Happy Birthday Mr. Dickens

by on January 26th, 2012

Organizations from all over the world are planning events and activities to commemorate the bicentenary of Charles Dickens’ birth, which falls on Feb. 7, 2012. Although a writer from the Victorian era, Dickens’ work transcends his time, language and culture. He remains a massive contemporary influence throughout the world and his writings continue to inspire film, TV, art, literature, artists and academia. Iowa City-area events and programs will be announced at our website at icpl.org/dickens in the coming weeks. What follows is a preliminary list of events and resources for exploring the life and work of Charles Dickens.

Featured Events

Dickens 101 and Birthday Celebration
What: In honor of Charles Dickens’ 200th Birthday, the Iowa City Public Library will hold a panel discussion on Charles Dickens, his novel Oliver Twist, and how his work continues to speak to the issues our community faces today. Cake and refreshments to follow.
Panelists include: Teresa Mangum, Professor of Victorian Literature in the University of Iowa English Department; Jeffrey Cox, Professor of British Social, Imperial, and Religious History in the University of Iowa History Department; Miriam Gilbert, Professor of Shakespeare, drama, and performance criticism in the University of Iowa English Department; Sarah Benson Witry, Food Bank and Emergency Assistance Director at The Crisis Center of Johnson County
In addition, Gregory Prickman, UI Special Collections Librarian, will assemble a small exhibit of Dickensiana.
We welcome attendees to bring a jar of peanut butter to donate to the Food Bank of The Crisis Center of Johnson County. Spread the love!
This event is part of the “Conversations and Controversies” Book Discussion Group. Dickens 101 is also the kickoff to a community reading of Oliver Twist.
Where: Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Room A
When: Tuesday, February 7th, 7 p.m.


Oliver Twist Book Discussion

What: Come and discuss Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist. The discussion will be facilitated by Teresa Mangum, Professor of Victorian Literature in the University of Iowa English Department, and is part of the ongoing Controversies & Conversations series hosted by the Obermann Center, POROI, and Prairie Lights Bookstore and is open to everyone.
For the ongoing C & C book series, the Obermann Center and POROI provide 25 free copies of the book. Copies of Oliver Twist will be available beginning Feb. 7 at Prairie Lights to the first 25 people who sign up to attend the discussion (sign up sheet at Prairie Lights). In addition, Prairie Lights will offer a 20 percent discount on all Dickens books to anyone who brings a jar of peanut butter to the store throughout February. Peanut butter prices have shot up due to a drought last summer, causing a shortage of this staple at the Crisis Center’s food bank.
Where: Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Room A
When: Monday, March 5th, 7 p.m.

Dickens Film FestivalGuest Speaker: Dickens in Film
Who: Guest speaker Corey Creekmur, Associate Professor, UI Depts. of English and Cinema and Comparative Literature
When: 7 p.m. Friday, March 9David Copperfield (1935)
Directed by George Cukor and starring W.C. Fields, Lionel Barrymore and Madge Evans. 133 minutes.
Friday March 16 7:00 p.m. Meeting Room A

Great Expectations (1946)
Directed by David Lean and starring John Mills, Tony Wager, Valerie Hobson, and a very young Alec Guinness. 118 minutes.
Friday March 23 7:00 p.m. Meeting Room A

Oliver! (1968)
Directed by Carol Reed and starring Ron Moody, Oliver Reed, Harry Secombe, and Shani Wallis. 148 minutes.
Date and time TBA

Nicholas Nickleby (2003)
Directed by Douglas McGrath and starring Charlie Hunnam, Jamie Bell, Jim Broadbent, and Alan Cumming. It is 108 minutes.
Friday April 6 7:00 p.m. Meeting Room A

Celebrate the Season
Look for a day-long screening of adaptations of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol at ICPL on Saturday, December 1..
There might even be Muppets!

Explore Dickens at ICPL

Read Oliver Twist
We will gather to discuss Charles Dickens’ novel, Oliver Twist, on Monday, March 5th at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room A at the Iowa City Public Library. The discussion is part of the “Conversations and Controversies” Book Discussion Group.
Click Here to Check the Shelf
Click here to Download the Book
Click here to Take a Listen

The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of Charles Dickens
Read more about the life of Charles Dickens at the Iowa City Public Library.

Read more Dickens!
The Iowa City Public Library has everything you need to immerse yourself in the world of Dickens.

Further Exploration

Oliver Twist
Read more about Charles Dickens and Oliver Twist at the University of Iowa’s Victorian Wiki.
The U of Iowa Vicwik: Introductions to Victorian Literature brought to you by the students of Teresa Mangum and Deborah Manion with the technical support of UI ITS and Nathan Culmer.

Going Mad for Dickens by Joshua Hammer
Smithsonian Magazine. February 2012. Article explores the continued popularity of Dickens.

Dickens 2012
Check out Dickens’ birthday celebrations around the world.

Participating Organizations

Iowa City Public Library
UNESCO City of Literature
University of Iowa Department of English
University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections and University Archives
POROI (Project on Rhetoric of Inquiry)
Obermann Center for Advanced Studies
Prairie Lights Books

For more information, contact the Reference Desk at 356-5200 opt. 5 or refquest@icpl.org.

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