With the possible exception of Shakespeare, no English author is better known than Charles Dickens. Dickens was a household name during his lifetime, and his reputation has not dimmed with the passage of time. This exhibit, which includes twelve of his most popular books—the majority represented in first editions—illustrations from his works, and an assortment of ephemera, celebrates the bicentennial of his birth on February 7, 1812.
This exhibit attempts to allow Dickens’s genius to speak for itself, in his own words about his work and in the words of his immortal characters.
The many items in the exhibit that carry his name—commemorative plates, medallions, plaques, playing cards, etc.—show that perhaps no author in history has been commercialized more than Dickens. Although Dickens would undoubtedly have railed against this exploitation,it bears testimony to his immense and enduring popularity.
“The positive argument for the permanence of Dickens comes back to the thing that can only be stated and cannot be discussed. He made things which nobody else can possibly make.”
Thanks are due to Richard Levy, Norman Smith, and Kimberly Lutz for lending items to this exhibit, and to Carolyn Shankle for devoting time to designing this catalogue and the exhibit poster.
Windows to the World:
Immortal Works of Charles Dickens
January 23 – March 30, 2012
Hodges Reading Room
Second Floor, Main Building
Hours 9AM – 5 PM, Monday – Friday