Dickens 2012 how far did the ripple go round the world

Well today is the 200th  anniversary of Charles Dickens birth .I ve tossed and turned in my head how to cover this and involve the main focus of Winstonsdad that of fiction in translation and I decide that is to see how in my view he has had an effect outside the UK on writers .At the time Dickens wrote he was along side a couple of great French writers Zola and earlier Balzac these where all social realist writers .so lets see how in my view dickens has effected writers from round the world .


Now London is Dickens city the sooty dirty back streets dark alleys and cobbles inhabit his london make the city a central character in a lot of his books .Now Orhan Pamuk in a lecture in 2009 acknowledge how both Dickens and Joyce had shown him how important making the city feel right can be to the book ,I read his last book last year the Museum of innocence and this book has loads of dickens links the city Pamuk’s is Istanbul ,class this book is all about classes and love always crops up in Dickens .Although he said he wasn’t a huge fan the great chronicler of Cairo Naguib Mafhouz said Dickens had made cities important to the novel .Joyce also would have read dickens and how many of the scenes in Ulysses wouldn’t have been possible if Dickens hadn’t written so much about working people  and the streets they live in .


Whether it is Pip ,David Copperfield or Oliver twist ,Dickens wrote great children as Narrators but also children facing great struggles and meeting the most awful characters along the way from Magwitch and Bill Sikes as evil ,to school or workplace as a horrific situations .Now last year I read two great child Narrators heir to Dickens great Narrator and both from the spanish speaking world Tochtti from down the rabbit hole lives in a nightmares world of the modern criminal class Fagin and Sikes look tame compared to this world but if Dickens lived now this would be his world .The other book is Kamchatka and Harry and his family on the run  face a terrifying world  and danger at every turn .I interview the writer and he had read a lot of english fiction although he didn’t mention Dickens I m sure he would have read him .


Now there is one name jumps out for this Leo Tolstoy who was known to be a huge Dickens fan and like Dickens his books have a lot of social realism in them .Tolstoy called Dickens the greatest 19th century writer ,even have pictures of Dickens on his wall .Elsewhere I noticed Heinrich boll mention Dickens in his book the Irish journal  and the recent German short story collection from Clemens Meyer a rough edged book is the heir to Dickens in its view of people on the edge is the rough parts of east german that much different to the Victorian London of Dickens I wonder .

So there is just a few people from round the world that could be called the children of dickens but I like to point out Sarah’s post and the fact that I love dickens but as Sarah says there are lots of over looked writers like Henry Green and Lawrence Durrell would be another this year is his 100th anniversary .The top image is one I took recently at the dickens museum which is at his home .

18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. parrish
    Feb 07, 2012 @ 12:50:09

    Although celebrating any writer is great as it promotes writing, I think I’ve may have mentioned in the past, that I’m not a big fan of Dickens. So as you rightly mention other writers, I’ll add a big Yah! To Lawrence Durrell, a writer, who as you’ve said of Green before is a writers writer, but more than that is just a fantastic writer, who seems to be neglected these days, or just lost behind his brothers shadow.


  2. Caroline
    Feb 07, 2012 @ 13:02:50

    Great idea for a post, Stu. I have not read a lot of Dickens but I’m sure he was very influential.


  3. Penny
    Feb 07, 2012 @ 16:24:58

    I am reading Our Mutual Friend and at first it reads like a 21st Century made-for-tv LifeStyle movie, a bit trite, many comic book pun-names (the newly rich Veneerings), smooth, tragi-comic, easy to digest rice pudding. Nonetheless, between the lines Dickens provides a strong, unavoidable authorial force —a presentation of desperate stinking poverty coupled with indifference and injustice by the ruling class. He weaves this in masterfully; and a 19th C picture is painted that makes for a great deal of unease on the part of the reader, no matter how humorous the scene. The rub is that In the 19th C his readers felt little or no compunction to care or change the situation.

    At the same time I am studying Joseph Campbell’s Hero Journey and find that Dickens’ Little Nell characters have a heroine path of their own. Oh, and I finally got my hands on a Henry Green book (Uncollected Stories) ! A little late for the party.


    • winstonsdad
      Feb 11, 2012 @ 21:43:04

      I ve been wanting to get my hands on the collect stories from Green I hope to for next year and another green reading week ,I hope to read a dicken not ure which yet ,all the best stu


  4. Anbolyn
    Feb 07, 2012 @ 19:04:29

    Brilliant post, Stu! I am definitely a Dickens fan after having just finished Great Expectations. He really does bring his London to life and I love how he incorporates all the social classes into his novels.
    I’m not very familiar with Lawrence Durrell, but I am up for a read along! I enjoyed my experience with Henry Green and welcome the opportunity to discover new-to-me writers.


  5. Sarah
    Feb 07, 2012 @ 21:32:25

    Wonderful post, Stu. A really meaningful way of remembering Dickens. I love it.

    If there is a serious move afoot for a Lawrence Durrell read-along I’m there…


  6. Heather
    Feb 08, 2012 @ 04:49:43

    Interesting topic, looking at how one author’s writing can have such influence on other writers. I hadn’t really considered this. Food for thought. Thanks.


  7. Tony
    Feb 08, 2012 @ 10:00:46

    A very interesting slant on the subject 🙂 In J-Lit, Natsume Soseki was influenced by Dickens (Soseki even spent a couple of years in London), and Mr. Murakami himself has admitted a liking for V-Lit 😉


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February 2012


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