The Battle Of The Great 19th-century Novelists with Professor John Mullan arguing for Dickens and historian Simon Schama arguing for Tolstoy. Bringing their arguments to life with readings we had Tom Hiddleston, star of Marvel's Thor and The Avengers, and Zawe Ashton, acclaimed for her roles in Fresh Meat and Wanderlust. The debate was chaired by Bonnie Greer.
Dickens. Tolstoy. Their names and reputations shake the ground – and so do their books, if you drop one. They are the two greatest novelists from the century when novels were really great. Both captured their countries’ very souls and, as vastly influential social reformers, savagely criticised them as well. But whose legacy is more enduring? Whose vision truer and more relevant today? Should you embark on War and Peace or Our Mutual Friend?