“Like many fond parents, I have in my heart of hearts a favorite child. And his name is David Copperfield.” –Charles Dickens
Dickens published David Copperfield during 1849-1850, during the height of his creative powers, a place that many critics say he held until his death in 1870. During our six weeks together we will, along with David on his tragicomic journey to adulthood, encounter some of Dickens’s most unforgettable characters—cruel stepfather Edward Murdstone; curmudgeonly Aunt Betsey Trotwood; handsome and dangerous James Steerforth; unctuous Uriah Heep (”the creepiest figure in English literature”*) and the character many consider Dickens’s finest comic achievement—eternal optimist Wilkins Macawber (famously if idiosyncratically portrayed by W. C. Fields in the 1935 movie). David Copperfield was “Freud’s favorite novel, which says as much about the book as it does about Freud.”* Besides giving David experiences drawn from Dickens’s own life (events that he kept from his own family until after his death), Dickens relates a tale filled with births, deaths, marriages, tragedies, triumphs, kites, oysters, a brutal storm at sea, and—donkeys!
*quotes from The Friendly Dickens, by Norrie Epstein
Guide: Christopher Lord is a life-long Dickens lover, and the author of The Dickens Junction mystery series. Look for his next novel, The Our Mutual Friend Murders, in fall 2015 or spring 2016. Lord has guided previous Delves on Dickens and detective fiction, and is the past recipient of a Literary Arts fellowship.