There’s no escaping the big man. As Charles Dickens turns 200, the cultural events surrounding his anniversary will have you cornered like a thieving urchin in a crowded marketplace. Here’s a selection of the Victorian goodness taking place across town. Further ideas, including many events outside of London, can be found on the Dickens 2012 website.
The Museum of London’s Dickens exhibition is a must-see glimpse into the Victorian city and the author’s place in the metropolis. The accompanying book is also worth considering. Meanwhile, the British Library has a smaller exhibition tackling Dickens and the supernatural. The National Portrait Gallery has a small display of prints, drawings and photographs of the author, until 22 April. And, of course, the Charles Dickens Museum can be visited in Bloomsbury all year round.
Fans of Dickens adaptations are well served by the BBC, who recently screened a new adaptation of Great Expectations, with Edwin Drood coming soon. The BFI has a major Dickens season, with film adaptations of most of his novels (alas, they’ve missed out the greatest of all — The Muppet Christmas Carol). Two particularly mouthwatering sessions (one of them tonight) will screen pre-1914 shorts with live piano accompaniment. Elsewhere, Museum of London Docklands screens David Lean’s Great Expectations (13 Jan).
Diarmuid Lawrence, director of the BBC’s forthcoming Edwin Drood adaptation, will be at the Museum of London on 23 January to discuss the famously incomplete story. Simon Callow’s at the British Library on 20 February and the Museum of London on 29 February to wax lyrical about his hero. Iain Sinclair wanders into the Museum on 25 April to chat with author Sebastian Groes about Victorian London’s reputation as a dark and squalid place. The BFI’s Dickens on Screen season also contains a few panel discussions after screenings.
The Dickens Fact From Fiction walk around the City takes place on 21 January, organised by the Museum of London. A similar walk, taking in important Thames-side sites, occurs on 14 April. A Clerkenwell walk is organised by London Metropolitan Archives on 16 April. Finally, Sandra Shevey conducts a 3-hour tour of Dickens’ London every Sunday in 2012.
The Museum of London’s Dickens Book Club has turned pages since late last year. They’ll meet up at Foyles (Charing Cross Road) for Bleak House (6 February) and Oliver Twist (2 April). Follow on Twitter @DickensBookClub.
We’ve probably only scratched the surface here, so holler in the comments if you want to flag up other stuff.