To kick off a series of birthday celebrations for the British author Charles Dickens, a group of UI and community experts (below) will introduce Dickens and the issues of his novel Oliver Twist, followed by cake and punch (but no porridge!). Attendees are asked to bring a jar of peanutbutter for donation to the Crisis Center's Food Bank; this is an item in special need right now.
- Teresa Mangum is a professor of Victorian literature in the UI English Department and directs the Obermann Center. She will discuss Dickens' literary career and anticipate themes of the novel.
- Jeffrey Cox is a professor of British Social, Imperial, and Religious History in the UI History Department. He will discuss poverty, the Poor Law, and the poorhouse "welfare" system in 19th c. Britain.
- Miriam Gilbert is a professor of Shakespeare, drama, and performance criticism in the UI English Department. She will discuss stereotypes of "the jew" on stage and in the character of Fagin in Oliver Twist.
- Becci Reedus is the Executive Director of the Johnson County Crisis Center. She will discuss poverty and hunger in our own community in the 21st c.
In addition, Gregory Prickman, UI Special Collections Librarian, will assemble a small exhibit of Dickensiana.