Charles Dickens at 200 years

An exhibition from DeGolyer Library's Stephen Weeks Collection runs through May 12

 

January 20, 2012

On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the birth of author Charles Dickens, SMU's DeGolyer Library is displaying over 200 items — many from its Stephen Weeks Collection — including all of Dickens’ major works in original editions, as well as prints, drawings, letters, later editions, piracies, translations, adaptations, and advertising ephemera.

A portrait of Charles Dickens wearing a tartan waistcoat, photographed by G. Herbert Watkins in 1858.
A portrait of Charles Dickens wearing a tartan waistcoat, photographed by G. Herbert Watkins in 1858.

DeGolyer is open 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and will observe special Saturday hours 9 a.m.-4 p.m. May 12 for visiting SMU parents – including Stephen Weeks, whose daughter Jennifer will graduate from the University this weekend.

The exhibit is free and open to the public. A catalogue of the exhibition will be available for purchase. School groups and AP English classes are encouraged to schedule tours in advance by calling 214-768-2253.

Charles Dickens was born February 7, 1812, and wrote more than 34 major novels until his death on June 9, 1870. Two hundred years after his birth, his literary legacy remains unparalleled. His 19,000 published editions ranks behind only the King James Bible and Shakespeare in number of editions published. 

This exhibition offers a comprehensive display of his works, as originally published. For example, many Pickwick Papers materials from the Stephen Weeks collection are used to illustrate periods of Dickens’ publishing life.

The arrangement of materials in the exhibit was done so as to create a Dickens “story” in every display case. There is something of interest relating to every period and phase of the great novelist’s life.

From the exhibit catalog: “The world loves Charles Dickens because Charles Dickens loved the world. He was a man who would today describe an automobile ride with the same gusto as he described a mail coach ride; a broad minded man whose religion and philosophy embraced all of mankind, not merely the Englishman; a man who believed that foreigner and countryman were both works of the same Divine Creator; a man who believed and taught that all men were brothers. Although considered a Victorian, he was actually a man that transcended time periods. This is why the star of Dickens does not show any signs of waning.” 

For more information, see visit the DeGolyer site.

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