Shakespeare Salutes Dickens – Part 1

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Photo by G. Travels

I’m going to be posting a series of sound recordings over the coming weeks in celebration of Charles Dickens’s 200th birthday. On the eve of the great day itself, I thought I’d ask my colleague, Viv Tomlinson, for her contribution. She has worked in Shakespeare’s Birthplace for more than decade and is a great Dickens enthusiast.

Her choice of reading is one of Dickens’s many fairy-tales which he embeds into the novels. This one is from Little Dorrit and is told by Little Dorrit to Maggie, a large, friendly woman with the mind of a ten-year old who delights in calling Little Dorrit, ‘Little Mother.’

The story is at once a piece of entertainment for Maggie whilst at the same time being a way of Little Dorrit herself giving shape to her own growing feelings for Arthur Clenham, the novel’s hero. This is a good example of how storytelling becomes a way of expressing a momentary sense of freedom in a world in which people are entrapped first by by debtors’ prison, then by luxury, and always by themselves…

Happy 200th Birthday, Charles Dickens! We at The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust salute thee!

Dickens200 (mp3)

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Author:Paul Edmondson

Head of Research and Knowledge and Director of the Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival for The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Follow Paul on Twitter @paul_edmondson
  • Had to listen to this again. Like all the most beautiful things in life it is a little sad too but oh so precious

  • Paul Edmondson

    Thanks for all these lovely comments. I’m hoping to post some more extracts from Dickens over the coming weeks…

  • sweet and mystical

  • Sjforce

    Our library is hosting a flash read of The Pickwick Papers this afternoon.  Hoping for 200 people to help celebrate.  Love the blog!  Sandi Forsythe

  • Anne Parker

    Lovely!!  What and when is the next instalment?? 

  • Thanks for this story – beautifully read!

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