Today, we have been repeatedly told by the media, commemorates the two hundredth year since the birth of Charles Dickens. I find myself saying,"So?" Why is there such a fuss about a man who made his living by writing story books? Dickens was obsessed with two things, one was his 'suffering' as a child and the other was the theatre. Put together he produced books which told stories that adapt easily for the stage or screen and are filled with pathos, often concerning small boys and their suffering. I give you that he could write well when he wished, his first chapter of 'Bleak House,' is a marvel and makes the reader imagine he is struggling up and down the slopes of Holborn. The third chapter takes the reader into a slum dwelling and fills the mind with a very real picture of the dingy dwelling. The book gets thrown away by the reader who finds the intervening chapters more slushy than the streets of Moscow during a thaw!
Why is he so revered? Possibly because his books have been turned into television and film events more than his actual writing. Possibly because once a book becomes a 'must read' it is forced upon the world even by those who have never read any of them. Other authors have more depth, more interesting tales, yet remain less popular. I am surprised by the amount of praise Dickens receives when had he published such works today the PC lobby would have the social services on him, the police would be removing his laptop and the media would be crucifying him as a danger to children.
It's a funny old world saint!