Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dickens, as dead as a door-nail, still lives

Charles Dickens died on this day in 1870.

He gave his name to idioms in this vein -- A "dickens" of a time, the "dickens" you say, what the "dickens," et al.

Dickens also created many characters whose names have entered the lexicon, or instantly suggest an image of a certain type of person -- Scrooge, Uriah Heep, Micawber, Pickwick, Fagin.

Some characters, only Dickens could have named: Sweedlepipe, Honeythunder, Bumble, Pumblechook, M'Choakumchild, Podsnap, Gradgrind.

The word Dickensian, of course, conjures up a whole slew of images.

One scientist of onomastics (the study of names) has declared that Dickens created 989 distinct characters, which inspires us to coin a word of our own to describe this fastidious scholar:


For more about Dickens, visit Farewells, June 9

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