The Life and Works of Charles Dickens, Series One: Young Celebrity

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The Life and Works of Charles Dickens with Henry Eliot, Series One: Young Celebrity

In which Mr Henry Eliot raises the curtain on the early career of the inimitable novelist Charles Dickens, describing his first literary adventures and his meteoric rise to celebrity

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.

Series Two will be released in October, and Series Three in November. Each series consists of six illustrated video lessons with notes and audio files. 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 video lessons. It also includes handy PDF notes, further reading, a quiz, a certificate of completion and access to the community forum.

Chapter One, Sketches by Boz (1836)
In which a young writer has his first story published.

Chapter Two, The Pickwick Papers (1836-37)
In which Boz tries his hand at a novel, the success of which exceeds all expectations.

Chapter Three, Oliver Twist (1837-39)
In which the Inimitable Boz confounds his public, by exposing them to criminals.

Chapter Four, Nicholas Nickleby (1838-39)
In which Boz takes aim at Yorkshire schoolmasters.

Chapter Five, The Old Curiosity Shop (1840-41)
In which Boz wanders into sentimentality.

Chapter Six, Barnaby Rudge (1841)
In which Boz makes his first essay in historical fiction, with startling results.

“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”.