Check out the latest tidbit from the Internet time capsule: The British Film Institute has rediscovered what is believed to be the earliest celluloid adaptation of a Charles Dickens story. Granted it’s only a 1-minute long silent film depicting a scene from the Charles Dickens’ novel Bleak House, but it’s still impressive considering its provenance. The silent film is believed to have been made in 1901 by G.A. Smith who was a pretty interesting dude. Apparently he was “a stage hypnotist, psychic, magic lantern lecturer, astronomer, inventor, and one of the pioneers of British cinema.”
A few years ago, the Morgan Museum and Library, which owns the 68-page manuscript of Charles Dickens’ classic tale “A Christmas Carol,” let the New York Times scan all the hand-scribbled, 168-year-old pages and post them online. The Times then challenged its readers to scour through the digital pages of this manuscript for which Dickens apparently “made no working notes, outline, plans, or preliminary drafts” (brave man!), and unlock mysteries buried within his edits.
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.
The New York Public Library has one of the more bizarre artifacts of our literary past that I’ve seen. Apparently Charles Dickens loved his pet cat Bob, and to remember the feline when he passed away, the famed author “took one of Bob’s paws, had it stuffed and slapped it on a letter opener.” Feel…