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What The Dickens?! February 8, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in People, Poetry, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
56 comments

Yesterday, Charles Dickens celebrated his 200th birthday . . . in a manner of speaking. 

He didn’t get to wear a party hat, blow out the candles on his cake, or engage in any other memory-making moments.

Like Marley, he’s dead as a door nail.

He’s been a “has been” for more than 100 years.

But we celebrated for him . . . some of us, anyway.

I celebrated his birth by watching a movie about another famous English author . . . William Shakespeare.

The movie, Anonymous, questions whether the Bard wrote the plays, poems, and sonnets which bear his name. 

Or, whether, like his father before him, he remained largely illiterate, unable to put quill to parchment to record his thoughts for posterity:

Who was Shakespeare? This Elizabethan drama imagines that the man we call the Bard really didn’t pen his body of timeless plays. The stages of London erupt in intrigue as the real author of the classics credited to Shakespeare comes to light.

What an intriguing proposition!

Imagine achieving literary posterity for hundreds of years without writing any of the words attributed to you.

It boggles the mind.

Maybe Mozart didn’t compose musical masterpieces.  Maybe Michelangelo didn’t coax David from the stone.  Maybe Dickens didn’t conjure up the ghost of Jacob Marley. 

Maybe, in the end, we are all destined to be . . . Anonymous.

What say you?

Related reading:  Who Wrote Shakespeare? (USA Today) * Charles Dickens at 200 ~ Still the Great British Idol (USA Today) * Two Journeymen ~ A Gruff Nod to Dickens (Kate Shrewsday)