Britain marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles DickensLONDON - Britain on Tuesday marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens, acclaimed as one of the finest writers of the English language and one whose novels have become enduring classics.
Events will take place around the country to mark the bicentenary, including a street party in the city of Portsmouth, on the southeast English coast, where he was born on Feb. 7, 1812.
Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, and actor Ralph Fiennes will be among guests at the laying of a wreath at Westminster Abbey in London to mark the occasion.
Dickens’ books remain cornerstones of English literature, and the latest film version of one of his greatest novels, “Great Expectations,” starring Fiennes and Helena Bonham-Carter, is currently in production.
Claire Romalin, a leading biographer of the author, says there is no one to compare with Dickens today.
“He had extraordinary energy, and he was extraordinarily hard-working. His first three novels - ‘The Pickwick Papers’, ‘Oliver Twist’ and ‘Nicholas Nickleby’ - came out in monthly installments,” she told AFP.
“He was a writer of genius. After Shakespeare, he was the greatest inventor of character.”
Dickens had a less-publicized life, helping to run and to finance a house for “fallen women,” offering prostitutes a new start away from their old lives in a large house in London.