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Charles Dickens: Celebrity Author

Updated Thursday, 25th January 2018

Over 200 years since he was born Charles Dickens remains a literary icon. In fact, he was one of the first superstars - discover how he cultivated his work into a cult of personality.

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.

Tracks in this podcast:

Track   Title Description
1 The First Public Reading 1853   How Dickens started his reading career with A Christmas Carol - a reading he did for charity - in Birmingham Town Hall. Read moreThe First Public Reading 1853
2 Dickens The Performer   Dickens first love wasn't writing, it was acting. In this programme we look at Dickens love of acting and the theatre. Read moreDickens The Performer
3 From Novels to Readings 1858   How Dickens began his professional career reading for his own profit initiating a new and brilliant phase in his career. Read moreFrom Novels to Readings 1858
4 The American Tour   We look at how in 1867 Charles Dickens embarked on an exhausting 19 week tour of America as one of the world's first 'celebrity authors'. Read moreThe American Tour
5 The Farewell Tour   In October 1868 Charles Dickens farewell tour began but had to be cut short on account of his failing health. Read moreThe Farewell Tour

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