This page was published over 10 years ago.
Please be aware that due to the passage of time, the information provided on this page may be out of date or otherwise inaccurate,
and any views or opinions expressed may no longer be relevant. Some technical elements such as audio-visual and
interactive media may no longer work. For more detail, see how we deal with older content.
Charles Dickens was not only the most famous writer of his day, but, during the second half of his career, also a prominent public figure known through his readings and speeches. He cultivated, and relished, a close relationship with the vast audiences who came to hear him, in towns and cities throughout Britain, and in the USA. His readings appealed to his own deep instinct in support of the development of the imagination of the people, and also acknowledged the common Victorian pastime of domestic literary recitation. As an actor he took on the visage and gestures as well as the voice of his characters; audiences were spellbound.