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There's something about Dickens

I have been doing "research"(read "killed time with costume dramas"). And it made me realise that I haven't really discussed Dickens with anyone and I would like to know where my opinions stand in the general view.

If you had him as compulsory reading it is all probably boring old news to you, so hence the cut.

I have to say that I haven't actually read anything by him. I did pick up "Pickwick papers" in 1999 and didn't make it any further than a few chapters at most and that was at the time I made effort to read everything I borrowed from the library. I have no memory of what they were about.

I have a vague memory of watching something on tv that might have been David Copperfield that didn't impress me much.

I decided to start from clean sheet and give him another go and watch what periodpieces has to offer.

My first was "Our Mutual Friend" and I liked it. Can't think of anything to say about it at the moment, maybe later if you poke me.

The second was "Little Dorrit". Quite interesting even if I was amazed at the characters' ability to drop dead right when the story needed them to. Even the house collapsed right after the big secret was revealed. Oh and the owner who had not once come out of it for ten years had just come out. But she did drop dead at the sight of it for no apparent reason. Still LOLing about that. And what was up with the tax collector's mannerisms?

Then it was Nicholas Nickleby and it reminded me why I had been hesitant about Dickens in the first place. The main character is annoying. He can do no wrong and frankly his righteousness looks ridiculous. He sees a girl once or twice and he is in love with her. Let's add a nightmare of a boarding school, characters who seem to get off on tormenting people and a villain with unexplained motivations and we are set to go.

I still have Great Expectations on my waiting list and even opened the file, but something about the atmosphere of the opening scene made me change my mind and leave it for another time.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm bemused that someone who is considered a classic and a great writer would write such crowd pleaser plots with Stuish characters to rant about social issues.

My f-list seems to be quite knowledgeable about Austen, so what about Dickens? Am I the only one late to the party?



Oh and trying the integrated twitter thing. Please don't kill me.

Comments

I read "Christmas Carol" and watched it in a few versions. I also watched "David Copperfield" and "Oliver Twist", I think, but I'm not sure. Not that I have a lot to say about the last two ^^;
I don't believe I know anything of the plot of Christmas Carol. If I remember correctly the book had a part in popularising Christmas?
:O Never read the story about Scrooge? You could say it popularise Christmas in a way, but it's more about how people can change due to some events. I'm sure you at least heard about the story in which one terrible guy is visited by three spirits of Christmas and changes after that. That's what "A Christmas Carol" is about.
The name sounds vaguely familiar, but I can't say that I know the story. From the wiki entry on Christmas "By the 1820s, sectarian tension had eased in Britain and writers, including William Winstanly, began to worry that Christmas was dying out. These writers imagined Tudor Christmas as a time of heartfelt celebration, and efforts were made to revive the holiday. In 1843, Charles Dickens wrote the novel A Christmas Carol, that helped revive the 'spirit' of Christmas and seasonal merriment.[81][82] Its instant popularity played a major role in portraying Christmas as a holiday emphasizing family, goodwill, and compassion.[83] Dickens sought to construct Christmas as a family-centered festival of generosity, in contrast to the community-based and church-centered observations, the observance of which had dwindled during the late 18th century and early 19th century.[84] Superimposing his secular vision of the holiday, Dickens influenced many aspects of Christmas that are celebrated today in Western culture, such as family gatherings, seasonal food and drink, dancing, games, and a festive generosity of spirit.". I think I read something like this before and that's the only connection I have with Christmas Carol.
Well. I guess they might be right about his input into reviving Christmas, but I never looked at the story in this way ^^;
No, you aren't the only one who's yet to cotton onto dickens. I read Christmas Carol in 6th grade and disliked it. Tried tale of two cities around the same time with the same result. In high school we did Christmas Carol and I ended up loving it- both the book and many, many MANY of the movies (the design team watched them as inspiration for what we wanted our Christmas Carol to feel like). Weirdly I've never read anything else.... Carol is way creepy though. I'd rec the one with Patrick Stewart. Because..Patrick Stewart.
It's interesting how CC is the one everyone is familiar with. That's a reason to look into it if nothing else.

I just realised, is that a P&P quote?
yes, it is. Well, a Jane Austen quote anyway!
I never had Dickens as compulsory reading. I read 'A Christmas Carol' and enjoyed it, but was rather meh about Tale of Two Cities. I think that's all the Dickens I've read; I remember hearing positive reviews about the adaptation of Our Mutual Friend, though.

lol WAIT WHAT Little Dorrit dropped dead? O__O

Well, Dickens did write to please; his works were serialized in magazines after all. ;P

I am much more knowledgeable about Austen than Dickens, I confess.

What's the integrated twitter thing?
I see, I thought that in English speaking environment he might be. Chrismas Carol seems to be the popular one among f-list. :)

Not Little Dorrit, but at least three other characters did. The only explanation for their deaths was shock, I guess, one of them got a little weird before dying, the others just dropped dead.

It makes him sound awfully like those BFF fics that have something that engages a lot of fans, but can't really be called quality writing. The word count also mattered for Dickens, right? Interesting how those works made world classics. Not saying that all his works are alike, but still.

That's interesting. I think Dickens is more widely known at least around here

The retweet thing you disabled in your journal.
Tale of Two Cities would have been compulsory reading for me, except I moved high schools. :P

Okay, that's kinda pushing it to have three characters die of shock. It's not that commonplace, I should think.

Yeah, word count also mattered for Dickens's pay. Actually, I like this characterization. Dickens was a Big Name Writer whose work was technically fine and all but not mind-blowingly amazing to me.
I think my cousin who attended the same school as I had to read Oliver Twist or something, but she was six years behind me.

Well, they weren't the healthiest people and not very young, but there was no explanation to their deaths. Little Dorrit's father had some unpleasant experiences, got paranoid and started to forget things and died soon after. That one I can understand. then his brother decided to sit with his dead body through the night and he was found dead as well in the morning. No idea why. And then there was the paralysed woman who wanted to do something about her big dark secret got up for the first time after ten years, left the house and came back and her house collapsed before her eyes (why then? it was known that it was in a bad condition, but still) and in the next scene it is said that she is dead.

It's sad that I can't think of any other Victorian male writer of notice and all he has is this BNW crowd pleaser fic. from my experience I suspect that his later works are better, but I should know more of his works and actually read them to know better.
I see, I see. The brother's death is definitely more inexplicable, and wtf, the house collapses and the woman dies? O__O Well. At least it is somewhat dramatic.

The only other big Victorian male writer I can think of right now is Thomas Hardy, who is depressing like none other. I haven't read any of his books because I feel that I'm going to have a cloud of gloom hanging over me all day. (synopsis for most of his works: rocks fall, people die.)
Maybe it was different in the book, but it's pretty much how it went. Sure, there were little showers of dust from the ceilings etc a few times, but it was still too weird to be truly climatic.

Ah, completely forgot about him despite having read Tess of the d'Urbervilles. Not a bad book, but quite depressing and not what I need at the moment. When writing this post I was looking for something that showed how the high society of the time worked. Maybe like Jane Austen, but Victorian?
What about Georgette Heyer? She wrote much later than Austen & Hardy, in the 1900s, focused a lot on Regency romance (Edwardian more so than Victorian).
I tried to read Tale of Two Cities but quite because it didn't hold my interest. Otrher than that, I'm really only familiar with Christmas Carol through different movie adaptations. Also my 6th grade class performed Christmas Carol on stage. I volunteered to play the Ghost of Christmas Future because the part had no spoken lines and I got to hide inside a big black cloak and hood.
I saw a link to one adaptation recently. Maybe I'll watch it sometime in near future. Haven't tried the Tale of Two Cities yet.