Sunday, April 19, 2009


So far this year, most of my "fun" reading has been devoted to Dickens. My seminar series on the novels of Charles Dickens started at the Newberry Library last month, wherein we are once again reading The Pickwick Papers and Oliver Twist. But this time around, it's more than merely reading the novels and keeping up with my students.

As I read the novels this time, I find myself fascinated by the circumstances under which each novel was written, and the publishing history behind each novel. Doing research for my lessons on The Pickwick Papers, for example, I stumbled onto some interesting information on how the serial was marketed back in 1837-38 and how advertizing was done, leading me to explore some early examples of what today we'd call "product placement" in the monthly installments of the novel. And while reading up on the New Poor Laws of 1834 as I prepared notes on Oliver Twist, some of the nuances of English law and economics became the subject of further research!

Yeah ... I'm geeking out on Dickens these days. : )