Charles Dickens, or Why We Want to be British (at Least for Today)…

By Kiki Keane and Rachel Womek

Rachel and I are happy to be Americans… Well, I am. Rachel refuses national identifiers. Generally, I do too, but I’m less likely to launch into a sermon.* Anyway, this year is Charles Dickens’ Bicentennial and as self-professed bookworms and Anglophiles we are saddened that we are NOT British. Further, we are not able to be part of the festivities. Even worse we live in a city of tumbleweeds (No really! They actually tumble down the streets on windy days) and retirees, so, as you can imagine, Dickens’ is not a cultural figurehead. He is thought about only in the collective moans of high school English students.

We imagine ourselves to be victims of cruel Fate. Perhaps the universe is mocking us. We long to be in a smoking lounge, with a pipe in one hand and Great Expectations in the other. We like to think we are more British than the British (I think we’ve already established that we are delusional). At least, I (Rachel) have British ancestry, the crest of my father’s name is a pack of boars frolicking across a woodland.

At least the pleasure of the book is a possibility, if nothing else.

Oh! And he was journalist… So, perhaps we are not the victims of cruel Fate after all…


*Rachel: I feel that excessive attachment to the Super Nation-State is one of the greatest banes to human progress.

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