Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Charles Dickens Museum, Vol. II


Precisely two millennia ago, or so it seems, I posted the first of a two-part series chronicling my visit to the Charles Dickens Museum on Doughty Street. Since my Achilles' Heel is procrastination, the concluding post is only now just arriving. Tut, tut.

As someone whose passion for books is, ironically, beyond words, visiting a site of literary significance is such a special time for me. They are my Mecca. Moving about the intimate spaces where beloved authors lived and wrote is a transcendent experience. I often imagine that the ghost of the writer in question lingers behind, looking upon the visitors whose lives he has touched with his words. 

What would Dickens think of the fuss made over him today? Considering he was well known and popular during the Victorian period, part of me thinks he'd be used to the attention. The other part can't help but feel that even Charlie D. would be amazed at the growth and endurance of his authorial celebrity. Would he feel mortified knowing strangers were looking over his commode and other personal belongings? I would!

Here's a glimpse of my time spent exploring Dickens's home on 48 Doughty Street. Located in the lovely Bloomsbury neighborhood in London, the museum warrants a visit from any Dickensian fanatic...

Here I am, in Charlie D's foyer
A Christmas garland festoons the banister
Personal letters line the hall
I believe this one was sent to Dickens's illustrator George Cruikshank
A collection of author photographs
The drawing room was decorated for Christmas, Victorian style
I'm digging the furniture, but what's up with the creepy mask?
I love the Victorian Christmas crackers
Mr and Mrs Fezziwig from A Christmas Carol
Painted by Dickens's daughter Katey, born at this house
Special exhibit on Dickens as an orator
His personal reading copy of Sikes and Nancy
Notes added for emphasis (and when Dickens expects a laugh?)
Oliver! exhibit
Nancy's costume from the musical production
Commode owned by the family
where Dickens presumably sat his royal bottom
The table which saw Dickens's last written words
Priceless!
My favourite item in the giftshop: Charles Dickens Action Figure
Complete with quill pen and removable hat!
Saying farewell...
The view from Doughty Street

Ah, what a fantastic visit. I look forward to stopping by again in the future!

P.S. Vol. I of my Charles Dickens experience.

9 comments:

Ashley said...

Someday I shall enlist you as my personal tour guide!

JoAnn said...

This will definitely be a stop on my 'literary pilgrimage reward' for The Classics Club!

Diana said...

Ash: I would be most happy to accommodate such a request at any time. When a friend's in need, I help out. ;)

Diana said...

JoAnn: I think you would love it! What other sites are you planning to visit for your reward? (Best reward ever, by the way.)

amanda @ simplerpastimes said...

How neat! I confess, I have a weakness for old buildings in general, and when they're all decorated as they were then, all the better. I think it would be terribly fun to visit the Dickens museum at Christmas.

Diana said...

Amanda: I definitely have a weakness for old buildings as well. That's one of the reasons I love Europe so much: you can see the history all around you just by looking at the architecture.

Cassandra said...

A visit to the Dickens museum is certainly the number one goal on my bucket list! But I guess it will still have to wait a little because firstly I will have to strengthen my mind until then, so as to not break down and cry for joy and secondly I WANT TO VISIT IT AT CHRISTMAS TIME TOO!
How fantastic is Victorian Christmas decoration?! And Dickens IS Christmas anyway, I won't argue about that.

Diana said...

Cassandra: There's nothing wrong with crying for joy at a site of literary significance. Granted, it's never happened to me, but I've come very close to bursting into tears on more than one occasion. :)

Visiting the museum at Christmas was a pure treat. I'm sure you'll enjoy it when you go!

His Little Lady said...

oh wow, how incredible! and i love that it is decorated for christmas. all of the furniture is definitely incredible!
xo TJ