Celebrations mark Dickens’ birthday

Celebrations mark Dickens’ birthday

LONDON - Reuters
Celebrations mark Dickens’ birthday

Charles Dickens

Prince Charles led global celebrations yesterday marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens, one of English literature’s most revered novelists who wrote “Bleak House” and “A Tale of Two Cities.”

Britain’s heir-to-the-throne visited the Charles Dickens Museum in London where U.S. actress Gillian Anderson, who played Miss Havisham in a BBC adaptation of “Great Expectations,” read from the novelist’s work. 

The prince then went to Westminster Abbey to lay a wreath at the grave of a writer whose stories and characters have lived on in countless stage and screen adaptations. There actor Ralph Fiennes, Dickens biographer Claire Tomalin and the author’s great-great grandson Mark Dickens were readers at a special service in Poets’ Corner, where Dickens was buried in 1870 alongside Geoffrey Chaucer, Tennyson, Samuel Johnson, Rudyard Kipling and other literary greats. 

The event marked the largest ever gathering of Dickens’ descendants, with over 200 family members attending. 

“This bicentenary should help renew our commitment to improving the lot of the disadvantaged of our own day,” said the Dean of Westminster, John Hall, referring to Dickens’ preoccupation with social justice in his work and life. 

Actor Simon Callow will read from Dickens’ works in Portsmouth, southern England, where the writer was born. 

Ongoing events coinciding with the anniversary include exhibitions in Zurich, New York and across Britain, theatrical performances by professional actors and schoolchildren.

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