Skip Navigation

2012 Fall Issue 5 (October 19, 2012)

Carleton Celebrates Charles Dickens

October 19, 2012
By Ben Strauss

“Procrastination is the thief of time. Collar him,” proclaimed Mr. Micawber in Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield.

This past week, students and professors did just that with a marathon reading of David Copperfield, a book known, among other things, for its famous characters, such as the poor Mr. Micawber and the wicked Mr. Heap. For two straight days, students, professors, and faculty members read aloud  from the novel at a small podium Upper Sayles.

“It was a fun, lively and quintessentially Carleton celebration of one of the world’s great authors,” said President Poskanzer, who participated in the first day of the reading.

Students and professors enjoyed the lively and entertaining atmosphere of the event. “The marathon seemed to me to be a roaring success,” said English Professor Michael Kowalewski. “Dickens is meant to be read out loud.”

“Funny dialogue, the mix of irony and sentiment, the vivid details...I love it,” agreed English Professor George Shuffleton, who, along with Kowalewski and many other professors, read aloud for a shift.

Listeners also enjoyed the sense of community that came from sitting together and listening to Dickens’ book being read. “Everybody was intently listening to what the speakers were reading, and I was enthralled by the dynamic voice of the speakers,” said Cody Bohlman ‘16.


The people reading from David Copperfield also enjoyed themselves. President Poskanzer said, “I had great fun reading my section of the book...though I’ll confess that trying to read in different voices for each member of the Peggotty clan…taxed my limited dramatic skill.”

Amid the fun of the event, students learned life lessons like the aforementioned one about procrastination. Francesca Garcia ’13 said even though she came halfway through the reading,  “I realized that I could learn something from one chapter of observations and commentary in the life of a person.”

The two-day reading of  David Copperfield “reminds us to slow down and to make time for the most valuable things,” said Shuffleton. He also emphasized the importance of reading books for fun, commenting that  “most other tasks aren’t as rewarding, emotionally or mentally, as a great book is.”

The event may also encourage students who did not spend all twenty-four hours at the marathon to read David Copperfield in its entirety. President Poskanzer said, “I hope that many listeners will now go read all of David Copperfield and maybe also my personal Dickens favorite, Tale of Two Cities.”

Overall, the event was thoroughly enjoyable. “Students really seemed to get into the marathon, as they have when we’ve done this in the past,” said Kowalewski. “I hope we do it every year.  Carleton is willing!”

Add a comment

Please login to comment.