No, my title of today's post isn't about the crazy YouTube video (though it is oddly appropriate that the children in it are British, I think). No, today is Charles Dickens's 200th birthday!!! Happy Birthday to my favorite dead author lover/husband/etc. We have a sick and fantastic relationship, but I wouldn't trade it for anything!!
As you know, I was "bitten" by the Charles Dickens bug in my first year of PhD studies in Florida. I've already posted so much on this blog about Charles Dickens, so I won't do it again. I just will use this space to discuss my love for his work--and I do love it.
Dickens and I wouldn't have gotten along too well in life, had we known one another. This is for various reasons, most of which have to do with his crazy relationship with women. But as far as an artist and writer...well, for me, there isn't anyone better. He feeds something in me, and there is no other author who makes me so passionate, so enraged, so emotional as Dickens does. He has everything in his work that transcends time and that speaks to his own time. He makes use of the western cannon while at the same time negates the importance of other traditions. His point of view isn't always perfect, but his presentation almost always is. His work presents to us the human condition in a nineteenth-century way, yet in it we find ourselves and our same problems. No, I wouldn't want to teach some of his values to my own children, but if I could teach myself or any potential children I had to write like him...wow.
So: Happy Birthday, Charles Dickens. Thank you for existing and for making me feel. I may not always feel comfortable when reading your work, but I then I wouldn't think either. Cheers, my beloved author.
For more words about why people love Dickens, see: The Dickens Blog.