A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
It is an article of their creed that the first faint glimmering of true civilization shone in the first street-light maintained at the public expense. They trace their existence and high position in the public esteem, in a direct line to the heathen mythology; and hold that the history of Prometheus himself is but a pleasant fable, whereof the true hero is a lamplighter.
“The Lamplighter” is a wild farce. It feels a little as if someone deleted all the plot, characterization, and heavy themes from one of Dickens’ shorter novels and just left us with a dozen pages of the funny bits.
It kicks off at a kind of Lamplighters Local meeting. One member decides to relate the legendary tale of Tom Grig, a lamplighter who was fated by the stars to make a great marriage to a beautiful, wealthy heiress. Err… well, sort of. The story is a little muddier than that, and it’s full of all the wild exaggerations and self-mythologizing of a twice told tale among friends. In the end we’re not even sure if Tom Grig’s story was anything more than a dream. But no matter, it’s still a fascinating and funny tale featuring some quippy dialogue.
A lighter side of Dickens for those only used to his heavier works.
Review by Matthew