Thursday, 26 April 2012

Dickens and London

Rather belatedly but rewardingly to this year's Dickens exhibition at the Museum of London  as it is a very thoughtful historical evocation of the city that shaped Dickens and if not shaped by was certainly viewed and interpreted through his fiction  - and through his journalism, which the novels largely eclipsed. In the display  Dickens indeed acts as a linking thread to a range of 19th century materials from theatrical shows to funerals, from orphanage tickets to telegraph maps, all and more glimpses and tastes of the metropolis in its teeming, crowded, working aspects (not much here about West End or Court life).

 Many artists aimed to depict characteristic London streeet scenes, from comic prints of eccentric figures to crowds in railway stations and pleasure gardens, including Hicks's General Post Office: One Minute to Six. Not ignoring Whistler's masterly Wapping etchings, or Fildes's famous Houseless and Hungry, queuing on a sleety night for a bedspace in a doss-house, which made such an impact when published in The Graphic.   It is teamed here with a film created by William Raban, which observes the overnight life of today's houseless Londoners, in their cardboard bivouacs, and whose soundtrack is accompanied by a reading from Dickens' essay on his insomniac Night Walks, which told him and his readers so much about the city's poor.
 More pictures from the exhibition here

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