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Guess whose unbirthday it ISN'T?

I was alerted by Amanda via twitter that Dickens's birthday. No, I wasn't aware. I had zero idea, in fact. Was not expecting it. BUT HERE IS HIS HASTILY COBBLED TOGETHER BIRTHDAY POST.

"I may have been an asshole to my wife,
but I still deserve a birthday hat."

Yes, Dickens, shining light of the Victorian age, second only to Shakespeare in the English canon, general misogynist but getting-better-at-the-end-of-your-life, consider yourself saluted this day of days. You who gave us Bleak House but also Great Expectations, Pickwick Papers but also Barnaby Rudge, the best parts of Our Mutual Friend but also the worst parts of Our Mutual Friend, has anyone come close to you in the last hundred and forty years? Well, maybe J.K. Rowling. BUT NO ONE ELSE.

People are going to celebrate this different ways, but I'm going to name some characters of his I love with an irrational love that would make me punch people who disagree with me:

Lady Dedlock, Bleak House. I hated Dickens when I was 18, and when I found out I had to read a giant book of his called Bleak House, I despaired in an overwrought 18-year-old way. But then I read it and discovered it's basically the greatest ever. Lady Dedlock is the first Dickensian character I loved. She's multi-layered and psychologically fascinating and her husband is tragically and adorably devoted to her. I want to hug Sir Leicester a million times.

Richard Swiveller, The Old Curiosity Shop. Dickens, you are so great. SO great. Richard Swiveller starts out as a seemingly ancillary character, stuck in for comic relief. He becomes...oh, I cannot even. I love Richard Swiveller. I LOVE HIM SO MUCH.

Nancy, Oliver Twist. I should probably re-read Oliver Twist. It might not suck as much as I remember. Nancy, however, is amazing. In a world of strictly Good and Bad, she hovers in the middle, and we all (probably) know what the consequences of that are. I'm actually much more in love with her in the musical Oliver!, because she's wayyyy more fleshed out, but she's my favorite part of the book.

Septimus Crisparkle, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Sigh. Reverend Crisparkle, I would like to keep you in my pocket and carry you with me for always. And critics are so MEAN to you. They call him "dreadfully stupid" and it is AWFUL, because he is patently not -- he is just nice. Nice ≠ stupid. Anyway, he takes in Helena and her twin brother Neville, the orphans from India, and he's just...he's just the greatest.

Mrs. Jellyby, Bleak House. I cannot explain my fascination with this character. She's one of Dickens's examples of misdirected charity, as she is over-invested in helping the natives of Borrioboola-Gha while ignoring her family to a ridiculous degree. There are multiple instances where I want to shake her, but I love every scene she's in.

The Lammles, Our Mutual Friend. OMF is pretty much about money and greed, and the Lammles marry each other thinking the other has money, while neither does. They then decide they'll GET money, and in the mean time pretend to be happily married while in fact hating each other. I have a weird desire for them to fall in love in the middle of this, even though that is absurd and they are Not Nice people: 
Charming to see Mr. and Mrs. Lammle taking leave so gracefully, and going down the stairs so lovingly and sweetly. Not quite so charming to see their smiling faces fall and brood as they dropped moodily into separate corners of their little carriage.
Louisa Gradgrind, Hard Times. I hate Hard Times. It's basically a giant rant against Utilitarianism. But I have a playlist for Louisa Gradgrind, made while pulling an all-nighter in college because I had to write an essay about her. Her theme is Kelly Clarkson's 'Breakaway.' OMG IT IS SO PERFECT YOU DO NOT EVEN KNOW. No, but Louisa is the best and gets an unusual ending, so go Dickens, bein' all differenty from yourself.

There are more, but in the interest of not making this stupidly long, let's cut it off there. Honorable mention goes to Helena Landless, Bella Wilfer, Mr. Grewgious, Mr Vincent Crummles, and Mrs. Pardiggle.

Dickens. You caused a lot of harm to some people, but you caused a great deal of happiness to others. I'm not saying I wouldn't kick you in the shins if we met, but I'd probably hug you afterward.


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