My literary education, of which I’m still in the pre-nursery stage, started with Charles Dickens.
Whenever I think about it, the first ‘real’ novel I remember to have read was ‘A Tale of Two Cities‘. For times before that, all the books are shrouded in one hazy entity in memory. It is with ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ that the gates of my mind opened into light. And Charles Dickens was the first Prophet, the Grand Old Man, the Bheeshm Pitamah if you will, towering tall over fellow Victorian Thomas Hardy, Russian revolutionary literature and Maxim Gorky, Coelho and Bach, ‘new-fangled’ Ernest Hemingway and ‘brooding’ Joseph Conrad, of my literary world at that time.
I’ve been fascinated about many authors, distributed across history and genres. But never so much for anybody as for Dickens. My first fascination and the biggest one at that. Couldn’t have read the gigantic mass of David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, Sketches by Boz & Pickwick Papers but for that. And never have anyone’s writing delighted me so much. They always filled me with wonder and amazing delight on its brilliance and vividness of English language, and grandiose of the world he created in his novels.
My gateway into literature, Dickens’ nickname ‘The Inimitable’ suits perfectly on him.
Today’s children and teens rave about Harry Potter, Twilight (sigh), Chetan Bhagat, and Lord of the Rings (with all due respect to J.R.R. Tolkien). I consider myself extremely lucky to have grown up with Dickens, Hardy and Gorky.
Happy Birthday Mr. Dickens 🙂