Michael Dirda and Dickens Scholars to give lectures at Book Plate

Michael Dirda

Dirda Feature

Katherine Charles

Michelle Allen-Emerson

Michelle Allen

Main Street Chestertown and The Bookplate are pleased to offer two book talks this Saturday as part of the Dickens of a Christmas festival. Michael Dirda of the Washington Post will present a lecture titled “The Classic English Ghost Story” at noon. Dickens scholars Katherine Charles and Michelle Allen-Emerson will present “The Making of  ‘A Christmas Carol’ and Why We Still Read It'” at 2:30. Both events are free and open to the public.

Michael Dirda, a Pulitzer Prize-winning book columnist for The Washington Post, is the author of five collections of essays—Readings, Bound to Please, Book by Book, Classics for Pleasure and Browsings—and of the memoir An Open Book.  His biographical/critical study, On Conan Doyle, received a 2012 Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

Dirda graduated with Highest Honors in English from Oberlin College and earned  a Ph.D. in comparative literature (focusing on medieval studies and European romanticism) from Cornell University. He is a contributor to The New York Review of BooksThe Times Literary Supplement and several other literary periodicals, as well as an occasional lecturer and college teacher. His current project is an appreciation of British popular fiction of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He lives just outside Washington D.C. with his wife Marian Peck Dirda, senior prints and drawings conservator at the National Gallery of Art. They have three grown sons.

Katherine Charles is Assistant Professor of eighteenth- and nineteenth- century English literature at Washington College. Her research focuses on how early novels developed new techniques for representing point of view and social differences. Trained as a journalist as well as a literary scholar, she has a special interest in Charles Dickens, the great Victorian novelist who first made a name for himself as a periodical essayist, the Inimitable Boz.

Michelle Allen-Emerson is Professor of English at the U.S. Naval Academy. Publications include Cleansing the City: Sanitary Geographies in Victorian London (Ohio University Press) and the six-volume edited collection of primary source material, Sanitary Reform in Victorian Britain (Routledge). When she is not teaching midshipmen, she is working on her current book project, “Why We Don’t Read Dickens (And Why We Should).”

The Dickens of a Christmas festival is a production of Main Street Chestertown. Both lectures will take place at Bookplate at 112 S. Cross Street, Chestertown. For more information and a complete festival schedule, please visit mainstreetchestertown.org.