Putting Dickens online

The World

Charles Dickens �Tale of Two Cities� is a daunting read, but what if you could read it in the form in which it originally appeared? This historian says Dickens’s novels were serialized and a customer would pay a shilling for 32 pages of texts, two illustrations, and some ads. His library is home to a treasure trove of Dickens materials, including some of the original series of Dickens’s novels, which are rare. Those serials are tucked away in a climate controlled part of the library and access is restricted. So the professor launched a massive scanning project to put the materials online. That way, anyone who can get on the net can enjoy them. This scanner says the pages are fragile but she’s not worried about making it looking pretty, she wants to make it look authentic. But the real joy, says this Dickens scholar, is to experience the way serialization affected Dickens writing style.

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