Decoding Dickens: Contexts, Inspirations, Approaches – 21 May 2021

Decoding Dickens: Contexts, Inspirations, Approaches – 21 May 2021, 2pm-6.40pm (BST)

An online networking symposium that introduces the ‘savage stenographic mystery’ of Dickens’s shorthand and the challenges of deciphering unusual scripts

Organisers: Dr Claire Wood (University of Leicester) and Professor Hugo Bowles (University of Foggia)

Join us on 21 May to explore Charles Dickens’s mysterious shorthand writing and its place within a little-known stenographic culture.

•         Learn about the history of shorthand from the seventeenth century through to the nineteenth, as well as Dickens’s struggles to master Gurney’s Brachygraphy.

•         Try your hand at decoding Dickens’s shorthand (optional pre-symposium task).

•         Hear from curators about fascinating shorthand manuscripts in their collections.

•         Engage with a range of inspirational digital humanities projects through case studies presented by ‘Dickens Code’ network members.

•         Reflect upon the challenges of decoding one of Dickens’s undeciphered shorthand scripts and hear about approaches rooted in Informatics and Forensic Linguistics.

•         Contribute to conversations about how we can involve people in the decoding process – and ultimately crack the ‘Dickens Code’!

This free event is open to all with an interest in Dickens, stenography, word puzzles, and digital humanities. It is part of the AHRC-funded ‘Dickens Code’ project. To book your free place, please visit:

The full programme can be found here:

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