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.

Postby vison » Mon Jan 11, 2010 3:38 pm

Great Expectations is his greatest work, I think. Except for the 2 endings bit.

Pip is a wonderful character.

I've read all of Dickens and enjoyed all of it, but certainly some more than other.

Anyone read Trollope? :)
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Postby Morwenna » Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:08 am

truehobbit wrote: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. :)


Hey, someone else likes that one! :D It seems to be the least successful of his Christmas books, and it seems it has always been that way. I do see flaws in it, but there are times when I can't stop re-reading it!
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Postby GoodSam » Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:57 am

I have to confess that I have just read my first Dickens novel, A Christmas Carol from Charles Dickens' Christmas Stories. Dickens was never compulsory reading for my in any of my schooling, so I can approach him on my own terms.

I really enjoyed A Christmas Carol though it seemed very much like a rerun since I have seen so many renditions on film and stage. I agree with the criticism about his wordiness, but at the end I found it far more moving than any movie or stage adaptation I've seen. Too bad many of what we now consider classics were written at a time when authors were paid by the word rather than the content of their story. I wonder what Dickens' works would be like if he were to write them in an environment where the volume of words didn't affect the paycheck.

I am now reading "The Chimes". The beginning of that story reminded me of a Michener novel. the story got interesting as soon as the focus changed from a description of the bells and their history and moved on to actual people.
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Postby Morwenna » Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:55 am

"The Chimes" is tough going. It's technically easy enough to read, but it's just plain painful in many places. It's the one I re-read least often of all the Christmas books. But Dickens called it as he saw it. And in many ways things haven't changed much, sad to say.
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Postby GoodSam » Wed Dec 22, 2010 9:41 am

I just got to the scene in the bell tower. Freaky!
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Dickens Bicentennial!!

Postby Morwenna » Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:52 am

I probably should start a new thread for this, to get attention. Anyone else here reading Dickens in honor of the landmark? Most of mine are packed away, but there is a copy of the Christmas Books where I can get at it easily, and I think there's at least one novel on the shelves. (I have ALL of them, some in several copies, but most are packed away!) There are all kinds of things on the internet, radio, TV, and in local and regional exhibitions right about now, even here in the US! Lucky me. :D:D:D
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Postby SilverScribe » Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:08 pm

I was just thinking of the same thing Morwenna . . . but I think Dickens' own thread in here is the best place to pose your question.

I'm in the middle of another book just now, but maybe a cruise through one of my favourite Dicken's volumes when I'm done might be nice. :)

I thought the Google splash being displayed today was particularly well done, and I was somewhat surprised when I realized it was his 200th birthday. Yowzer!

I love most of his works and I think I have a copy of nearly every one of his books/stories. I had a chance to buy a beautiful leather bound set of all his works when I was in England many years ago, but alas, even though the set's price was reasonable, the shipping would have been horrendously expensive. :shock:

Someday though . . . ;)
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Postby Morwenna » Wed Feb 08, 2012 10:44 am

Years ago (decades, even) I had a shot at a complete set of Dickens, illustrated and all, for a measly hundred. Nowadays I wouldn't flinch at a hundred; but back then I was earning a lot less and was still single, and there was no way. Why don't deals like that come my way nowadays? :D

Last night we watched an adaptation of The Old Curiosity Shop with Derek Jacobi as the grandfather. They changed too much at the end. :( About a decade or so ago there was one being serialized late at night, but we never got to see all the episodes. Otherwise we watch every Dickens adaptation we can find; hubby seeks them out for me, bless his heart. :heart:

I loved the Google too. I spent most of my breaks reading all the articles on Dickens I could find.

And that's another thing: among all those stored books is my collection of books ABOUT Dickens and his works! And I see there's a new biography out. Something else to get!
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Postby SilverScribe » Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:24 pm

Oooo, good score in the stored books, Morwenna! :D

The last adaptation I watched of one of Dickens' works was Great Expectations with Ioan Gruffudd as Pip. It was wonderful to see him with another really classical part (having loved his roles in the A&E Hornblower movies), but as is usual with film adaptations, too many really important elements of Dickens' story got changed. *sigh* The ending was anemic to say the least . . . ;)

I've kept an eye out here for a complete set of his books in our Second Hand Book shops (we have some good ones) but alas, there's always something wrong. Either volumes are missing, or the bindings are shot, or the books are water damaged . . . I'll keep watching though.

Our main library is having a huge Book Sale this Friday, so I'm going to nip over and see if there's anything interesting. They're selling books for $2 and DVD's for $1, so . . . y'know. How can I miss that?

:D:D:D
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Postby Morwenna » Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:54 pm

I love the library sales. :heart: But we have so many books I have to be cautious. Still, the only Dickens works per se that I'd be interested in right now would be a complete set, with illustrations. If I had that, I'd jettison most of the single volumes I have, some of which are in pretty rough shape. There are a few I'd keep though. One, and I can't remember which book it is, is a very small size hardbound with super-thin pages, and it is complete! And there are a few paperbacks I'd keep just because I like the introductory material. (Plus, they're easier to cart back & forth on buses.)

But I'm always looking for more works ABOUT Dickens! There are so many I've read in library copies that I'd love to have for myself. But I know I have more than a dozen as it is. One that I really love is The Life and Times of Ebenezer Scrooge, which has the Christmas Carol and a whole flock of articles about the writing of the story, the historical background, the various film adaptations up to the time of writing (pretty out of date by now!), and so on. And there are both the Edgar Johnson and Peter Ackroyd biographies, and collections of essays, and so on... I miss those books! We really need to get into that storage bin!
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Postby Silverberry_Spritely » Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:31 am

Witchwench wrote:He is just so darn wordy!!



He was paid per word.

I'm sure he cared for his craft, but he really cared deeply for his paycheck.
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Postby SilverScribe » Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:25 pm

Silverberry_Spritely wrote:I'm sure he cared for his craft, but he really cared deeply for his paycheck.

Perhaps, but that would be understandable considering that as a child, his entire family except for himself spent time in a debtor's prison, and he got a taste of cruel working conditions for next to no pay quite early in life . . .

:D:D:D
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Postby Morwenna » Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:46 am

Not only that, but even after he had his own household he still had to occasionally bail out his still-improvident parents. And he ended up with 9 children who survived childhood. Several times he packed up the household and moved to the continent for a spell, to save money.
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Postby Silverberry_Spritely » Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:54 am

SilverScribe wrote:Perhaps, but that would be understandable considering that as a child, his entire family except for himself spent time in a debtor's prison, and he got a taste of cruel working conditions for next to no pay quite early in life . . .

:D:D:D


That's a good reason to learn hard work. ;)
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Postby Tariel » Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:28 am

Well, a long time ago, I vowed to myself that when I started reading Dickens, A Tale of two Cities would be the last, 'cause I tried reading it, and found it really bloody and horrific. I made a private exception for the last few pages which I read over and over, as they were just so moving, I always felt.

Imagine my surprise, when stuck in my redundant (Sometimes it feels like I have read everything in there, and what I haven't read I don't want to read) school library, I picked it up and found myself engrossed instantaneously.

'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...'

And God, SYDNEY CARTON!

So, so, so, so eloquently beautiful.

Now I have to go after the rest of them. Just the opposite of what I planned to do.
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Postby Morwenna » Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:52 am

Haha!! Welcome to the club! :twisted:
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Postby frodolives668 » Sun Jun 24, 2012 11:32 am

I began reading Oliver Twist shortly after watching the movie (the one with Elijah Wood...sigh!). I am very familliar with London in the 1800's as I've studied it at length about a year back. I can proudly say now, that the movie was an utter lie. However, I am enjoying the book.

I read Great Expectations a while ago; not my thing. Everytime the story metioned that lady in the wedding gown (was that great expectations or that other one?), I wanted to scream "GET OVER IT!!"

And I read A Christmas Carol about every year or so, even though I don't actually celebrate christmas. Scrooge has good managment skills and he would have loved Ronald Reagen's ideas.
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Postby portia » Sun Jun 24, 2012 5:17 pm

Someday, when I have a lot of time (HA!) I am going to read enough Dickens to be able to explain why I do not like his work.

Stay tuned, but do not hold your breath.
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Postby frodolives668 » Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:51 am

I'm looking for the one...which one was it that had the kid in it?...David something...
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Postby Niphredil33 » Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:04 am

Copperfield.

About Great Expectations and 2 endings - I remember reading it and feeling it came to the end about 4/5 in, and then it continued - I wonder if this is this what Vison meant. It's my favourite Dickens novel, too.
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Postby Morwenna » Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:33 pm

Yes, Great Expectations was the one with the lady in the wedding gown. :)

We're beginning some storage-bin work, and I have come across a few of the Dickens-related books, but I haven't brought them home yet because I haven't made space for them yet. But I'm working on it. :) I'm also working on space for the Inklings-related books I haven't found yet. (Some of them I have!)
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Re: Dickens

Postby siddharth » Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:02 am

I haven't read ALL of his works but yes, I'm a big fan!

I cannot pick favorites, but perhaps the most memorable ones are Tale of two cities and Great Expectations. :D
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Re: Dickens

Postby Morwenna » Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:23 am

A few of his books, all from the last half of his works, are shorter than the rest (Edwin Drood excepted): Hard Times, A Tale of Two Cities, and Great Expectations. He was finally capable of telling a large tale in fewer words; in other words, he tightened up his style. Of course that doesn't account for Little Dorrit or Our Mutual Friend! Anyway, some critics think that Great Expectations is his greatest work, because it is told so economically.

I still prefer Bleak House. :)
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Re: Dickens

Postby siddharth » Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:27 am

Morwenna wrote:A few of his books, all from the last half of his works, are shorter than the rest (Edwin Drood excepted): Hard Times, A Tale of Two Cities, and Great Expectations. He was finally capable of telling a large tale in fewer words; in other words, he tightened up his style. Of course that doesn't account for Little Dorrit or Our Mutual Friend! Anyway, some critics think that Great Expectations is his greatest work, because it is told so economically.

I still prefer Bleak House. :)


Haven't read Bleakhouse. But if I'd to pick between the other two, I'd perhaps go with Tale of two cities, just because I like historical novels better. :D
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Re: Dickens

Postby MeadowForest » Tue Jul 09, 2013 2:41 pm

I've read A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, Nicholas Nickleby and Oliver Twist. Possibly another, but I forget. I found Nicholas Nickleby quite hard going and rather dull. David Copperfield has much more to it and I thought Uriah Heep was a greatly imagined character. Eventually I will read more of his, though it's not my favourite style.
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Re: Dickens

Postby Morwenna » Wed Jul 10, 2013 12:28 pm

Dickens started off writing in the picaresque style of the generation or two before him, which was his early reading material; Nickeby dates from that period. As he went on, his style matured, and it evolved as did the literature of his time and place in general. Nickleby harks back to things like Tom Jones, which I find unreadable! It's the old-fashioned style that even makes Pickwick stiff going.

His later books are much better on coherent plot, starting with Dombey. Though Chuzzlewit is more like the older works in plotting style, it's sort of transitional in writing style. Curiosity Shop begins to show some progress too, though it's quite melodramatic. And one must remember that his biggest influence was the theater of his time, which wasn't high art in England at all at that period; it was heavily melodramatic and comic.

If I don't get out of this post I'll bore you all far more than Nickleby could ever do! :D
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Re: Dickens

Postby siddharth » Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:41 am

Morwenna, what's Bleakhouse about? I'm thinking of trying it sometime. :)
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Re: Dickens

Postby MeadowForest » Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:20 am

Morwenna wrote:If I don't get out of this post I'll bore you all far more than Nickleby could ever do! :D


Hehe! Don't worry - I found what you said interesting to read. :D
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Re: Dickens

Postby Morwenna » Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:18 am

siddharth wrote:Morwenna, what's Bleakhouse about? I'm thinking of trying it sometime. :)

He takes on the Chancery court of the time, where wills and so on were probated; some real-life cases lasted years. This book uses such a case to highlight various character types and to show the effect such red-tape has on otherwise innocent people. There's also a mystery involving scandals and parentage, and anothr one concerning a lost will, and there are enough unsavory characters in there to keep everyone guessing. One neat feature (which some people love and others can't stand) is that there are 2 narrators: one omniscient, who tells the tale in the present tense; and one first-person narrator, the only female one he ever uses, who tells her own story in the past tense. The two narratives parallel and complement each other but rarely actually touch (I can only think of one point where they touch).
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Re: Dickens

Postby siddharth » Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:08 am

I'm not that much into court-stories, and haven't read much of them. But the style sure sounds interesting! VERY interesting.
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