On January 22, in 1842, Charles Dickens and his wife, Catherine, arrived in America for their tour of the young republic. The battered steamship Britannia had weathered a terrifying Atlantic hurricane and put into port in Boston, MA (dubbed "Boz town") with shattered lifeboats dangling from its sides.
In this, the bicentenary year of Dickens's birth, the University of Massachusetts Lowell is celebrating this author's connection to the United States with several months of programming and a major exhibit: "Dickens and Massachusetts: A Tale of Power and Transformation" (Mar. 30 - Oct. 20, 2012). We are also hosting a Dickens Society Symposium 13 - 15 July 2012 here in Lowell and invite scholars at all stages of their career to submit proposals for paper presentations.
The University of Massachusetts Lowell would like to announce the launch of its new website: http://www.uml.edu/dickens. Please check out our CFP for the symposium, the description of our major exhibition, and a schedule of some of our 75+ planned programs. Dickens in Lowell is the culmination of three years of work and collaboration among many scholars, including Joel Brattin, Lillian Nayder, Natalie McKnight, and others.
Please check us out and consider a trip to Lowell to see artifacts such as the 1842 Francis Alexander portrait of Dickens (not shown in public for over 30 years), the Maclise drawing of the Dickens children (a portrait brought by the Dickenses to American when they had to leave their family at home), first editions and original letters, a rare Boston Line Type raised letter edition of The Old Curiosity Shop commissioned by Dickens as a gift to the American blind in 1968, and other rare artefacts and interesting interactive elements such as our phrenology display. If you teach in the area, please consider bringing your students. We'd be happy to arrange docent tours if desired.