Academic journal article Dickens Quarterly

Dickens and the Idea of "The Dickensian": A Tale of Four Cities-A Bicentenary Travelling Conference

Academic journal article Dickens Quarterly

Dickens and the Idea of "The Dickensian": A Tale of Four Cities-A Bicentenary Travelling Conference

Article excerpt

Paris

Boulogne/Condette

Chatham/Rochester

London

2-8 February 2012

Our aim is to celebrate the bicentenary of Dickens's birth, which falls on 7 February 2012, in the form of a kind of pilgrimage--festive rather than solemn--joining four places central to Dickens's life and art. This journey will take us from Paris, where he finished Little Dorrit, to Condette near Boulogne, where he spent time with Ellen Ternan, to Chatham and Rochester, "the birthplace of his fancy," and finally to London. Some participants will want to enjoy the whole week-long experience, others will drop in and out as they please.

The conference theme is designed to explore the manifold meanings of "Dickensian." What is meant when we talk of Dickensian humor, characterize someone as "Dickensian," or refer to suffering, poverty, squalor or deprivation as "Dickensian"?

To encourage coherence, we have divided the topic into four segments.

1. Paris (Feb 2-3): Dickens and the idea of the "Dickensian'" City (University of Paris-Diderot)

Dickens created a vision of London and Paris that has continued resonance. Hostile, inefficient, convivial and organic, it haunted Victorian governments and reformers and endures today, a structure of power, a community, a topographical entity. Papers with a comparative perspective--the cities of Dickens, Hugo, Balzac and Dostoevsky, for example--are another possibility, as are approaches which treat other disciplines or media such as film, the Graphic Novel, painting or illustration.

2. Boulogne-sur-Mer/Condette (4-6 February): Travel, Crossing, Threshold and the idea of "the Dickensian"

(Co-hosted by the Centre Culturel de l'Entente Cordiale, Chateau d'Hardelot at Condette and Universite Charles de Gaulle-Lille 3)

Introduced to the reading public as his "French watering-place," Boulogne is the more commonly recognized; Condette, by contrast, a village to the southwest remained a private indeed secretive place, a retreat where Dickens spent time with Ellen Ternan. …

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