“Conducted by Charles Dickens: An Exhibition to Commemorate the Bicentennial of His Birth”
January 23 through May 5, 2012
Charles Dickens is one of the most beloved and well-known authors in the English language. The stories of characters such as Scrooge, Tiny Tim, Oliver Twist, and David Copperfield have moved beyond the pages of fiction and into the realm of popular myth.
The Lilly Library will display an exhibition from January 23 to May 5, 2012 commemorating the bicentennial of Charles Dickens’s birth. The title of the exhibition refers to the way in which Dickens denoted his editorship of his periodicals Household Words and All the Year Round: “Conducted by Charles Dickens.” Like the conductor of a train or an orchestra, Dickens masterfully channeled the cultural currents of his age into works of literature that still resonate with readers today.
The exhibition showcases the Lilly Library’s eclectic holdings relating to Charles Dickens’s life, literature, and the Victorian world from which he drew inspiration. Highlights include first editions of Dickens classics such as The Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, and Great Expectations as well as examples of Dickens novels issued in serial monthly parts. The exhibition also explores Dickens’s love of theatre, the novels and stories that inspired him as a child, the numerous illustrators with whom he worked, and practices of Victorian readership and publishing. One section is devoted to the colorful and chaotic world of Victorian London, featuring London “low life” and the social reform movements which were such an integral part of Dickens’s fiction.