A Dickens of a time

Bloganuary queries “Who is your favourite author and why?”

I have many favourites, but I’m going to land on one that set the path to becoming a bibliophile – Charles Dickens.

Great Expectations was the text our Year 8 English Teacher had set. I quickly found myself engaged with the dark and menacing opening, the eerie Victorian atmosphere and the weird behaviour of Miss Haversham. As the plot unfolded I found myself in the grip of the storyline right to the end.

Dickens’s devotion to fully detailed characterisation and attention to minute setting descriptions transported me to 19th-century English cities and countryside – both the bucolic and the bleak. As soon as I was earning money I subscribed to a complete set of Dickens works, noting my particular attraction to David Copperfield and Oliver Twist. In some unaccountable way, I must have been identifying with the main protagonists of these stories – each of them negotiating the circumstances of their youth to address the circumstances of their narrative line.

Perhaps I saw myself as one of Dickens’s characters, seeking to address social inequities, confronting and outsmarting my antagonists (real and imagined), and carving out my life’s path. Perhaps Charles Dicken’s had a lot to do with me becoming a pastor.

He certainly opened the door to engaging with many more authors.

Published by wonderingpilgrim

Not really retired but reshaped and reshaping. Now a pilgrim at large ready to engage with what each day brings.

4 thoughts on “A Dickens of a time

  1. I chose Jane Austen but Dickens was a very close second. And not so long ago I lived opposite the ‘real’ Satis House -Restoration House in Rochester, Kent. At the other end of the road is a house that was used to make a TV adaptation of The Mystery of Edwin Drood – the one Dickens’ didn’t finish, as you will know. There are two Dickens’ festivals each year, featuring a Miss Haversham parading up and down the High Street in her spidery wedding gown and on stilts! There are two Sweeps’ festivals, featuring Morris Dancers in black from head to toe, including top hats covered in black feathers – they are more like the Baron Samedis of Haitian Voodooism than chimney sweeps. 🙂


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