David copperfield

Reworking Dickens: Demon Copperhead, by Barbara Kingsolver, reviewed

Putting new wine into old wineskins is an increasingly popular fictional mode. Retellings of 19th-century novels abound. Jane Austen inevitably leads the way, with Val McDermid’s Northanger Abbey, Alexander McCall Smith’s Emma, Joanna Trollope’s Sense and Sensibility, and no fewer than four recent adaptations of Pride and Prejudice. Dickens, too, has been updated, with Michael Rosen’s Bah Humbug and Lorie Langdon’s Olivia Twist. Now Barbara Kingsolver pitches in with a contemporary version of David Copperfield. Her Demon Copperhead is a russet-haired, mixed-race boy from the backwoods of South Virginia. His father died before he was born and his mother, like many of the novel’s characters, is addicted to opioids, leaving

The many rival identities of Charles Dickens

Until the age of ten I lived in a street of mock-Georgian houses called Dickens Drive. Copperfield Way and Pickwick Close were just around the corner. Even now I regularly pass the Pickwick Guest House on the main road out of Oxford. None of this is especially surprising. Go online and you can buy a ribbed tank top for your dog emblazoned ‘I love Charles Dickens’ or a flexible Dickens action figure ‘with quill pen and detachable hat’. Visit Rochester or Chatham, the Kent towns where he spent the happiest years of his childhood, and it’s hard to turn a corner without bumping into a Dickensian ghost — Little Dorrit