I don't know how long before he died he wrote it, but there's a splendid piece by Christopher Hitchens at Vanity Fair - 'Charles Dickens's Inner Child'. Hitch explains the concept embodied in the title of the article, as one source of Dickens's achievement; advises against feelings of guilt over 'being not quite sure which character is from which book'; and illustrates Dickens's capacity for making amends for some of his mistakes. (Via.)
Apropos: it's very early in the year on this, the fifth, day of January, yet there are apparently already people fed up with the Dickens extravaganza (so, at any rate, says Dovegrey). Here's my word of advice to them: you can just ignore it, not watch or listen to or read anything you don't want to, while letting others, who may want to enjoy it, enjoy it. I'm one of them, and have decided to start the year appropriately by reading Claire Tomalin's new biography. So far - about half way along - so grand. I'm loving it.