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 8 May 2023||David Copperfield|
|9-22 May 2023||BREAK||Group watch of an adaptation of Copperfield?|
|23 May to 26 June 2023||Bleak House|
|27 June to 10 July 2023||BREAK||Group watch of an adaptation of Bleak House, e.g. the 2005 BBC miniseries.|
|11-31 July 2023||Hard Times|
|1-14 August 2023||BREAK|
|15 Aug to 18 Sept 2023||Little Dorrit|
|19 Sept to 2 Oct 2023||BREAK||Group watch of an adaptation of Little Dorrit–e.g. the 2008, and/or the 1987.|
|3-30 Oct 2023||A Tale of Two Cities|
|31 Oct to 13 Nov 2023||BREAK||Possible group watch of one of the many adaptations of A Tale of Two Cities? E.g. Dirk Bogarde, Ronald Colman, or James Wilby.|
|14 Nov to 18 Dec 2023||Great Expectations|
|19 Dec 2023 to 1 Jan 2024||BREAK||Group watch of one of the (many!) adaptations, e.g. David Lean’s 1946 version?|
|2-29 Jan 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!|
|30 Jan to 4 Mar 2024||Our Mutual Friend|
|5-18 Mar 2024||BREAK||Group watch of the 1998 BBC miniseries?|
|In 2 parts: 19 Mar to 8 April (reading); 9-29 April 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.)|
|Final Wrap-Up Month of 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! 😊|