A big display in the entrance of the library has been inviting customers to write their thoughts about Dickens on an index card for several weeks and many customers were thus inspired to celebrate Dickens and come along to the event. We invited Dr Matthew Beaumont of UCL’s English department to join the group in a discussion about Dickens, his characters and places.
Particular examples were drawn from The Old Curiosity Shop which the book club are currently reading. Dr Beaumont is an expert on social utopias and nightwalking in cities and discussed how Dickens the nightwalker evolves as a storyteller in The Old Curiosity Shop by expanding on picaresque episodes to those that build a picture of society.
An exhibit on “Dickens and Sense of Place” by the Westminster Archives also provided images and captions to further the debate. 20 readers attended the event, 3 of whom were extremely enthusiastic children! After all that talking we finished with refreshments, more talking and a free copy of Oliver Twist for all. It was a great Dickens soirée.