The Dickens Fellowship in Cambridge

The International Dickens Fellowship, founded in 1902, is a worldwide association of people who share an interest in the life and works of Charles Dickens (1812-1870). The Cambridge Branch is affiliated to it, and was founded on 12 September 2012.

Our annual programme runs from September to June each year. Meetings take place on the second Monday of the month from 7.30 p.m. Before the onset of Covid-19 we met as a group, and will do so again after its passing. In 2020-21 our discussions are online, via a Google group. Our membership ranges from 40-50 people.

We are a fellowship of Dickens lovers. While many of our members teach, write and have a scholarly interest in Dickens and Victorian literature, there are a significant number of us who, sharing their enthusiasm and enjoyment of reading Dickens, welcome the opportunity to meet with like-minded readers and engage in regular in depth study of a work by Dickens.

Our ten monthly meetings are designed to take us gradually through one complete Dickens novel in the year. Under normal circumstances, the meetings feature

  • presentations from guest speakers and from members of the group on topics that provide context for our readings by discussing Victorian social conditions, connecting Dickens with other literary people or showing the relationship of our current novel to Dickens’s life and other writings
  • about fifteen minutes of reading aloud passages from that month’s portion so that the group can share together Dickens’s humour, pathos and social insight
  • general discussion of that month’s reading, focused on questions sent out to members before the meeting

In 2020-21, we are looking at David Copperfield by way of online discussions. Despite not being able to meet in person, the Fellowship is continuing with the month-by-month format.