Charles Dickens: 10 favorite quotes on his 200th birthday

Feb. 7, 2012, marks the bicentenary of the birth of great English author Charles Dickens. Nicknamed “The Inimitable,” Dickens fused artistry with humanity to create a body of work as entertaining as it is edifying. In his novels and other writings, Dickens deftly skewered the venality of the rich, depicted with great pathos the wretched lives of the poor, and canvassed such diverse themes as the need for educational reform, the triumph of love over ego, the destructive capacity of guilt, and the value of communal ties. No handful of quotes can entirely encapsulate the genius of Dickens, but below are a few that we feel do a fair job of showcasing the novelist’s unmatched wisdom and powers of expression.

1. Patience rewarded


"An idea, like a ghost ... must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself."

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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