Courtesy of Mr. Keillor:
"It was on this day in 1857 that Charles Dickens gave his first public reading. He liked to perform in public, he could make good money at it, and it got him away from home and from his wife. His first reading was of A Christmas Carol."
There are Dickens references turned up by a casual search. This chronology is part of one that has some good information capsules.
Hmm. Now that I read it again, Dickens; readings were the polar opposite of modern poetry readings, no?