Dickens and the Serial Reader

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Oct 05, 2010
from 05:30 PM to 07:00 PM


Special Collections Room in the David Wilson Library, University of Leicester

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SERIAL Readers: Dickens and the Victorian Soap Opera? explores a Victorian experience of reading. Novels like Dickens’ Oliver Twist and Bleak House first appeared in monthly (or sometimes weekly) instalments, published either as individual parts or in magazines. This produced a dramatically different experience of reading to that which we’re familiar with today.

There are stories of American readers crowding the dock as the shipment of the final part of the Old Curiosity Shop arrived in Boston, desperate to know if Little Nell lived or died, and accounts of families and societies gathering together for a collective reading of the next part of Oliver Twist. This event offers an overview of Victorian serial publishing by staff at the School of English at University of Leicester, and asks whether serial parts, complete with starring characters, suspense and cliff hangers, anticipated the experience of modern soap opera.

There will be a chance to look at the rare material in the University Library’s special collection comparing a bound first edition to the original serial parts. There will also be an opportunity for a hands-on encounter with some of Dickens’ possessions, and some original Dickens manuscripts, loaned by the Charles Dickens Museum. The free event is on Tuesday, October 5, at 5.30pm at the Special Collections Room at the University of Leicester Library.

The event is free but you need to reserve a place in advance. For more information and to book please email Holly Furneaux: hf35@le.ac.uk

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