Dickens and Popular Culture

Little Nell

As soon as the IES Dickens Day conference on ‘Dickens and Popular Culture’ was announced, the Library knew it wanted to support it by mounting a relevant display. After holding a major exhibition on Charles Dickens from January to June this year, we were not quite so sure that we wanted to bring together new material. In the event, however, we found so much interesting and relevant material both within the special collections and in the English stacks that a fresh display appeared to be a sine qua non. The particular emphasis on popular culture was one which did not render first editions appropriate. We chose penny plays based on Dickens’s works; copies of Great Expectations, with two different illustrations, from a couple of editions of complete works based on different pockets; an early continuation of Edwin Drood, showing how Dickens captured the imagination creatively; a guidebook to Great Expectations country; and evidence of Dickens’s descendants utilising and furthering a Dickens industry. The most visual item of the display falls into this category: a re-telling of stories from Dickens for children by his grand-daughter Mary Angela Dickens among others, illustrated by Harold Copping (1863-1932).

 

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