What the Dickens! as the BBC Launches a Season of Programmes to Mark the 200th Anniversary of the Great Novelist's Birth, Nick Curtis Invites You to Test Your Knowledge of the Perennially Popular London Author

The Evening Standard (London, England), December 16, 2011 | Go to article overview

What the Dickens! as the BBC Launches a Season of Programmes to Mark the 200th Anniversary of the Great Novelist's Birth, Nick Curtis Invites You to Test Your Knowledge of the Perennially Popular London Author


Byline: Nick Curtis

DICKENS'S WORK 1/ Dickens's first short story, published in the London Magazine, was: a) Armadale b) A Dinner at Poplar Walk c) What I Did in My Holidays 2/ Which of the following opening lines from Dickens's novels is incorrect? a) "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" (A Tale of Two Cities) b) "Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station shall be held by anybody else, these pages must show" (David Copperfield) c) "Marley was deaf" (A Christmas Carol) 3/ Which of the following three comments about Little Nell is a red herring? a) "One would have to have a heart of stone to read of her death without dissolving into tears ... of laughter" -- Oscar Wilde b) "A monster of complacency and pride who, under a cloak of cringing self-abasement, dominates and gives meaning to the novel" -- Kingsley Amis c) "... a monster as inhuman as a baby with two heads" -- Algernon Swinburne 4/ Which of Dickens's lesserknown "Christmas" books features the characters John Peerybingle, Caleb Plummer and his blind daughter, and the miser Tackleton? a) The Cricket on the Hearth b) The Battle for Life c) The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain, a Fancy for Christmas-Time 5/ Who loses his wife, neglects his daughter, and goes bankrupt, but ends his life a man "whose face bears heavy marks of care and suffering; but they are traces of a storm that has passed on for ever, and left a clear evening in its track".

a) Wackford Squeers in Nicholas Nickleby b) Uriah Heep in David Copperfield c) Paul Dombey in Dombey and Son 6/ In Little Dorrit, what does the inscription DNF in the watch given to Arthur Clennam by his father stand for? a) Desire Never Fades b) Do Not Forget c) Ducks Need Feeding 7/ Which book was inspired by Dickens's first visit to America in 1842? a) Martin Chuzzlewit b) Our Mutual Friend c) The Chimes DICKENS'S LIFE 8/ Dickens was born in 1812. What do his middle initials, JH, stand for? a) Joshua Hercules b) John Huffam c) John Hancock 9/ In his early teens, Dickens wrote to a schoolmate at Wellington House school on Hampstead Road that he was "quite ashamed I have not returned your Leg". To what was he referring? a) a haunch of mutton b) an invalid's crutch c) a Latin primer 10/ How old was Dickens when he first became a court reporter? a) 15 b) 16 c) 18 11/ What event in 1837 caused Dickens to cancel instalments of The Pickwick Papers and Oliver Twist? a) The death of his wife's sister Mary, whom he adored b) The death of King William IV and the succession of Queen Victoria c) The Staplehurst rail crash -- the Dickens's carriage was the only one not to be derailed 12/ For whom did Dickens leave his wife Catherine Thomson Hogarth? a) Ellen Terry b) Ellen Ternan c) Ellen Ripley 13/ Which of these associations did Dickens belong to? a) The Hellfire Club b) The Bullingdon Club c) The Ghost Club 14/ According to his obituary in The Times, Dickens's last words were: a) "More light!" b) "Be natural, my children. For the writer that is natural has fulfilled all the rules of art. …

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