If you hadn’t noticed, next year is Charles Dickens’s 200th birthday and London’s favourite author is set to get as much attention as he did when he was a globetrotting celeb lecturer and public speaker. In preparation – and because the author ‘owns’ Christmas even more than M&S – two great exhibitions are already open. The Museum of London’s ‘Dickens and London’ features fabulous photos and key paintings, clothes and costumes, prized objects and rarely seen manuscripts, as well as an audio-visual experience inspired by Robert William Buss’s famous painting ‘Dickens’ Dream’ and a specially commissioned film by acclaimed documentary filmmaker William Raban (to June 10 2012).
Meanwhile, The British Library’s new show is called ‘A Hankering after Ghosts: Charles Dickens and the Supernatural’, and focuses on the ways in which the author used supernatural phenomena in his works while analysing his interest in ‘mesmerism’ aka animal magnetism (all the rage in Victorian England), science and psychology (to March 4 2012).
To celebrate the bicentennial, this week Time Out magazine is a Dicken’s special. Plus we have teamed up with Penguin Classics to offer readers the chance to win a boxed set of ‘The Great Novels of Charles Dickens’, containing handsome classic black editions of ‘Great Expectations’, ‘Oliver Twist’, ‘Bleak House’, ‘Hard Times’, ‘Little Dorritt’, ‘The Pickwick Papers’, ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ and ‘David Copperfield’.
To be in with a chance of winning, follow us at @TimeOutBooks and tweet your favourite opening line from any Dickens novel with the hashtag #Dickintro. We’ll choose one the winner at random this Friday.