviting himself into workhouses and people’s homes, dragging children out of the gutter and throwing accusations at the police and government. But in the context of the time, writing such as this was hugely important. He described the real, actual conditions that people in London lived and worked in to spread the word, to spread awareness.

The writing is the Dickens familiar from his novels but with a single theme at a time making him a touch more accessible. There’s a definite sense of humour and a love of people in all their variety, as well as a need to know London thoroughly, at its best and worst. I found myself touched, amused, surprised and informed. Anyone interested in Victorian London would find something here for them.

Dickens Day

Some Dickens Day reading

First published 1850–1870.
This collection published 2010 by Penguin Books in the Great Ideas series.

3 thoughts on “Happy Dickens Day!

  1. Emma Newman February 7, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    I have boxed set envy…

  2. Leeswammes (Judith) February 7, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Nice to have such a set, Kate. So your edition is very new? It looks much, much used.

    I didn’t know Dickens had written anything like that. Indeed very interesting for people who love to know more about Victorian London.

  3. Nose in a book February 7, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    Emma But notice the hideously bad condition they’re in, which is presumably how I came to buy them for almost no money.

    Judith The set pictured is misleadingly not the mini Penguin collection I reviewed. I should probably have photographed both!

    UPDATE: I have added a picture of the Penguin edition cover to clarify!

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