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An illustrated Kindle for Charles Dickens

It’s hard to imagine functioning without the assistance of modern technology. Just last week, for example, I was forced to endure a grueling six days without a cellphone (an excellent glass of New Zealand shiraz is what finally did in the ol’ Blackberry), rendering me more or less dead to my coworkers, family and friends.

Speaking of dead people and mobile devices, illustration student Rachel Walsh was recently asked to “explain a modern piece of technology to someone who lived and died before 1900″ for a project at the Cardiff School of Art and Design. Ingeniously, Walsh decided to fashion a handmade Kindle for her favorite (and very dead) author, Charles Dickens.

Asked how she came up with the concept, Walsh told me that Dickens “not only wrote and owned many books, he also traveled around reading his stories to audiences. So I thought a Kindle would lighten his load.” For her illustrated version of the popular Amazon gizmo, Walsh cut tiny windows into an old novel, in which she placed tiny handmade editions of popular Victorian novels. The amount of work required looks tremendous, but Walsh says she pulled it off in a frenzied four-day span. “The 40 tiny books all have illustrated book jackets which I did by hand, and several have their first page hand-illustrated and written too,” she says. “They don’t have illustrations throughout the inside pages though – the time constraints of the project didn’t allow for that!” I’d be interested to see Walsh’s take on a whole range of gadgets-gone-antique. An iPhone for Thomas Edison, perhaps? or a Bluetooth for Thoreau?