200 years of the Dickens

Alex Myers Contributor
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Literary genius Charles Dickens is being celebrated Tuesday in honor of his 200th birthday.

Author of 15 novels and the inspiration for many film, TV and stage performances, Dickens is considered one of the greatest authors of the Victorian period.

Dickens had his own rags-to-riches story, growing up working at a factory while his father was in debtors prison. He started writing short stories when he was 21, and at 31 he wrote the famous play “A Christmas Carol.”

The popular story is performed annually around the Christmas holiday and has been made into many different adaptations, from an animated film to a spoof of the original called “Scrooged,” starring Bill Murray.

From there, Dickens wrote many famous novels, including “Oliver Twist,” which was made into a musical. The musical premiered in London’s West End in 1960 and in 1963 was performed on Broadway. By 1968, the musical-turned-film won an Oscar for best picture.

His novel, “The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby,” was transformed into an eight-hour stage play in 1980. Roger Rees played the title role and eventually won a Tony Award for his performance.

Dickens wrote many other classic tales in his lifetime, including “A Tale of Two Cities,” “Great Expectations” and “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.”

Just shy of completing “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” Dickens suffered a stroke at his home and died on June 9, 1870. He was laid to rest in the Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey.

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Alex Myers