Charles Dickens, Christmas, and the World of the Victorians with Dr. Julie Taddeo
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A video recording will be sent to all participants after the seminar.
“I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year.” So promises Ebenezer Scrooge at the end of Charles Dickens’ 1843 classic, A Christmas Carol.
Step back in time and right into holiday spirits, as this talk puts Dickens and Christmas within the larger social context of 19th Century Victorian Britain. Did Dickens’ story actually challenge the cruel class structure of Victorian society? Why has Dickens been credited with the “invention” of Christmas, and how did this holiday become a distinctly Victorian tradition that influences how we celebrate it today? These issues and more will be covered as we travel back to the age of workhouses, plum puddings, and the Queen who gave her name to this era. Allow Dickens’ text to come alive within its historical framework and, in turn, illustrate what daily life was truly like in Victorian Britain.
Led by Professor Julie Taddeo, an expert in British history, we will use Dickens' short novel as a window into the social structure of Victorian England, attitudes about poverty and charity, and learn why this classic story lives so brightly in our collective holiday season today.
Dr. Julie Taddeo is Research Professor of History at University of Maryland. Her area of expertise is Modern British social and cultural history. She has published several books on such topics as the Bloomsbury Group, Steampunk, British period drama television, and reality TV.