IN OTHER WORDS: Great idea
The United States has Graceland and Dollywood, so why wouldn’t England have Dickens World? The $122 million theme park, which opened near Kent last month, features nearly all the beloved Victorian author’s books as rides or exhibits, from the Great Expectations water flume to Fagin’s Den to the haunted House of Ebenezer Scrooge. Critics sniff that Charles Dickens was a social critic who muckraked contemporary ills such as the workhouse and child labour and shouldn’t be trivialised into a sunny amusement park. But we can only applaud. Dickens was a master of scene and characterisation; his books are naturals for this kind of live feature.
If a little fluff and showmanship can introduce the “whatever” generation to one of the great novelists of the English language, how can that be bad? Just think of the possibilities should this kind of pop introduction to classic literature take off. One can easily imagine Mark Twain Land, complete with steamboat ride, fence-painting (you pay for the privilege!), and frog-jumping races. Or Marcel Proust Park, which goes on forever and smells like fresh-baked madeleines. Cervantes, Dante and his Inferno, Homer’s Odysseyland — why not give them the Dickens World treatment? A world where great authors are as popular as Dumbo is a place we’d like to visit.