Charles Dickens was Britain’s first true literary superstar. In his time, he attracted international acclaim and adulation, while many of his books became instant classics. Today, his popularity continues unabated, and his work remains not only widely read but also widely adapted for stage and screen. Celebrating the bicentennial of the writer’s birth,Â The Morgan Library & MuseumÂ is takingÂ pains to also reveal the polymath behind the fiction. Yes, the museum’s famous manuscript of AÂ ChristmasÂ CarolÂ is on display – & available to view online HERE – but more interesting are his exceptionallyÂ brilliantÂ and entertaining letters, which track not only his work as a novelist but also his reading tours across the United States, his philanthropic pursuits, and his lesser-knownÂ experimentsÂ with mesmerism, a precursor to hypnotherapy. Of particular interest to me is the ephemera of Dickens’ theatrical pursuits. Together with playwright Wilkie Collins, Dickens produced amateur theatricals at Tavistock House, his family home. On display are a handful of leaflets promoting these evenings, advising the audience – largely made up of friends, members ofÂ Parliament, judges, and various government ministers – at what time their carriages home should be ordered, as well as God Save the Queen! Most amusing is a broadsheet for the TheatreÂ Royal, Adelphi, promoting the only dramatic version of AÂ ChristmasÂ CarolÂ sanctioned by Dickens. It goes into great detail summarizing the events of the story before advertising the theater’s subsequent offerings. Lastly it offers a tease of what’s on the horizon: Anthony & Cleopatra, Married & Settled. I’d like to see Dickens tackle that one.