Dickensian

Following the recent 20-part BBC series, Unit member Professor Valerie Purton has written a review for the Journal of Victorian Culture that details her ‘conversion from refusnik to admirer’.  In advance of its publication, I’m including her concluding comments here:

Dickens’s early nickname for himself was, ironically, ‘the Inimitable’ – ironically, because perhaps no author since Shakespeare has been so imitated, adapted, borrowed from, shared with the world. Adaptations of Oliver Twist were being staged while the young author was still struggling to write the next number.  Going to the theatre at this time, he observed dryly that he had found on stage ‘some old and particular friends’. However, his objections to plagiarism seem to have been on the grounds of potential lost revenue rather than of literary principle. He also hated monumentalising, by which he meant statues and all such static tributes. Dickensian is the opposite: it is in every sense a ‘moving’ tribute to the vitality of Dickens’s imagination – from the silhouettes bustling through the opening titles to the breath-taking liberty taken in making Mrs Cratchit the murderess of Jacob Marley. The final episode, having wrung every last drop of emotion from the plights of Miss Havisham and the about-to-be Lady Dedlock, gave itself up to outrageous playfulness, with most of the cast gathered in the Queen Vic/Three Cripples ( ‘Collect the empties from Mr Pickwick’s table!’) and the action of the actual novels about to begin.  ‘Ebenezer Scrooge!’ intones the ghostly voice of Jacob Marley…

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