“Dickens saw a world of possibility in Massachusetts,” says Diana Archibald, associate professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Archibald is co-curator of the “Dickens and Massachusetts” exhibition, part of the Dickens 2012 Worldwide Bicentenary Celebration. “Massachusetts was the other America,” Archibald says. “It wasn’t the America that disappointed him. It was the one where he developed lifelong friendships and saw possibilities for reform in England.”
Seven months of events and an exhibition at Lowell National Historical Park that runs from March 30 to October 20 illuminate Dickens’s watershed experiences in the Commonwealth on his two visits, first as a youthful celebrity in 1842, then 25 years later as a wealthy and powerful man who had paid dearly for fame.