What the Dickens?

115 TUTOR: Lauraine Klugman

Dickens cracked on with immense gusto and satire, highlighting C19th social deprivation, love and pomposity with brilliantly vivid characters from the destitute to the powerful, the pathetic to the scheming…We're amused, entertained, entranced, sometimes profoundly moved. Our world's madly spinning: where do we draw the line of understanding the writer, being fair-minded, democratic, psychologically understanding him and his family, his goodness and bad behaviour?

On this course we'll savour the underrated pleasure of reading aloud in a tolerant relaxed atmosphere, discussing varied opinions on Dicken's philosophy, misogyny, fatherhood, marriage and unfaithfulness… Using drama techniques, we'll have fun role playing Dickens' vignettes.

1 PM
PM course

Course Notes

Each day we'll savour the pleasure of reading chapters aloud, then in a tolerant, relaxed atmosphere, we'll discuss our wide-ranging opinions on Dickens' stories, philosophy, misogyny, fatherhood, marriage, unfaithfulness…. And then, using drama techniques including bits of film, we will roleplay and perform Dickens' vignettes, for our delectation!

The course divides into 3 main parts:

1.Reading aloud

2. a. Discussing Dickens's stories: Bleak House, Our Mutual Friend (with reference to Gt Expects & Oliver T).

b. Discussing Dickens' life.

3.Roleplaying vignettes



Welcome and Introductions; forming the group

Short Introduction - DICKENS: the man and his work.

Introducing BLEAK HOUSE

Reading aloud 2 - 4 chapters

Characters and Discussion

Roleplaying and watching

Dickens' writing, characters, creativity



Bleak House: 2 - 4 more chapters reading aloud

Roleplaying 3 separate vignettes from BH

Dickens the creative genius: Discussion



Our Mutual Friend : an introduction; reading aloud 2 - 4 chapters

Characters - main, and minor

Dickens the writer: torture in love; despair, madness

Discussion: Dickens the lover; his own circumstances and his work

Discussion of characters' similarities and contrasts

Short vignettes roleplay



Our Mutual Friend - reading aloud 2 - 4 chaps

If I was Mrs Dickens… Dickens's family, and his misogyny, bad behaviour

Short vignettes roleplay



Overview of the week's Dickens stories and characters

Roleplaying and final reading aloud

Final discussion and summing-up of the week


Background reading

Claire Tomalin: Dickens - A Life. Pub. Penguin 2012 Peter Ackroyd - Dickens. Pub. Vintage 1990.(2012)


Course Tutor

Lauraine Klugman

About Lauraine

Lauraine Klugman MA regularly reads aloud and has taught and run Shakespeare and comedy courses at the Summer School.  She is a former art psychotherapist and edits dramatherapy with children enabling creativity, sociability, communication and learning.

Onetime Artistic Director of Newbury fringe Festival, her school students acted A Midsummer Night's Dream in Shaw House Orangery and Pinter's A Night Out at South Hill Park.  

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All courses run for 5 days

WK 1 8 Jul - 12 Jul

WK 2 15 Jul - 19 Jul

WK 3 22 Jul - 26 Jul

WK 4 29 Jul - 2 Aug

Morning Courses

9.15AM to 12.15PM

Afternoon Courses

1.45PM to 4.30PM

All Day Courses

9.15AM to 4.30PM