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  • Dickens Society 21st Annual Symposium: “Adapting Dickens”Iceland University, Reykjavik 11–13 July 2016

No sooner had Dickens made a name for himself by writing novels than the London theatres began to adapt them to the stage. Indeed, both The Pickwick Papers (April 1836–November 37) and Oliver Twist (February 1837–March–38) underwent such adaptations before the serial run of either had come to an end, and the latter was staged in one form or another no fewer than forty times before 1850! Just over half a century later, The Death of Poor Joe, a silent film from 1901 initiated a long series of adaptations of his works for cinema, and in 1959, BBC television broadcast adaptations of Great Expectations and Bleak House that proved how well suited his works were to either type of screen. Over four hundred adaptations later, there is no sign that the public’s enthusiasm for adapting Dickens is on the wane. Quite the contrary, audio versions of his works, a mode that can be traced directly to Dickens’s own dramatizations and his celebrated (and much imitated) readings can now be downloaded in a matter of minutes in MP3 format from a large number of internet sources. By the 1840s, his novels had been translated in Dutch, French, German, Italian and Russian, influencing a host of European writers over the following three decades. If we add the visual arts, musicals, graphic novels, video games, and a multitude of objects from Christmas decorations to cigarette cards and figurines, there seems to be no limits to the adaptability of Dickens’s works.

Potential subjects related to the symposium theme include:

  • • Dickens and translation

  • • Dickens and film

  • • Dickens and performance

  • • Dickens and the theatre

  • • Dickens and television

  • • Dickens and audio

  • • Dickens and the visual arts

  • • Dickens and adaptation theory

Information on travel to and accommodation in Reykjavik will be made available on the Dickens Society website <>. [End Page 78]

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Harpa Concert Hall & Conference Centre, Reykjavik

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View of Reykjavik (above) and the Hallsgrimskirkja (opposite)

[End Page 79]



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