I arrived just after the official unveiling of the great novelist last Friday. A flutter of local dignitaries lingered around him. Sun shone on their municipal chains of office. They wore the meek smiles of people who do not know quite what to think. Dickens, the great satirist, would have loved and mocked these awkward burghers in equal measure.
There is a long and colourful history of literary hoaxes, from the fourth-century Latin document that allegedly ceded rights of the Roman Emperor to Pope Sylvester I to the infamous Alan Sokal Affair, in which a New York physics professor published an essay in Social Text, which "proved" that quantum gravity was nothing but a social construct.
Perhaps, as the bicentennial year draws to a close and we move into Dickens' third century, there is something else the Victorian author can teach us - and that is not to teach him to our children.
Coverley has thus far made an intriguing career from his brand of esoteric primers, on interconnected subjects ranging from Psychogeography to Occult London, and with his latest, The Art of Wandering: The Writer as Walker, he re-introduces readers to a seemingly ancient tradition. Serving as a brief history of this storied connection between great, even classic, literature and the epic bouts of pedestrianism which bore them, Coverley inspires in his readers - who it must be presumed are largely made up of either walkers or writers (or both) - a peculiar kind of brotherhood.
Summer finally shows up, London blazes under cloudless skies, and so what better time to evoke the enveloping embrace of that classic 'pea souper', the London fog?
At the British Library, we were aware that summer 2012 demanded something special for our major exhibition programme. From the manuscript of Beowulf, to the notebooks of J. G. Ballard, the Library has the finest collection of English Literature in the world, and the opportunity to open up this literary treasure-house to visitors in 2012 seemed irresistible.
We might be used to reading their heavy prose or lengthy poetry, but now everyone from Shakespeare to De Beauvoir are having
Despite two centuries of change, many disadvantaged children are still facing the same literacy problems experienced in Victorian
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." - Charles Dickens, reviewing The Times. Yes, just in case you've been
I shed no tears for Stephen Hester, the chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland. But Hester's public humiliation - and, though the two individuals are very different, also that of Sir-no-more Fred Goodwin - was nothing but a modern-day version of the Roman games.