Tag: CharlesDickens

Westworld Dolores & Bernard

Take a Look at Charles Dickens Version of ‘Westworld’ from the 1830s

If you’re a fan of HBO, or popular culture in general, you probably know about the series Westworld (if not, you should pop on over to HBO immediately following this article and check it out, it’s way too good to miss. Trust me, I watched all of it in one sitting). What you may not know, however, is that, between the years 1837 and 1838, Charles Dickens published a series of short stories in the magazine Bentley’s Miscellany. The collection was titled Mudfog and Other Stories, and included one story, in particular, that bares an eerie resemblance to the popular HBO series.

 

 

Mudfog and Other Stories

Image Via AbeBooks

 

In their article shedding light on this strange similarity, The Smithsonian noted that in The Full Report of the First Meeting of the Mudfog Association for the Advancement of Everything, a group of scientists meet to discuss a variety of proposals. One proposal, brought up by a man named Mr. Coppernose, describes a theme park filled with automaton figures (robots who look and behave human), so the wealthy visitors can riot and rage throughout the town; inflicting damage on the figures free of consequence.

 

George Crukishank's drawing of Dickens world

Image Via Smithsonian

 

This premise feels too closely mirrored by Westworld, seeing as the entire series revolves around a theme park where the wealthy go to live out their wildest sins and inflict pain on a town filled with artificially intelligent robots.

 

The parks do, however, drastically vary in size. The Westworld park spans for about 500-square-miles, while Coppernose’s park only spans for ten miles.

 

Westworld

Imege Via Westworld Watchers

 

Still, despite their variations in length, an immense amount of detail has gone into both parks, so they look and feel as real as the outside world. The Westworld park mimics the look and feel of a small-town community in the days of the wild west, while Coppernose’s park mimics rural-England and is said to include, “highway roads, turnpikes, bridges, miniature villages.” The park is also said to be inhabited by automaton police officers, cab drivers, elderly women, and more.

 

In Westworld, however, careful precautions are taken to ensure no humans are harmed during their stay. But in Coppernose’s park, pedestrians are brought in from the workhouse for the guests to hit and run over as they please. There is also a mock-trial that takes place in Coppernose’s park where guests are arrested by the automaton police force for their reckless, damaging behavior. A team of automaton magistrates are programmed to side with the humans. 

 

Westworld is based on the 1973 sci-fi film of the same name, but has never been traced back to literary inspiration of any kind. Still, the parallels between the series and the Dickens story are too similar to not take note.Even if just by coincidence; it’s interesting to see how multiple creators have imagined up a world filled with humanoid robots where guests can go to live out their wildest rage. Maybe the future of blending artificial intelligence with amusement parks has always been a little bit closer than we think.  

 

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Digital Spy

'The Man Who Invented Christmas'

New Christmas Movie Will Remind You How Awesome Charles Dickens Is

‘There may be something there that wasn’t there before…’ This could most likely be Dan Stevens’ new wig in order to play the part of the popular Charles Dickens in his new movie coming up. Yes, that may be it.

 

'The Man Who Invented Christmas'

Image Via Teaser Trailer

 

The handsome actor will be playing Charles Dickens (alongside Christopher Plummer) in The Man Who Invented Christmas, a somewhat crafted up story about how the author struggled in his career. Somehow he manages to create a holiday, time-travel, ghost, and morality story all rolled up into one as A Christmas Carol

 

Dan Stevens and Christopher Plummer

Image Via City Bible Forum

 

“It’s difficult to appreciate how weird the idea of a Christmas book was in 1843,” Stevens explains. “People were baffled by it! Since then, it’s really become a part of the fabric of our conception of Christmas. I was really interested  to examine it as a work of art and also as a cultural moment.”

 

The actor’s curiosity and desire to get into character allowed him to happen upon some interesting accounts of the past author. It was written in one of Dickens’ daughter’s diaries that she would often find him in his study making faces in the mirror and speaking in funny voices to act out his works as he wrote them. What a dedicated man.

 

Charles Dickens

Image Via Encyclopedia Britannica

 

As far as inventing Christmas, many people have pegged Dickens with this hefty title, however, it’s true in certain ways. Due to Britain’s industrial toil and the gritty hard times, Dickens wanted to make charitable works and goals the focus. He encouraged us to remember those who have passed and weren’t able to be a part of Christmases any longer. Through his stories we are meant to reflect on past, present, and future at Christmas time, the most special time of year. Another recurring theme seems to be failure and being humble along with gratitude. We definitely use a lot of his phrases about the holiday to this day.

 

I don’t know if I would say Dickens invented Christmas, but he sure as hell reinvented it. Check out the movie in theaters November 22nd!

 

God bless us, every one!

 

Feature Image Via HeyUGuys

Page turning

8 Classic Books That Are Surprisingly Short

If you missed out reading the classics in high school or college, then you’re probably not motivated to pick any of them up. Unless a teacher is going to fail you for not reading East of Eden (which is roughly 600 pages), then you’re probably just not going to read it. Which would be unfortunate, by the way, because that book is juicy as hell.

 

Not every classic is intimidatingly long, though. Here are some classic books that are surprisingly short (which, for the purposes of this list, is 250 pages or less).

 

1. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway – 46 pages

 

Old Man and the Sea

Image Via Amazon

 

It’s a Hemingway story about an older Cuban fisherman and a fish. Fun, right!? Well, shortly after its publication, Hemingway won the Nobel Prize in Literature. It’s forty-six pages. Read it!

 

2. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – 98 pages

 

'A Christmas Carol'

Image Via Amazon

 

Whether you’ve read it or not, A Christmas Carol has probably wiggled its way into your psyche. The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come probably walk around your imagination during the holiday season. At less than 100 pages, you might as well curl up on a cold December night and knock this one out.

 

3. Night by Elie Wiesel – 120 pages

 

Night

Image Via Amazon

 

Night is one of the few classics that’s 100% earned its place as a high school requirement. At 120 pages, there’s no excuse not to read Wiesel’s autobiographical account of how he survived his time in concentration camps. It’s a tale of suffering, cruelty, and, in a way, resiliency. It’s not great for the faint-hearted, but it’s necessary.

 

4. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison – 224 pages

 

'Bluest Eye'

Image Via Amazon

 

Toni Morrison’s classic follows Pecola Breedlove’s quest to fit in despite the color of her skin and brown eyes. It was Morrison’s debut novel, but she tackled heavy issues like race, beauty, and alienation. At a slim 224 pages, put this on your to-read list!

 

5. Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger – 208 pages

 

Franny and Zooey

Image Via Amazon

 

This one is actually two-for-the-length-of-one! ‘Franny’, a short story, was first published in 1955 and Zooey, a novella, in 1957. But they’ve since been published together as Franny and Zooey. The stories follow the two siblings of the Glass family, who were a particular obsession of Salinger’s. Jump into the mind of Salinger with this tale of family drama!

 

6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck – 112 pages

 

Of Mice and Men

Image Via Amazon

 

Best friends forever, George and Lennie finally score a sick job as ranch workers in California’s Salinas Valley! Things don’t go so well, and…you know what? It’s short. Just read it.

 

7. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson – 240 pages

 

Treasure Island

Image Via Amazon

 

Long John Silver! Billy Bones! Jim Hawkins. Okay, the last one is kind of lame. This classic tale of swashbuckling and seafaring sits at a cozy 240 pages. Between its brevity and exciting tales of piracy, you might be able to finish this on your next day off!

 

8. The Driver’s Seat by Muriel Spark – 112 pages

 

Driver's Seat

Image Via Amazon

 

Opening with the main character’s death, Spark’s masterpiece tells the strange story of Lise’s last day alive. It’s a classic among fans of the strange and unsettling. If that’s not your thing, it’s only 112 pages. You might as well give it a try.

 

Feature Photo by Prasanna Kumar on Unsplash

A Christmas Carol

Spend Your Holidays With Charles Dickens!

Do you keep telling your friends and family that you want to do something fun this holiday season? Good news…The Ghost of Christmas Plans Past has gone, but the Ghost of Christmas Plans Yet-to-Come has arrived!

 

The Morgan Library

Image Via Morgan Library

 

From November 3rd through January 14th you can visit New York’s breathtaking and historical Morgan Library & Museum for an exhibit on Charles Dickens. ‘Charles Dickens and the Spirit of Christmas’ will be displaying all five of his Christmas book manuscripts together. For the first time EVER. How’s that for a merry Christmas?

 

 

Charles Dickens

Image Via the Telegraph

 

 

You will be able to see A Christmas Carol (1843), The Chimes (1844), The Cricket on the Hearth (1845), The Battle of Life (1846), and The Haunted Man (1848) in one show. Visitors will get a firsthand look at the inspiration, composition, reception, and publication of A Christmas Carol. They’ll also discover what made it stand the test of time for over 100 years. It’s arguably the most classic Christmas tale that has been told over and over again through various film adaptations. It not only impacted Dickens’s life, but society at the time as well, as he drew inspiration from the socioeconomic issues of that time period. 

 

The exhibit even discusses Dickens’s reading tour for A Christmas Carol, a ritual that was uncommon then. In it, though, he gave his heart and soul to his readers.

 

The Morgan Library itself will totally fit your holiday mood. With soaring ceilings, intricate frescos, dark wood accents, and an array of books and programs, this is a library that will surely lift the spirit of anyone who enters it.

 

Break out your calendars because this year you will definitely have holiday plans!

 

Image Via Giphy

 

Feature Image Via Historic Newspapers