Graphic novel app brings Dickensian London to life

Thu Dec 8, 2011 10:05pm EST
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By Philip Baillie

LONDON (Reuters) - Stroll the grimy backstreets of Dickensian London and experience for yourself the sights and sounds which inspired one of the greatest writers in English literature.

Computer tablet users can now travel to the darker side of London as Charles Dickens knew it, with an interactive novel-cum-app launched on Friday by the Museum of London that is the next best thing to having your own time machine.

The graphic novel, a creative combination of text, graphics and narration by "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" actor Mark Strong, transports the reader back to 1862 with an overlay on Google maps, depicting the streets as they were in the Victorian era.

"It is fascinating to discover quite how brutal some of Dickens' descriptions of London actually were," narrator Strong said.

"Usually we associate his writing with vivid caricature and lively character comedy, but to delve into the world of his darker observations is to be taken on a compelling journey through the seamier side of Victorian London," he added.

The app, seen by Reuters ahead of the official launch, contains a series of short stories, an old map of London, complete with interactive media, with which readers can interact, bringing the stories to life.

The main novella featured are taken from "Sketches by Boz," with bonus material of illustrated extracts from famous works such as "Bleak House" and "Oliver Twist."

The launch of the app coincides with the opening of an exhibition at the Museum of London which will run from Friday December 9 June 2012.   Continued...