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Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. 

After a hiatus of two years, we are very happy to announce that Dickens Day is returning in 2022. Accordingly, the topic for this year’s conference is ‘Beginning Dickens’, as we take this moment to resume our discussion of Dickens and his works and begin again. 

Publishing his novels in serial instalments meant that Dickens had to think carefully about the openings of his works to ensure readers were suitably intrigued and invested to buy the next instalment. As Dickens developed as a writer, so he began to plan his novels in advance; his early works therefore can offer a stark contrast between how a story starts and how it ends, while his later works can be analysed for any early warnings or foreshadowing of later plot developments.

Equally, there is also opportunity here to consider how we, as readers, begin Dickens. Such is the author’s fame that his reputation always precedes him, so what does it mean for a modern reader to experience Dickens for the first time today? Do we encounter him through adaptations first, before turning to the original? How does Dickens match our expectations? And how do we encourage new readers to begin Dickens?

Finally, there is the consideration of Dickens’s own life. How did he begin his life and career; and how did he embrace or encourage new beginnings and reinventions through his life? 

Draft programme

Tickets:
Standard: £30
Student and unwaged: £15

Tea and coffee breaks will be provided.