I had a pretty exciting week at Oxford. On Monday, I traveled from Oxford to London to work at the Charles Dickens Museum for the first time. The museum is on Doughty Street, which is where Dickens lived from 1837-1839. While living in this house, Dickens finished writing The Pickwick Papers, wrote Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby, and started Barnaby Rudge. Dickens had ten children, and three of them were born at the house.
The greatest challenge of my trip to London on Monday was navigating the city. I took the Oxford Tube to Victoria Station, but then I had to find my way to Doughty Street, which is in a residential area, so it is not exactly in central London. I managed to determine the appropriate bus line to take, and I took that to Bloomsbury Square, from which I walked for about ten minutes to get to The Charles Dickens Museum.
The Museum is surrounded by several quaint coffee shops, so I was able to pass time in those.
On my way back to the bus station, I noticed that The Charles Dickens Museum is close to a bunch of other museums—such as The British Museum and The Charles Darwin Museum—so I plan to check those out when I am in London in the coming weeks.
In addition to spending time in London, I also had the opportunity to hear Terry Eagleton, a renowned English professor and cultural theorist, give a lecture this week as part of the Oxford University Chaplains’ Heaven Sent program, which was a week of events that explored the relationship between art, culture, and Christianity through lectures and performances.
I have read two of Eagleton’s books this term as part of my tutorial on material culture—The Idea of Culture and Marxism and Literature—so it was great to see and hear Eagleton in person after extensively discussing his ideas with my tutor.
P.S. Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and my favorite coffee shop here served me a latte with a chocolate heart design on it. How fun!