By Steve Tawa

A descendent of famed writer Charles Dickens paid a call today to the Free Library of Philadelphia to help celebrate his great-great-grandfather’s upcoming 200th birthday.

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Gerald Dickens is in the United States for his one-man show of A Christmas Carol, in which he plays the roles of all 26 characters.

The younger Dickens notes that Charles Dickens didn’t write his first book until age 24 and died at age 58, yet managed to put out an extraordinarily large body of work.

Great Expectations, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist, and it goes on and on and on.”  Fifteen full-length novels, he points out, at around 800 pages each.

And Gerald Dickens says his great-great-grandfather would likely have been a strong supporter of the “Occupy” movement that blossomed recently in this country.

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“His social conscience was so important — to narrow that gap between the rich and the poor, which is a stituation which we’re still struggling with today!”

But Gerald says the books were nevertheless entertaining, with wonderful characters and incredible plots.

The main branch of the Free Library, just off the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 19th Street, is home to one of the finest collections of Dickens works in the world, as well as his stuffed pet raven “Grip,” said to be the inspiration for Edgar Allen Poe’s famous poem.


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