Dickens

What other authors do Tolkien fans enjoy? Come on in and enter into a broadened conversation on the great literature of this and other times.

Dickens

Postby IamMoose » Mon Sep 25, 2006 10:52 am

I have a love hate relationship with Dickens. I've read about half his books and the older I get the more I tend to enjoy them but it's still not a style I warm too easily. Too caricatured.. too impersonal I think. Even when he's depicting grief it seems filtered through a glass.

Anyway a couple of days ago I was looking for something to read so I picked up Dombey and Son from a bookshelf. I am enjoying it, actually. Has anyone read it? Any comments on Dickens in general? But no spoilers please!
User avatar
IamMoose
Mariner

 
Posts: 5573
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2006 9:04 am
Top

Postby eowyn of ithilien » Mon Sep 25, 2006 8:46 pm

i'm reading great expectations for uni atm, and i'm actually enjoying it a lot more than i expected. i think you're right about enjoying dickens more as you get older. i read oliver twist when i was about nine and it bored me silly, but i think i'm starting to get his style a bit better now - i'm old enough to get the dark humour this time.
User avatar
eowyn of ithilien
Citizen of Imladris
 
Posts: 75
Joined: Mon Sep 18, 2006 7:47 am
Top

Postby Elflover » Tue Sep 26, 2006 4:59 am

I loved Great Expectations. Its one of those books most people read in school and hate, but I really enjoyed it. Charles Dickens has so many great stories, like A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities. He is so insightful on human nature and life in the harsh times that he lived.


Moose, I'm not familiar with Dombey and son. Sorry I can't help you there. :|
User avatar
Elflover
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 1696
Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2002 9:43 pm
Location: Arizona
Top

Postby IamMoose » Tue Sep 26, 2006 6:40 am

I read GE in school and loathed it ;). It put me off Dickens for years .One day I might reread it. At the moment i am going to read all the ones I have never read before.
User avatar
IamMoose
Mariner

 
Posts: 5573
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2006 9:04 am
Top

Postby Witchwench » Wed Oct 11, 2006 8:22 pm

I have only read just Tale of Two Cities, Christmas Carol and David Copperfield. I liked all of them, but I do have to warm up everytime I start to read Dickens.

He is just so darn wordy!!

take a look at the following text taken from Tale of Two Cities

There was a steaming mist in all the hollows, and it had roamed in its forlornness up the hill, like an evil spirit, seeking rest and finding none. A clammy and intensely cold mist, made its slow way through the air in ripples that visibly followed and overspread one another, as the waves of an unwholesome sea might do. It was dense enough to shut out everything from the light of the coach-lamps but these its own workings and a few yards of road; and the reek of the labouring horse steamed into it, as if they had made it all.



All of that to convey that it was a) misty and b) damp and c) hard to see

Don't get me wrong I enjoy descriptives, but to the extent that Dickens does it..well I just have to get used to it every time I have picked up a book.

It is like all I have been eating is cake with frosting and Dickens gives me cake with frosting and rose buds, daisys and leaves to garnish the darned thing.

Anyway...all of his books can be read online if one is into that :D
User avatar
Witchwench
Mariner

 
Posts: 6928
Joined: Mon May 22, 2000 4:13 am
Top

Postby Elflover » Wed Oct 11, 2006 10:06 pm

I would love to read Dickens' works in your outline form, Witchy! :lol:

If you want "wordy", you should try Moby Dick by Herman Melville. For being such a famous work, it is the most boring pointless book I have ever read. It is about 100 pages of story gleaned from 700 pages of description. I'll go for Dickens anyday. :)
User avatar
Elflover
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 1696
Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2002 9:43 pm
Location: Arizona
Top

Postby Witchwench » Thu Oct 12, 2006 1:35 pm

Elfover, I was assigned to read Moby Dick as a freshman in college, I was bored to tears..it was the only book I put down half way and picked up the Cliff notes on :D :shock:
User avatar
Witchwench
Mariner

 
Posts: 6928
Joined: Mon May 22, 2000 4:13 am
Top

Postby Urulooke » Sun Oct 15, 2006 10:06 am

I read Moby Dick a few years ago. It was pretty good, but some parts seemed long. It seemed like for half the book Melville was just talking about whales instead of advancing the story. But I still liked it :)


-Urulooke-
User avatar
Urulooke
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 1726
Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2002 4:44 pm
Location: Titan, orbiting Saturn
Top

Postby Hero's Song » Mon Oct 16, 2006 7:06 pm

I agree wholeheartedly about "Moby Dick" - I read it aloud to my husband and I just kept wanting to scream, "Get back to the story, dagnabbit! >-O If he had stuck with the story and about 1/4 of the description of whaling, it would have been great. I guess even novels were used as teaching tools in that era.

Regarding Dickens, so far I've read, Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Great Expectations and A Christmas Carol - one of my favorite all-time books. In general I have enjoyed them. The minor characters always seem much more interesting than the major ones though, which bugs me sometimes. I've tried to read "Tale of Two Cities" but couldn't get past the wooooooordy first chapter. I'll have to give it a go again.

Dickens did have a wonderful "way with words" and his novels are great to read aloud. I believe he performed many of his works through reading them aloud in front of paying audiences, doing the "voices," so they are especially great for that. :)
User avatar
Hero's Song
Ranger of the North


 
Posts: 2883
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2000 1:00 am
Top

Postby IamMoose » Wed Oct 18, 2006 11:21 am

LOL I read Moby Dick a few years ago and enjoyed it, sort of, but yeah, too much about whaling, for heaven's sake ;).
User avatar
IamMoose
Mariner

 
Posts: 5573
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2006 9:04 am
Top

Postby MrsSmeagol » Tue Dec 26, 2006 12:42 pm

I re-read David Copperfield, Oliver Twist and/or Nicholas Nickleby most years. Just love them. Recently read Sketches By Boz which was fascinating and a good read, although not a novel.

Haven't read Dombey yet (am saving some Dickens so I have summat to look forward to!) The only Dickens I didn't enjoy was Tale of Two Cities and also Hard Times. The BBC recently did a fantastic version of Bleak House, with Gillian Anderson as Lady Deadlock (with an immaculate upper class English accent and a spectacular piece of acting). So I read Bleak House afterwards.

I'm kind of with Oscar Wilde who said of 'The Old Curiosity Shop':
A man would have to have a heart of stone to read the death of Little Nell without laughing,”


My ex partner grew up round Clerkenwell and used to take me to see the curiosity shop (still there) and all the other Dickens associated places (His own family had lived in the Italian quarter which was right by Dickens' house, where he walked the streets at night, endlessly). Love Dickens.
User avatar
MrsSmeagol
Shield Bearer
 
Posts: 409
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2004 11:24 am
Location: Yorkshire, England
Top

Postby Thenie » Wed Jan 03, 2007 6:23 pm

Love Dickens, too!

And wordy? Well... if your words were being published in a newspaper and you got paid per installment - i'd fill up those pages with words too!!


GE is my fav: Ms. Havisham and Satis house - - the greatest and most freaky creation of a character I've ever read!

Though the quoting of the Christmas Carol duing holiday specials come in handy, too!

I've read Tale of Two Cities as well . . . and clearly have some new books for my "must" list!

:)
User avatar
Thenie
Rider of the Mark

 
Posts: 685
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2002 1:37 pm
Top

Postby IamMoose » Sat Jan 13, 2007 9:20 am

Finished Little DOrrit .. it wasn't one of his best. Am halfway through Our Mutual Friend now.. this one is excellent, can't understand why it's not better known! Martin CHuzzelwit next.
User avatar
IamMoose
Mariner

 
Posts: 5573
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2006 9:04 am
Top

Postby K.Evenstar » Thu Jan 25, 2007 1:53 pm

I struggled with Dickens up to the age of about seventeen... when I read Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. After that it was a case of "Come back Dickens! All is forgven!" I really like Great Expectations (I even enjoy being creeped out by Miss Havisham.) I started reading it in school when I was thrteen and finished it about five years later. Oliver Twist is awesome too (though silly Dickens missed out all the songs. ;))

Keve xx
User avatar
K.Evenstar
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 2089
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2003 2:55 am
Location: UK
Top

Postby IamMoose » Sun Feb 04, 2007 10:32 am

Ooooh! Tess is one of my favourite books in the ENglish language :). I love Hardy!

I've just finished Our Mutual Friend which I really enjoyed, possibly his best so far or certainly in the top three. I am about 100 pages into Martin Chuzzlewit right now but finding it rather a chore frankly. Will probably read Oliver Twist next.
User avatar
IamMoose
Mariner

 
Posts: 5573
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2006 9:04 am
Top

Postby portia » Fri Feb 09, 2007 2:06 pm

I generally can't get through a Dickens book. Wordy, of course. The fact that there was a reason doesn't make it easier on the reader. Complex in storylines, unattrative characters. I simply can't get into it. Even "A Christmas Carol" is tough. Not my cup of tea, clearly.
Last edited by portia on Thu Sep 20, 2007 1:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
portia
Ringbearer

 
Posts: 10841
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2003 9:57 pm
Location: Lost in the forest
Top

Postby K.Evenstar » Fri Sep 14, 2007 4:15 am

Recently decided to give some of my dad's collection an airing: he spent all this money on a complete collection of nice hardback Dickens books - and doesn't even like Dickens. A Tale of Two Cities was amazing! It took a while to get into but even longer to get out of at the end. I was so engrossed, it is the best book I've read all year, and I have read over 100 (that includes a lot of kids' books.)
User avatar
K.Evenstar
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 2089
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2003 2:55 am
Location: UK
Top

Postby feaguire » Tue Sep 18, 2007 3:04 am

We had to read Oliver Twist in my Extension English class at school. Just today, in fact, we had to hand in an essay examining some textual aspects in the novel and other popular culture texts.
I did mine on characterisation. I like the way Dickens uses the over exaggerated characters, like the way that Oliver is so unrealistically good and Bill Sikes is so cruel.

All in all I would say that I enjoyed Oliver Twist. I mean, it was a bit tedious in some parts, but the overall story line was pretty interesting and there's something about Dickens' writing style that I both love and hate. :D

Fea :)
User avatar
feaguire
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 1406
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 2:07 am
Location: In your house.
Top

Postby Morwenna » Sun Sep 30, 2007 7:07 pm

How did I ever miss this thread? I love Dickens!!!

I read A Christmas Carol when I was a child, along with seeing adaptations on TV (mostly old movies), and dabbled a bit at The Chimes and The Cricket on the Hearth (we had a slightly-abridged three-fer volume) which didn't grab my attention yet. Then in high school it was David Copperfield freshman year, and A Tale of Two Cities sophomore year; and after all that I was hooked. Once I got to college I read Oliver Twist, The Old Curiosity Shop, and many short pieces on my own, then got Bleak House in one of my classes. That did it! Bleak House is my favorite to this day. My other favorite is Martin Chuzzlewit, for entirely different reasons. As for Dombey and Son, I think it's very good. My least favorite (at this time) is Barnaby Rudge, or possibly Little Dorrit; it depends on my mood.

I don't mind that he's wordy; the real trick is deciphering his 10-line sentences! I chuckle when I come across any other author who manages to get away with such a long sentence: can he pull it off as well as Dickens did?
Morwenna
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 4414
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2007 1:41 pm
Location: New Haven CT
Top

Postby MrsSmeagol » Mon Oct 01, 2007 2:15 am

Can't believe I forgot to say this before, given where are....

Re. Dickens serialisations, I caught just the final episode of Alan Bleasdale's adaptation of 'Oliver Twist' - with Andy Serkis as Bill Sikes. I'd BEG any Dickens/LOTR movie fans to beg steal or borrow this version as Andy Serkis (pre Gollum) turns in what is probably the best Bill Sikes I've ever seen! I always loved Oliver Reed but Serkis blows him out of the water as the scariest Bill Sikes you'll ever, ever see. I'm guessing Peter Jackson saw this before he cast him, he's that good!

The amazing thing about Oliver Twist is - look at the date it was written - mid 1830s. It is not a Victorian novel - but a Georgian one, in spirit. And, the main female character is a prostitute - I think we sometimes forget how bold and innovative that must have been and the shock value it must have had in 1837. And for the first time, a novelist is writing about working class people and the criminal underclass and Londoners of various ethnic origins - something we also tend to overlook. I think for those reasons alone, it remains his most outstanding piece of work.

Am currently re-reading Nicholas Nickleby - I grew up in a Yorkshire village which had one of the coaching inns - a stop for the Highflier coach to London in the 1830s - which undoubtedly was one of Dickens' stops when he travelled to Yorkshire to research the schools section of Nicholas Nickleby. It's a few doors down from a boys' school for the poor - possibly one of the places he researched for Dotheboys Hall.

Martin Chuzzlewit is a fantastic read too but beware US readers as part of it is set there and he had a strong dislike of the US, having spent a fair bit of time over there - it's not a flattering portrait! (Also probably one reason why that particular book doesn't get serialised much!) It's annoyingly good in places and not so strong in others, also, as a novel.
User avatar
MrsSmeagol
Shield Bearer
 
Posts: 409
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2004 11:24 am
Location: Yorkshire, England
Top

Postby Morwenna » Mon Oct 01, 2007 4:57 pm

I never was offended by the American chapters of Chuzzlewit; satire is always welcome, and let's face it, Dickens was an equal-opportunity satirist. He took apart everyone, and never spared his own countrymen. That novel's strengths, by the way, to me are the characters and the atmosphere. Pecksniff and Sairey Gamp are obvious choices, but others that are interesting to watch are Tom Pinch, Mark Tapley, and Old Martin. And I find the development of Mercy's character to be fascinating. Watching Jonas's downhill slide is downright mesmerizing!
Morwenna
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 4414
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2007 1:41 pm
Location: New Haven CT
Top

Postby MrsSmeagol » Sun Oct 07, 2007 11:59 am

Ah glad you see it like that Morwenna. I wondered if that's why the BBC etc think differently. It's one of those Dickenses that when I first read it, remember thinking why have I never seen this done on TV/film? They probably imagine they would have a more limited market for it, but as you say, maybe folks elsewhere would see it differently anyways? Have only seen one attempt at it in all those years since though may well have missed some?

They were repeating the filmed version RSC stage production of Nicholas Nickleby recently - the one with Roger Rees from the 1980s. I just caught the last one and was gutted as it's one of my favourite things ever... I saw a few things at the RSC around that time but probably couldn't afford to get tickets for that at the time, but it's one of my biggest regrets now. Saw him do a few Shakespeares but missed out on seeing the Dickens which is sad as I can take or leave Shakespeare but love Dickens!
User avatar
MrsSmeagol
Shield Bearer
 
Posts: 409
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2004 11:24 am
Location: Yorkshire, England
Top

Postby Morwenna » Mon Oct 15, 2007 8:17 pm

Somewhere we have the taped RSC version of Nickleby which a friend taped for me when it was run here on TV about 20 years ago. I haven't watched much of it, more's the pity, but maybe when I find them (there's been a move since then) I'll have myself a marathon!

I've seen one version of Chuzzlewit; it had Pete Postlethwaite as Tigg. I thought it was very good. But of course it didn't do much with the American parts except to show that Eden wasn't at all what Martin and Mark expected! All the rest was the England end of the story. BTW, who played Pecksniff in that one? He was excellent! Almost as good as Postlethwaite!
Morwenna
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 4414
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2007 1:41 pm
Location: New Haven CT
Top

Postby K.Evenstar » Thu Aug 14, 2008 9:08 am

Giving this thread a bump as I've just been re-reading A Tale of Two Cities and it is even more powerful the second time around, because you can see Sydney Carton planning way in advance, rather than acting on the spur of the moment. What courage! What an ending!

I know Charles Darnay is rather a 2-dimensional character, but I like him lots anyway. Lucie is too good to be true, but then most of Dickens' heroines are.

Can anyone recommend an adaptation, film or TV? I want to watch one but am worried that it'll be "all wrong."
User avatar
K.Evenstar
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 2089
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2003 2:55 am
Location: UK
Top

Postby truehobbit » Thu Aug 14, 2008 12:08 pm

Mmh, that's my favourite Dickens. :)

Depending on how much of a purist you are about this, you might not like any adaptation. ;)
There are quite a few. There are two old movies, one with Ronald Colman from the 30s and one with Dirk Bogarde, from the 50s, as Sidney Carton.
As I find both those guys absolutely swoonsome, I enjoy the movies, but I have a problem with the fact that in both another actor is cast as Charles Darnay. I mean, this cries out for a double role, how else are you going to explain the ending?
The only film version (that I know of) to cast this as one, though, is a TV production from 1980. I haven't seen it since the 80s, but I remember quite liking it. :)
User avatar
truehobbit
Mariner


 
Posts: 9280
Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2002 5:01 pm
Location: in love
Top

Postby K.Evenstar » Sun Nov 23, 2008 3:05 pm

It's not that one but another, also from 1980, done by the BBC, that I've started watching. I'm not overly impressed so far. The adaptatation itself is good, so it's not a "purist" problem, but it's overacted and the guy who plays Carton and Darnay (again, same actor) is 1. not attractive and 2. has a really annoying nasal voice.

And here I sound so shallow. :roll: I'm not usually like this, but I guess I have a bit of a literature-geek-crush on Darnay (even if he is rather Mary-Sue-ish) and want them to get him (and of course Carton) just right.

Onto more serious notes, I've been watching the recent BBC "Little Dorrit." I'm very impressed, though I think, again, someone is overacting. Lamentably it is Andy Serkis of Gollum fame, so I hate to say it, but he is like a pantomime villain. Also the girl who plays Fanny Dorrit is a little over-the-top. Overall, however, it is a real treat to watch, done by the same people who did "Bleak House" a couple of years back. The newcomer who plays Amy does a good job - and she is not as drippy as she seemed in the book, which is a relief as I wanted to strangle the book Amy. :P
User avatar
K.Evenstar
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 2089
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2003 2:55 am
Location: UK
Top

Postby derli » Thu Jan 07, 2010 12:42 pm

I also have a love hate relationship with Dickens' works. I did enjoy Great Expectations. Trying to read Tale of Two Cities is like reading Paradise Lost, by John Milton.[/u]
derli
Petitioner to the Council
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2009 12:08 pm
Location: new orleans
Top

Postby Celebrimbor32 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:14 pm

I also have a love hate relationship with Dickens' works


I can't see how anyone who enjoys literature, old or new, can claim to hate Charles Dickens. That is somewhat analogous to a pianist claiming to hate Frederic Chopin! Yes, admittedly, Dickens does tend to be 'wordy', as someone put it, but so much ther better, I say. His 'wordiness' rarely puts me off and has even been a powerful tool to improving one's vocabulary :) We need more Dickens' in the world of literature, if you ask me. Besides that - Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky and James Joyce (to name but a few) all thought very highly of Charles Dickens. And as for A Tale of Two Cities, there is nothing better in all of Dickens' ouvre better than this particular novel, IMO. I never get tired of reading it.
User avatar
Celebrimbor32
Ranger of the North
 
Posts: 1512
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2001 9:22 pm
Location: U.S.A.
Top

Postby truehobbit » Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:21 pm

I read "The Battle of Life" from Dickens's Christmas Books over the holidays, liked it very much. Some oddities in the plot, I thought, but overall very good. :)
User avatar
truehobbit
Mariner


 
Posts: 9280
Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2002 5:01 pm
Location: in love
Top

Postby JewelSong » Sat Jan 09, 2010 5:53 am

It took me 3 tries before I was able to finally read "A Tale of Two Cities." I just had such a hard time getting past the dense prose...but I preservered because I knew that within all those words was a great story.

The 3rd time, I forced myself to continue past the first couple of chapters...and suddenly, I was in the story. Then I couldn't put it down. It's a great tale, with compelling themes and intricately-drawn characters set in a tumultuous time.

But I do understand it when people have a hard time with the "wordiness."
User avatar
JewelSong
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 4633
Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2002 6:31 am
Top

Next

Return to The Books (Other Authors)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest