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Our mutual friend

In February Dickens will turn 200. A tidal wave of celebrations approaches. But the fuss is justified—he is second only to Shakespeare in our literary heritage

By David Lodge   December 2011

Celebration of the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’s birth, which will fall on 7th February 2012, began prematurely this autumn with the publication and associated media coverage of new biographies by Claire Tomalin, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst and Dickens’s great-great-great granddaughter Lucinda Hawksley. The Guardian started the ball rolling with an extract from Tomalin’s book and a clutch of well-known writers choosing their favourite Dickens novels, and next day the Observer gave its readers a free wallchart of his characters and invited them to download a “Dickens walk podcast through London’s Clerkenwell.” This was only a foretaste of what awaits us. A…

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