Happy Birthday to Charles Dickens, who, were he still alive, would clock in at 199 today!
Among his books are A Tale of Two Cities, from which the title of this post originates, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, of course the nearly ubiquitous A Christmas Carol and so many others. Many of his books began life serialized in monthly magazines, and made frequent use of the ‘cliffhanger’ to bring audiences back for the next installment.
An early philanthropist, in 1846 he partnered with Angela Burdett Coutts in establishing a home for ‘fallen’ women. Unlike other such institutions of the day, which seemed to have been more punitive in their treatment of the women, the goal of this house was to help rehabilitate the women, teach them to read, write, and domestic chores, and reintegrate them into society. Dickens himself interviewed prospective candidates for residence, and ultimately 100 women ‘graduated’ from this house.
And in other news
Brian Jacques, author of the Redwall Adventures series of childrens’ books about a courageous mouse and his adventures, along with many other works, passed away Saturday at the age of 71. RIP, Mr. Jacques.