Charles Dickens Visits Illinois


Charles Dickens is without question one of the greatest authors who ever lived. Just before he would write his most famous work, A Christmas Carol, he would travel to North America to act as a critical observer of North American society, almost as if returning a status report on their progress. From January to June 1842

Having arrived in Boston, he visited Lowell, New York, and Philadelphia, and traveled as far south as Richmond, as far west as St. Louis and as far north as Quebec.

He traveled mainly on the East Coast and the Great Lakes area of both the United States and Canada, primarily by steamboat, but also by rail and coach. During his extensive itinerary, he made a particular point of visiting prisons and mental institutions.

He even took a glimpse at the prairie. Needless to say, he wasn’t impressed.

His thoughts on the prairie and other observations of North American culture would be documented in October of 1842 in the book American Notes for General Circulation

In this segment of Prairie Fire, the author himself regales us with his thoughts upon arriving in the prairie…




Alan Parker


Charles Dickens is brought to life by Alan Parker. Alan is Emeritus Professor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois where he served as Professor of Neurology and Chief of Staff in Veterinary Clinical Medicine. During his career, Parker published more than 200 academic papers and traveled the world giving continuing education seminars.

He has been married for more than 50 years and has two children and six grandchildren. When he's not running "granddad's taxi service", Alan enjoys leading the Boy Scouts and traveling.