For 38 years, fans of Charles Dickens have been traveling from all over the world to get to UC Santa Cruz’s annual Dickens Universe, a joyous convocation that is part literary conference, part festival, and part summer camp, complete with lectures, farces, Victorian tea, and even a crash course in Victorian dancing.
This year, StoryCruz dropped in on the Universe to explore the mysteries of Little Dorrit—the chosen book for the 2018 festival—to find out why Dickens is still a literary superstar who has never lost his relevance after all these years. Other Victorian novelists have fallen into the dustbin of obscurity, but Dickens, with his rich, heartbreaking, and sometimes hilarious language; his keen eye for character and dialogue; his love of story; his sense of injustice; and his skewering of hypocrisy and bureaucracy, will never go out of style.
Here is your chance to get an audio immersion in the Universe if you’ve never gone to one of these gatherings before. And if you’re interested in hitting the Dickens Universe next year, the dates are July 14–20, 2019, and the book will be Barnaby Rudge. Registration opens in January 2019.