Charles Dickens died on this day, June 9, in 1870. We all know him as a writer. Today, I would like to share his thoughts on reading and books.

Below is a quote from a speech that Charles Dickens gave at a soiree at the Manchester Athenaeum in 1843, where others who spoke on the occasion were Richard Cobden and Benjamin Disraeli. It was a society for the “advancement and diffusion of knowledge”.

In the speech, Dickens highlights the importance of reading and what the Athenaeum would bring to the minds of the people of Manchester as an important public institution, amid the “clanking of stupendous engines and the whirl and rattle of machinery”, since England was caught up in the Industrial Revolution age at the time. You can read the full text of his speech here.

The Manchester Athenaeum, pictured above, is now part of the Manchester Art Gallery, opened in 2002. Image, courtesy Stephen Richards CC by SA 2.0 on Wikimedia Commons.

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