Registration is open for Dickens Day 2015: ‘Dickens, Readers and Reading' on Saturday 10 October at Senate House, London. See the full programme and buy tickets here.
Speakers include Holly Furneaux, Michael Hollington, Joss Marsh, Helena Michie and Robyn Warhol.
Dickens Day, now in its 29th year, is considering Dickens, readers and reading. Reading is a powerful thing in Dickens’s novels. David Copperfield says of his childhood that "reading was my only and my constant comfort" and he describes "reading as if for life." If the lonely and unhappy David found reading life-saving, Oliver Twist experiences its deathly associations. He is so disturbed by reading the Newgate Calendar that its pages seem to turn red with gore.
Contemporaries of Dickens were also keenly aware of the power of literature and they worried about Dickens’s own influence over his vast numbers of readers, particularly the "impressionable" ones – women, younger readers and the lower classes. Despite such concerns, Dickens’s popularity remained undimmed throughout his life and in his last years he reached a new audience with his public readings of his own works. Reading Dickens had a profound effect on many other writers too and we will seek to explore the echoes, referencing and rewriting of Dickens – both celebratory and critical – in later works.
Jointly run by Birkbeck, the University of Leicester, the Dickens Fellowship and the Institute of English Studies, this one day conference will explore Dickens’s reading, his readers and reading in his work. Please join us for a day of papers and readings; we extend a warm welcome to scholars and academics, students, enthusiasts, members of the Dickens Fellowship and Dickensians of all stripes.