The Life and Works of Charles Dickens, Series Two: Social Critic

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The Life and Works of Charles Dickens with Henry Eliot, Series Two: Social Critic

In which Mr Henry Eliot presents the second act in the prodigious career of the author Charles Dickens, introducing his novels, his travels and his broadside attacks on Victorian society

Join Penguin Classics editor Henry Eliot on a complete and comprehensive journey through the prolific life and spectacular works of the novelist Charles Dickens.

Dickens, the ‘inimitable Boz’, was a phenomenon. By the age of thirty he was the most famous author in the world. He was a prodigious journalist and magazine editor, he wrote, produced and starred in plays, he supported charities, campaigned for social justice and he toured the world, performing extracts from his fifteen full-length novels, all of which were record-beating bestsellers.

From the first sketch that Dickens submitted in 1833 to the experimental novel he was writing when he died in 1870, we explore the breadth and depth of his literary achievement, discussing his greatest characters, his most memorable scenes, his mastery of technique and the best TV and film adaptations. We chart his meteoric rise from debtor’s son to international celebrity and discuss the shocking upheavals in his personal life.

Henry Eliot looks at each of Dickens’s major works in turn, over the course of three lecture series: Young Celebrity, Social Critic and Dark Genius.

Watch Series One here. Series Three will be released in November. Each series consists of six video lessons with notes. The full price of each Series is £42. Remember Idler Academy subscribers get unlimited access to these and over 55 other Idler courses so if you are interested in the Dickens Series you may well consider this option.

Course Outline

This course consists of six illustrated video lessons. It also includes handy PDF notes, further reading, audio files, a quiz, a certificate of completion and access to the community forum.

Chapter One: Martin Chuzzlewit (1842-44)
In which Mr Dickens travels to America and causes consternation.

Chapter Two: A Christmas Carol (1843)
In which Mr Dickens strikes a sledgehammer blow.

Chapter Three: Dombey and Son (1844-45)
In which Mr Dickens reveals the perils of overweening pride.

Chapter Four: David Copperfield (1849-50)
In which Mr Dickens revisits his childhood.

Chapter Five: Bleak House (1852-53)
In which Mr Dickens furnishes his readers with two narrators and a mystery.

Chapter Six: Hard Times (1854)
In which Mr Dickens champions the industrial working class.

“I have watched all six chapters and anxiously await the next six! Henry is just such good company.” Idler editor Tom Hodgkinson.

About the tutor

Henry Eliot has led guided walks through London for Google, the National Trust, the City of London, City Lit and the cheese shop in Leadenhall Market. He is the Creative Editor of Penguin Classics and the author of The Penguin Classics BookFollow This Thread and, with Matt Lloyd-Rose, Curiocity: An Alternative A-Z of London, which Philip Pullman described as the “most ingenious, insightful, inspiring, intoxicating, and simply interesting guide to the great city that I have ever seen”.