What the Dickens!

It’s hard to believe that we’re coming to the end of another year, and what an exciting year it’s been! With events, anniversaries and commemorations, it feels like 2012 really has been a year to remember. Of course, it’s not over yet, but our series of Dickens exhibitions, celebrating the bicentenary of the author’s birth, is now coming to a close.

Cover of the first issue of Our Mutual Friend, May 1864

Cover of the first issue of Our Mutual Friend, May 1864

For the next six weeks, you can enjoy our fond farewell to our Dickensian celebration in our latest exhibition, “What the Dickens! Beyond the Books.” It’s on in the Templeman Gallery (accessible from the Library Cafe) and includes a cornucopia of the bizarre, banal and brilliant Dickens items in our archives.

Having examined Dickens on Stage in the nineteenth century and cartoonists’ use of Dickens’ characters in the twentieth, this time we’re investigating how Dickens’ fame and the popularity of his characters have survived and been transformed since their first success.

Do you know how Joseph Clayton Clarke made his living from Dickens’ characters? Or how Dickens became associated with music? Have you hear of Sir John Martin-Harvey, who played one of Dickens’ characters more than 4000 times on stage? What is the link between Dickens, Oliver Twist and chocolate?

Take a look at the exhibition to discover all this and more as we look ahead to the new academic year and plenty of new Special Collections discoveries.

“What the Dickens! Beyond the books” will be on display from 26 September until 6 November in the Templeman Gallery, next to the library cafe.