The Life and Works of Charles Dickens, Series Three: Dark Genius

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The Life and Works of Charles Dickens with Henry Eliot, Series Three: Dark Genius

In which Mr Henry Eliot explores the great late masterpieces of Charles Dickens, describing how his personal relationships affected the tone and colour of these final works of fiction

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 here in Series Three – Dark Genius.

The full price of each Series is £42. Remember Idler Academy subscribers get unlimited access to these and all 60+ Idler Academy online courses so if you are interested in the Dickens Series you may well consider this option. Find out what you get in the Idler Academy here.

All members of this course will be invited to Meet the Tutor on Friday 20th November 2020 at 2pm, for a live Q&A session on Zoom.

Course Outline

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

Chapter One: Little Dorrit (1855-57)
In which Mr Charles Dickens unlocks the Marshalsea.

Chapter Two: A Tale of Two Cities (1858-59)
In which Mr Charles Dickens splits his own personality.

Chapter Three: Great Expectations (1860-61)
In which Mr Charles Dickens writes a gothic fairy tale.

Chapter Four: Our Mutual Friend (1864-65)
In which Mr Charles Dickens digs through a dust heap.

Chapter Five: The Signal-Man (1866)
In which Mr Charles Dickens sends a shiver down your spine.

Chapter Six: The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1870)
In which Mr Charles Dickens leaves behind a final mystery.

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”.