Please Sir, I Want Some More, or, a Dickens of a Celebration

By Kevin Grace

Oliver TwistThis month marks the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens, a man who once remarked on an 1842 visit to Cincinnati that the Irish marchers in a temperance parade behaved quite nicely.  Of course, that visit was in January so the St. Patrick’s Day parade was still two months away.  Dickens’ bicentennial is February 7, and throughout the month the Archives & Rare Books Library will be commemorating this notable event.  “Why?”  is the question we hear being whispered across campus.  It is because ARB holds a very fine collection of Dickens – Dickens in parts, Dickens first editions in single and multiple volumes, Dickens in collected works, Dickens, Dickens, Dickens.  It is the Dickens, we say.  After all, Charles Dickens is one of the most popular authors in Western literature and an absolute master at marketing his Cover of the Works of Charles Dickensbooks and himself, and so deserves our attention.  Also, the story of how this wonderful material came to the University of Cincinnati is an interesting one so we’ll blog about that as well.

On Thursday, February 23, our monthly “50 Minutes – 1 Book” lunchtime talk from 12-12:50 in 814 Blegen Library will feature Oliver Twist, Dickens’ bleakly black comic novel featuring said Oliver, Fagin, and the Artful Dodger.  174 years later, it is still a compelling tale, and, it lent itself to quite a nice musical in the 1960s with lots of catchy tunes.