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Ghosts keep spirit of Dickens alive

By Julian Shea | China Daily | Updated: 2022-10-11 08:14

A copy of The Chimes presented to Hans Christian Andersen by the author.[Photo provided to China Daily]

"His characters are so lifelike, and drawn from across all areas of society, that they speak to all audiences. In his lifetime, he was a huge star, with mass global popularity. He drew huge crowds wherever he went, and it even got to the point where he didn't like to get his hair cut because he knew people would want a lock of his hair."

In 1846, seances, gatherings where people called "mediums "claimed to be able to make contact with the spirit world, received the royal seal of approval when Queen Victoria attended one. In 1862, the first lady of the United States, Mary Lincoln, held one at the White House, so it was inevitable that a writer with such an observant eye and curious imagination as Dickens should find inspiration there. But, as the exhibition, which features an exhibit entitled A Fascinated Sceptic explains, he was never drawn in by it.

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