Wherein we propose an amended schedule to accommodate a break in-between most reads of our Dickens Club, based on the group’s vote.
Friends and fellow Dickensians, based on our vote about the pacing of the Club, we have an amended schedule to share! For those new to the site, if you’d like to see the original post and schedule, it can be found here.
The new schedule will extend our total reading time by about four months, and our total reading-and-discussion time by about five months. This is owing to the proposal of May 2024 as an additional month beyond our reading of Dickens’ final, unfinished novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and our discussion on the various solutions and resolutions to that novel over the years–and there have been many, it’s an epic detective story unto itself!–in order to provide a space to share closing thoughts, comments, or even separate posts/papers (for those inclined) to discuss their overall experience of reading the Dickens canon over the course of 28 months.
Most of the novels are allotted four weeks or more. Individual “Christmas Books” are each given a week. Where there are “optional” works (e.g. Master Humphrey’s Clock, The Uncommercial Traveller, Pictures from Italy, etc), or where there’s a sequence of shorter works, we’ve waited on a break until after the following novel, or after the sequence.
Please share your thoughts in the comments below, as it is never too late to alter!
Finally, just a little reminder: please feel free at ANY TIME to contact Rach or Boze (or via the Contact Form) with questions/suggestions, OR to submit a more topical, special-interest post on any of our reads! Rachel can be emailed at this link. Again, there have been many, many comments in our rich discussions that could have been entirely separate posts with their own discussions. You don’t have to be web-savvy: we’ll take care of the formatting for you, adding pictures as needed, etc. Just send us your word document file of choice!
So, without further ado, here is our amended reading schedule for 2022-24:
|4 Jan to 28 Feb 2022||Sketches by Boz||This is one Sketch per day (56 Sketches).|
|1 Mar to 9 April, 2022||The Pickwick Papers|
|10 April to 16 May 2022||Oliver Twist|
|17-30 May 2022||BREAK|
|31 May to 4 July 2022||Nicholas Nickleby|
|5-18 July 2022||BREAK||Possible group watch of the filmed RSC stage production of Nickleby with Roger Rees, Edward Petherbridge, David Threlfall, etc. Also, if you’re joining in the optional week of reading Master Humphrey’s Clock, it might be a good time to get a start on it!|
|19-25 July 2022||OPTIONAL: Master Humphrey’s Clock||Master Humphrey was a kind of narrative device or “frame” for The Old Curiosity Shop until Dickens decided that the latter should stand alone as a novel. Or feel free to just jump straight into TOCS, since Humphrey might be considered a minor work, or supplement. This will be read together with The Old Curiosity Shop, without a scheduled break between. For those doing it, this will be an intense reading chunk this week.|
|26 July to 22 August 2022||The Old Curiosity Shop|
|23 Aug to 5 Sept 2022||BREAK|
|6 Sept to 3 Oct 2022||Barnaby Rudge|
|4-17 October 2022||BREAK|
|18 Oct to 7 Nov 2022||OPTIONAL: American Notes||For those interested, Dickens’ American Notes will be a fantastic “Preface” to our reading of Martin Chuzzlewit! Or, you can just dive right in to start reading the latter…|
|8 Nov to 5 Dec 2022||Martin Chuzzlewit|
|6-19 December 2022||BREAK*||Note: This will be our final break before our little marathon of “Christmas Books” and Pictures from Italy.|
|20-26 Dec 2022||A Christmas Carol||This is the beginning of our sequence of Christmas Books and Pictures from Italy. As reluctant as we were to break up the sequence of Christmas Books with Pictures and Dombey, it was between that or going out of chronological order.|
|27 Dec 2022-2 Jan 2023||The Chimes|
|3-9 Jan 2023||The Cricket on the Hearth|
|10-30 Jan 2023||OPTIONAL: Pictures from Italy||Since we won’t have a break until after this sequence, Pictures from Italy is an optional work and can be used as an additional break, or to catch up. I really hope Dr. Pete Orford’s new edition for OUP is out by this time!|
|31 Jan to 6 Feb 2023||The Battle of Life|
|7-20 Feb 2023||BREAK||And Happy Birthday, Boz!|
|21 Feb to 20 March 2023||Dombey and Son|
|21 Mar to 3 April 2023||BREAK|
|4-10 April 2023||The Haunted Man||No break between this and Copperfield, as it is a shorter work (his fifth and last Christmas Book).|
|11 April to 22 May 2023||David Copperfield||Giving a trial run to Option #1 of our scheduling poll – so, a 6-week format.|
|23 May to 5 June 2023||BREAK||Group watch of an adaptation of Copperfield?|
|6 June to 7 Aug 2023||Bleak House||Giving a trial run to the Option 2/3 of our scheduling poll, with a full 8 weeks for this read, and wrap-ups every 2 weeks. NOTE: There will be an additional week during our last quarter of the novel, to allow room for anyone from our Club who might be attending the Dickens Universe, in person or online.|
|8-21 Aug 2023||BREAK||Zoom meet re: Bleak House. Group watch of an adaptation of Bleak House, e.g. the 2005 BBC miniseries?|
|22 Aug 2023 to 2 Oct 2023||Hard Times|
|3-16 Oct 2023||BREAK||Zoom meet re: Hard Times.|
After the break (aside from the Intro date for Little Dorrit), the schedule is “TBD” because we will be doing a check-in to see how the members wish to proceed with time allotted for reading/discussion.
|17 October to TBD 2023||Little Dorrit|
|TBD||BREAK||Zoom meet re: Little Dorrit. Group watch of an adaptation of Little Dorrit–e.g. the 2008, and/or the 1987.|
|TBD||A Tale of Two Cities|
|TBD||BREAK||Zoom meet re: A Tale of Two Cities. Possible group watch of one of the many adaptations of A Tale of Two Cities? E.g. Dirk Bogarde, Ronald Colman, or James Wilby.|
|TBD 2024||Great Expectations|
|TBD 2024||BREAK||Zoom meet re: Great Expectations. Group watch of one of the (many!) adaptations, e.g. David Lean’s 1946 version?|
|TBD 2024||OPTIONAL: The Uncommercial Traveller||It was challenging to figure out where to fit this in—before or after Great Expectations, since the first of the essays was published earlier—but the first collection of Uncommercial Traveller essays came just after (15 Dec). For those who’d just like to stick to the novels, here’s an extra opportunity for a New Year’s break!|
|TBD 2024||Our Mutual Friend|
|TBD 2024||BREAK||Zoom meet re: Our Mutual Friend – possible chat about The Uncommercial Traveller. Group watch of the 1998 BBC miniseries?|
|In 2 parts: TBD 2024 (reading); TBD 2024 (background reading and discussion)||The Mystery of Edwin Drood (unfinished)||Dickens’ last (and unfinished) work is shorter, so we’ve scheduled it for 3 weeks (19 March to 8 April). However, an optional additional three weeks are put in here for background reading, and/or writing at more length about various theories and “solutions” to the mystery over the years, and the curiosity that is Droodism. Some might be interested in reading or rereading Dr. Pete Orford’s marvelous book here! (And there’s no reason why it can’t extend beyond, as needed.)|
TBD 2024 2024
|Final Wrap-Up Month of the Dickens Chronological Reading Club||Zoom meet re: The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and the whole experience with The Dickens Chronological Reading Club. This final month, Month 29, is a kind of “Afterword”; a chance to write our closing thoughts on this marvelous journey of our 28 months of reading Dickens in chronological order. (And to continue discussing Drood, if needed!) For those interested, maybe we’ll do what the academic conferences do and put out a CALL FOR PAPERS! 😊|
“Men who look on nature, and their fellow-men, and cry that all is dark and gloomy, are in the right; but the somber colors are reflections from their own jaundiced eyes and hearts. The real hues are delicate, and need a clearer vision.”
– Narrator, Chapter 24.
Thanks much, Dickensian Wren, for all of your great work on this chronology of readings and breaks!
Thanks to you, Boze, for all that you are doing.
Your efforts to guide us through the wonderful works of the inimitable Dickens are giving us “a clearer vision” of his world and ours!
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Yay! Thank you so much…it’s truly a communal effort, and everyone’s contributions have made this, as you say, really a “Masterclass” in Dickens! I am so excited to see where things go, especially with a little extra time to formulate topical posts in-between the readings!
I hope everyone likes the idea of the schedule changes…we can easily make some adjustments without doing a whole big announcement (just updates in our weekly “General Mems”), so feel free to toss out ideas!
I have a feeling that our first break will be a quiet one, for several reasons: we’ve only just recently voted on the schedule change, and haven’t had time to sort out any group viewings of an adaptation, etc. But I have a feeling that after this one, the “breaks” will actually be filled with lots of discussion! For myself, as Oliver is not a favorite of mine, I didn’t have any plans for a topical post, unless it is perhaps to continue to delve into the theme of Memory with reference especially to Ackroyd. But we shall see. I confess, I’m already starting Nickleby, as I’m too excited to wait!!! And I WILL have some special topical interests to post about there…probably primarily about the theatre/melodrama in Dickens.
One other note: since this whole site has gone away from the personal bookish blog to a communal Dickens blog, we’re slowly making a separate page for our hosts and authors and contributors…a kind of core company/dramatis personae 😁 of our little Dickens group. If you want to send me a little one- or two-liner biography and a chosen picture (be it your current avatar, or a picture of your favorite Dickens character, or one of your wonderful self!) please send it to my main email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Bonus points if you figure out who the “little seamstress” refers to…!) 🙂
Okay, enough whimsy & updates for now…off to work. Have a marvelous weekend, fellow Dickensians! 🖤🎩
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I love that we’ve both discreetly raced ahead to Nicholas Nickleby… Oliver is iconic in its own way but when I read a Dickens novel I want the full Dickens experience – sprawling cast and a plot with wheels within wheels engagingly turning – and Nicholas, like David and Little Dorrit and Bleak House &c, has that in abundance. Our little group has managed to squeeze some really lovely discussions out of Oliver, which surprised me, but there will be so much more to pore over and ponder when we get to Nicholas.
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