Tag: Charles Dickens

Reading Charles Dickens in Nigeria

George Packer argues in Lapham’s Quarterly that the great novels of the late Victorian years resonate more powerfully in today’s Rangoon, or Lagos, or Mombasa, than in the Western countries that spawned them. Here’s Packer:

The concerns of that literature—the individual caught in an encompassing social web, the sensitive young mind trapped inside an indifferent world, the beguiling journey from countryside to metropolis, the dismal inventiveness with which people survive, the permanent gap between imagination and opportunity, the big families whose problems are lived out in the street, the tragic pregnancies, the ubiquity of corruption, the earnest efforts at self-education, the preciousness of books, the squalid factories and debtor’s prisons, the valuable garbage, the complex rules of patronage and extortion, the sudden turns of fortune, the sidewalk con men and legless beggars, the slum as theater of the grotesque: long after these things dropped out of Western literature, they became the stuff of ordinary life elsewhere, in places where modernity is arriving but hasn’t begun to solve the problems of people thrown together in the urban cauldron.

(Via The Book Bench)


Charles Dickens: The First Great Travel Writer?

Frank Bures digs into the legendary author's travel writing and finds some surprises

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The Three Literary Capitals of the World?

Conde Nast Traveler has chosen Berlin, Dublin and Boston as its three best cities for bookworms. They’re all worthy choices, but still, I have to ask: Was this list originally titled, “Three Best Cities for Bookworms, Not Counting Paris and London”?

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