Good on Paper, Great on Screen

In 2011, James Delingpole wrote an article for the Telegraph about the resurgence of Dickens’s popularity through various television interpretations of his novels in the UK. I found this article when looking into the BBC’s version of The Mystery of Edwin Drood after watching it in class. Interestingly, as I was reading the article, an advertisement popped up in the text separating the first few lines from the rest of the article, forcing me to watch a video advertising laundry detergent with no possibility of pausing the ad. As soon as the video was done, the ad disappeared. This is the first disappearing ad I have seen of this kind, and it certainly made me laugh to myself in the context of advertising we have been discussing in this class. Delingpole’s article addresses the fact that Dickens has become associated with cozy, family times and good will toward men, and that common phrases from his novels trigger patriotic feelings in the hearts of Englishmen. But Delingpole admits that Dickens was paid for his work, and monetary gains were a primary consideration in the way he released his novels in parts. What was interesting to me about this article was the author’s mutual disgust for and fascination with Dickens, as well as his own desire to watch a show like the Walking Dead rather than another TV adaptation of a Dickens story. By the end of the article, Delingpole asserts that, had Dickens been born today, he would certainly have been a screenwriter for a popular television show rather than wasting his time on something so monetarily valueless as a novel. I have to agree with Delingpole that Dickens would make an excellent screenwriter. I’m positive he would have created a show on par with some of today’s greats, like Game of Thrones. But I’m glad Dickens was a nineteenth century man, because as a screenwriter he would not be able to display his unique gift with words that accompanies his storytelling, allowing readers to interpret the Gradgrinds and Pips of his literary world as they will.

Here is a link to the article:

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