Charles Dickens was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the twentieth century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and short stories enjoy lasting popularity. Dickens preferred the style of the 18th century picaresque novels that he found in abundance on his father's shelves. According to Ackroyd, other than these, perhaps the most important literary influence on him was derived from the fables of The Arabian Nights. His writing style is marked by a profuse linguistic creativity. Satire, flourishing in his gift for caricature, is his forte. An early reviewer compared him to Hogarth for his keen practical sense of the ludicrous side of life, though his acclaimed mastery of varieties of class idiom may in fact mirror the conventions of contemporary popular theatre. Dickens worked intensively on developing arresting names for his characters that would reverberate with associations for his readers, and assist the development of motifs in the storyline, giving what one critic calls an "allegorical impetus" to the novels' meanings. To cite one of numerous examples, the name Mr. Murdstone in David Copperfield conjures up twin allusions to "murder" and stony coldness. His literary style is also a mixture of fantasy and realism. His satires of British aristocratic snobbery-he calls one character the "Noble Refrigerator"-are often popular. Comparing orphans to stocks and shares, people to tug boats, or dinner-party guests to furniture are just some of Dickens's acclaimed flights of fancy.
James Matthew Barrie was born at Kirriemuir, Forfarshire, on May 9, 1860. Kirriemuir, as soberly stated by the Encyclopaedia Britannica, is "a borough of barony and a market town of Forfarshire, Scotland, beautifully situated on an eminence above the glen through which the Gairie flows. It lies about five miles northwest of Forfar, and about sixty-two miles north of Edinburgh. The special industry of the town is linen weaving, for which large power-loom factories have recently been built." Mr. Barrie has made his birthplace famous as Thrums, after hesitating for a little between that name and Whins, which is the word used in the earliest Auld Licht sketches. Only a part of Mr. Barrie's boyhood was spent in Kirriemuir. At an early age he went to Dumfries, where his brother was inspector of schools. He was a pupil in the Dumfries Academy. At that time Thomas Carlyle was a not unfrequent visitor to the town, where his sister, Mrs. Aitken, and his friend, the venerable poet editor Thomas Aird, were then living."
Any news, mother?" asked Edna one Friday afternoon when she came home from school. "There's a letter from grandma," replied Mrs. Conway after kissing the lips held up to hers. "There isn't any real news in it, but there is an invitation." "What kind of an invitation?" "A Thanksgiving kind." "Oh, mother, what do you mean?" "I mean that grandma wants us all to spend an old-fashioned Thanksgiving with her; the kind she used to have when she was young. She says she and grandpa are both getting old and they may not be able to have the whole family there together again." "And are we going?" "Yes, I think so." "The whole family?" "I think perhaps you and I will go on a day or two ahead and let the others follow. Celia and the boys can come with your father, who probably could not get off till Wednesday afternoon. Grandma asks that I bring my baby with me." "And that means me," returned Edna, hugging herself. "How long shall we stay, mother?" "That depends upon several things which will have to be learned later, so I can't tell just yet." Edna danced off to hunt up her brothers that she might tell them the news. She found them in their little workshop over the stable. Charlie was making a new box to put in his pigeon house and Frank was watching him. They had not seen their little sister since Monday for she and her sister Celia went to school in the city, remaining until the Friday afternoon of each week.
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