161 • Dickens

161 • Dickens

The day I read Great Expectations
My train had got stuck between stations:
Since time was so tight
I omitted, outright,
All the plot and the long conversations.

When they can find us nothing to look forward to, the British media likes to keep us doped with pointless anniversaries. ‘Today we celebrate the death of Charles Dickens,’ offered BBC Radio 4 a moment ago, and hordes doubtless cheered this maladroit proclamation. As our bulletin suggests, during the 150 years since Dickens’s passing the UK has learnt to scoff at entertainment that requires any imaginative participation.

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