On the 50th anniversary of the first publication of Biggles books, Dr Michael Goodrum explores the character’s impact and legacy.
Professor Mike Weed explores how social media is changing the way we experience live events.
Dr Michael Goodrum explains the political and financial influence of the comic book hero, Superman.
Sexual abuse, harassment and gendered misuse of power – what Westminster might learn from other institutions
Dr Janet Melville-Wiseman looks at what Westminster should be doing in the wake of recent sexual abuse allegations.
Dr Catherine Meehan responds to the recent bullying guidance issued by the Church of England to its schools.
Dr Michael Goodrum discusses diversity in Marvel comics.
Guest blogger Dr Asya Draganova explains how Canterbury became the sound of prog rock and psychedelic music.
Jim Butcher explores the legacy of Jack Kerouac’s iconic novel On The Road 60 years after publication.
Dr Marios Kostas, Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Education and Care, explains why breaking away from traditional gender stereotype toys could be the best present you give your child this Christmas.
Ahead of the annual Dickensian Christmas Festival 2016, Professor Carolyn Oulton, Director of the International Centre for Victorian Women Writers (ICVWW) discusses Dickens’s Kent roots.
David Copperfield stumbling footsore and hungry down the Dover Road to find his aunt Betsy Trotwood (it’s worth reminding the sat nav that there are now two parallel A-roads, imaginatively called the Old Dover Road and the New Dover Road respectively). Estella staring superciliously across the garden of Satis House in Rochester. And who could forget Scrooge wandering about in his nightshirt with the Ghost of Christmas Past, on a visit to what can only be rural Kent, ‘”Good Heaven!” said Scrooge, clasping his hands together, as he looked about him. “I was bred in this place. I was a boy here!”’?
Since the nineteenth century avid readers have been retracing the steps of Dickens’s fictional characters, perhaps like David Copperfield himself putting themselves in all the good parts and their own Mr Murdstones in all the bad ones. But it is worth remembering that if Dickens’s books are now considered ‘classics’, the Kent he wrote about was often raffish, even dangerous. His fascinated observation moves from the female lion tamer in Broadstairs ‘in something that shines very much, and is exceedingly scaley’ to the marshes where a terrified Pip first meets the criminal Magwitch.
In 1897 when Francis Burnand and Phil May of Punch published The Zig-Zag Guide Round and About the Bold and Beautiful Kentish Coast they introduced themselves as tour guides ‘in Dickensian phraseology as “T’otherest” and “T’other Guvnor”’ (from Dickens’s darkest novel Our Mutual Friend). Their guide enjoys a brief laugh at the misadventures of the Tuggses from Sketches by Boz, who ‘still come down to Ramsgate’ around sixty years after losing their money and their self-respect to sharpers. We may prefer to remember the triumphant rise to fame of David Copperfield. But we all know what happens to Pip when he becomes ‘ashamed of home’.
Find out more about the Rochester Dickensian Christmas Festival 2016.