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39th Annual Dickens Universe

July 13, 2019 - July 20, 2019  |  Stevenson Fireside Lounge


The Dickens Universe is a unique cultural event that brings together scholars, teachers, students, and members of the general public for a week of stimulating discussion and festive social activity on the beautiful Santa Cruz campus of the University of California—all focused on one or two Victorian novels, usually (but not always) one by Charles Dickens. In 2019, the Universe will feature Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens.

Full event info and registration:

In this early and seldom studied historical novel, Dickens tells a powerful story of public violence and private horror. Set in 18th-century London, the novel is full of mystery and melodrama. Sons struggle against fathers, servants against masters. Religious controversy erupts into riots. Vivid characters enact their passions in a world deeply divided against itself, and a pet raven issues oracular statements that none can forget–or understand.

Now in its 39th year of operation, the Dickens Universe combines features of a scholarly conference, a festival, a book club, and summer camp. Participants include people of all ages and walks of life—distinguished scholars, graduate students, undergraduates, retirees, young professionals, high school teachers, anyone who loves to read and who enjoys long Victorian novels.

Here are some of the things that make the Universe such a special experience.

The college lifestyle: participants live on campus, eat together in the student dining hall, have time to meet and come to know each other in different ways.
Everyone is reading the same book. We all have this one important thing in common. The range of activities—formal lectures, small discussion groups, films, daily Victorian teas, performances, and Victorian dancing. The Universe offers a week of total immersion in the world of Victorian fiction with friendly, like-minded colleagues in a beautiful setting. Whether we’re returning to a Dickens novel that everyone knows and loves, or branching out into a Victorian novel by another author who might be less familiar, during the Universe we build a community out of our passion for reading, talking with one another, and bringing Victorian culture to life.


July 13, 2019
July 20, 2019


Stevenson Fireside Lounge
Humanites 1 University of California, Santa Cruz Cowell College
Santa Cruz, CA 95064 United States