The guy’s work may have been a buzzkill to read while trying to enjoy high school, but he did indeed have some facts of life to spit. (It’s pretty cool that A Tale of Two Cities was the narrative foundation for The Dark Knight Rises). Yet even as the bleakest of writers, Charles Dickens believed you could find lighter moments in darker times. Here are some quotes from the literary icon… aside from “please, sir, I want some more.”
Happy Birthday, Mr. Dickens.
Image via The British Library
1. “The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again.”
2. “Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.”
3. “There is nothing so strong or safe in an emergency of life as the simple truth.”
4. “We forge the chains we wear in life.”
5. “A loving heart is the truest wisdom.”
6. “We need never be ashamed of our tears.”
7. “A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.”
8. “The men who learn endurance, are they who call the whole world, brother.”
9. “This is a world of action, and not for moping and droning in.”
10. “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.”
Yet another adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol is coming. This time, in the form of a BBC mini-series.
Steven Knight, the creator of Peaky Blinders, will executive produce the mini-series along with Tom Hardy, who is also set to star. Knight has confirmed that the script is finished and filming is planned to start this year.
It’s gonna be three one-hours, it’s largely done in terms of the script. We’re planning to shoot this year and hopefully get it on the screen for Christmas… Its BBC plus an American element which has not been announced yet.
This is one of the many Dickens adaptations that Knight is planning:
“What I’m planning to do is adapt five Dickens books—A Christmas Carol plus four novels—and do it over a period of six or seven years and have a repertory of actors, and I think we’ll get the best actors in the world, hopefully, to take part because the Dickens characters are so great.”
It is unclear what role Hardy will play, but more information will be revealed as filming commences.
On December 19th, 1843, a Novella, A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas or more commonly known as A Christmas Carol was published. Written by Charles Dickens and illustrated by John Leech, the famous yuletide tale this year marks its 175th anniversary.
This classic Christmas tale recounts the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a rich and successful but miserly old man. On the Christmas Eve, his clerk, Bob Cratchit, shivers because Scrooge refuses to spend money on coals for a fire. Scrooge’s nephew pays him a visit and invites him to an annual Christmas party he and his family are hosting, and Scrooge bitterly declines. Two gentleman drop in later that day to ask Scrooge for a contribution to their charity. Scrooge angrily refuses their request and denounces any and all Christmas cheer. Later that night as he is sitting by a warm and cozy fire in his house, he is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and three other spirits: The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. All through the night, these spirits haunt Ebenezer Scrooge, and show him the error of his ways. After that night, Scooge is transformed into a kinder, gentler man.
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In the middle of the 19th century, Dickens was witnessed the abject poverty of working class children in England, and was outraged by the amount of children working in appalling conditions in factories, workhouses and as chimney sweeps. The suffering he witnessed was then reinforced when he visited the Field Lane Ragged School, one of several of London’s industrial schools/orphanages where the children were half-starved and uneducated.
In a fundraising speech on October 5th, 1843, Dickens urged workers and employers to join him in fighting against the child labor. He then realized in the days after that an effective way to reach a wide audience and spread his message about poverty and injustice was to write a deep and meaningful Christmas narrative rather than writing pamphlets and essays.
The Novel was a best-seller in both England and the United States, but because there were no international copyright laws in those times yet, Dickens didn’t make any money when he sold the American editions. In 1867, Dickens arrived at New York and on December 9, 1867 he was able to read A Christmas Carol at a public reading – which in fact was sold out.
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Ever since, this classic Christmas tale has been adapted into different versions of entertainment from films to plays to a children’s movie. The first film adaptation was in 1901. Jim Carey voiced the scrooge in the 2009 animated version of A Christmas Carol and is played on kids channels every year around Christmas time. There were rumors that parents used the ghosts of Christmas past as a way to scare their kids into behaving all year.
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The novella was adapted to the stage almost immediately after publication and had been adapted to other forms of media, including opera, ballet, a Broadway musical, and a BBC mime production. Almost every year, Broadway casts the play in December and it usually sells out pretty quickly along with the Trans Siberian Orchestra.
In the wake of Darwinism, the world was left with one loaded question: what does this discovery say about God and the afterlife?This search for meaning helped to spawn the Victorian Era obsession with the supernatural, a movement that sought the answers to life’s big questions- by any means necessary. Seances, astral projection, and psychic readings caught the interest of the era’s intellectuals, including some of your favorite authors.
1. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
As it turns out, the author and creator of famous detective Sherlock Holmes was supernaturally gifted. Doyle was a devotee of the Spiritualist movement, a widespread pursuit of the mystical originating with three dubiously psychic sisters. In 1848, the Fox Sisters of Hydesville, NY used a pattern of taps to communicate with the spirits in their supposedly haunted house. In the United States, rampant industrialization (hello disease and poverty) led to a nationwideobsession with death. In a world where one-third of infants born in cities did not live over 1 year, the sisters thrived. Though they recanted their story in 1888, they later stated that they had beenpaid a bribe of $1,500 to… well, lie about lying. By that point, however, Spiritualism had its own supernatural power as a sweeping movement. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Spiritualist and mystery writer, was desperate to solve the greatest mystery of all: the secret of life beyond death.
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Conan Doyle’s fascination with the Fox Sisters led him to attempt a seance during his time as a physician. Known to fervently believe in telepathy, Conan Doyle publicized his beliefs during his notorious and brief friendship with magician Harry Houdini. Conan Doyle believed that Houdini had actual supernatural abilities, and, with his wife, convinced skeptic Houdini to participate in a seance. Conan Doyle’s wife claimed to receive a telepathic message from Houdini’s late mother; unfortunately, Houdini’s mother didn’t speak English. Yikes. Friendship over. Undeterred, Conan Doyle continued performing seances with his wife to contact his relatives who died in World War One. He would abandon his fiction writing at the height of his fame, focusing exclusively on his Spiritualist beliefs. After a lifelong obsession with ghosts, he eventually became one. Medium Estelle Roberts famously claimed to summon Doyle’s spiritin front of a large audience at his funeral in 1930.
The Mesmerist movement represented the crossover between proven science and faith in the unknown. A major part of Mesmerism was its focus on medical miracles and many (scientific?) attempts tocure disease with psychic energy. According to those who believed, a practitioner could put his patient into a trance and transfer his stronger energy into the weaker patient. This became (alarmingly!) a popular medical treatment in the 1830s and 1840s… not a time period known for its long lifespans. So much for your reason and skepticism, Dickens!
3. Henry James
Widely regarded as the bridge between American literary realism and modernism, The Turn of the Screwauthor Henry James had an occult connection through his brother. William James was a core member of the Society for Psychical Research, an organization of intelligentsia in pursuit of the secrets behind death. The Society sought to apply scientific principles to the unexplored territory of the supernatural. William himself was no crackpot, a Harvard man many call “the father of American psychology.” Although Henry James himself was not a member, the two brothers often stayed together, and Henry had frequent exposure to his brother’s ideas. One major area of William’s research was haunted houses, which he and the Society believed to be telepathic hotspots.
Image Via yourtownmonthly.com
The Society for Psychical Research had a documented impact on the rising Gothic literary moment. Elements of Gothic literatureinclude elements of horror, death, and gloom, along with the Romantic emphasis on intense emotions. William’s psychical investigations directly influenced Henry’s later ghost stories; it’s likely Henry also drew upon William’s paranormal research for his Gothic novel The Turn of the Screw.
As it turns out, anyone can believe in the supernatural, even the literary greats. So now the question is… do you?
As we’ve covered before, some literary memorabilia sell for thousands and thousands of dollars. In one insane instance, a Hogwarts Acceptance letter from the first Harry Potter film sold for $40,000. The Harry Potter franchise isn’t the first to sell items from the films for insane amounts of cash. Everything from wallets to toilets to ashes of beloved stars have sold for immense amounts of money. Here are a list of some of the most obscure literary relics sold at auction.
Harper Lee wrote a letter to her friend Doris Leapard in August of 1990 with content spanning all sorts of topics from social revolution to novels she was enjoying. At the end of the letter, Lee even apologized for the quality of her typewriter. Her lyrical style seen in To Kill A Mockingbird was used to trash Donald Trump and his Taj Mahal-inspired casino in New Jersey. The letter sold for $3,926 at an auction in New York in 2016.
3. Sylvia Plath’s Wallet
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A wallet put up for auction included Sylvia Plath’s ID cards including her Boston Public Library, her Poetry Society of America membership card, driver’s license, social security card, and a small photo of Plath with her mother. The wallet sold for $11,669 March 21, 2018. Along with the wallet, some of Plath’s other belongings were also sold including her fishing rod, articles of clothing, and her drawings.
4. J.D. Salinger’s Toilet
Image Via Writers Write
The beloved Catcher in the Ryeauthor’s toilet was sold on Ebay with a letter from the present homeowner, confirming that the toilet was formerly owned by the reclusive author. The item came “uncleaned and in its original condition”, as stated in the ad. The toilet sold for $1,000,000, not including cleaning fees.
5. X-Ray of Ernest Hemingway’s Foot
The injuries shown in the x-rays Ernest Hemingway would later be detailed in his novel, A Farewell to Arms. The x-ray remains in its original hospital file folder with labels identifying it as his. The lot included the x-ray of his foot, ankle, and knee where a bullet can clearly be seen. The auction ended on December 7, 2016 with the x-rays selling for $15,000.