Today’s Google Doodle represents one of the Victorian period’s finest novelists with a beautiful representation of some of his best-known characters. Charles Dickens would have been 200 years old today.
Admittedly a bit stunted on my Dickensian knowledge, I had to consult the Google Book blog to identify many of the characters present in the Doodle. Ebenezer Scrooge and Tiny Tim are front and center, but the Doodle aslo includes Estella and Pip from Great Expectations, Oliver and his friends from Oliver Twist, and Charles Darnay from A Tale of Two Cities.
Charles Dickens was born in 1812 in Portsea, an area of Portsmouth. His first novel, The Pickwick Papers, was published in serial format, with successive installments appearing each month. Many of his early novels were released in this manner – and Dickens began work on Oliver Twist while in the middle of The Pickwick Papers.
Over the course of his careers, Dickens penned around two dozen novel, a handful of short stories, poetry, plays, and a bit of nonfiction. His best know novels include Great Expectations, Bleak House, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, and The Adventures of Oliver Twist.
The artist of today’s Dickens Doodle is Mike Dutton, a children’s book illustrator who has worked with Google on a number of previous Doodles. Those include Doodle in honor of Richard Scarry, The Royal Wedding, and The World Cup.
When asked about his experience trying to represent Dickens, Mike said that it posed a greater challenge than most. “Google doodles,” he said, “are intended to be fun and delightful”; however Dickens’ work is frequently serious in tone. So I decided to focus on Dickens’ characters to bridge this gap.”
Today’s Google Doodle is a bit different from previous Doodles in regards to what happens when you click the image on the homepage. Usually, this will take you to a search pertaining to the Doodle so users can find relevant information about the subject. If you click on the Dickens logo, you are taken to a list of Dickens’ Google ebooks, available for free.
Dickens has remained popular over the years, but he does have the reputation among some of being a bit stilted, even boring. In a perfect world, everyone could experience Dickens is the proper way. But I guess some will have to settle for an appreciation of the large range of other works and pop culture that was inspired by Dickens’ stories.
With that, I think we can all thank Dickens for the idea behind this classic gem: