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Bleak House (English Library) by Charles…
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Bleak House (English Library) (original 1853; edition 1971)

by Charles Dickens

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10,257199397 (4.2)5 / 1349
Member:adamtyoung
Title:Bleak House (English Library)
Authors:Charles Dickens
Info:Penguin Classics (1971), Paperback, 976 pages
Collections:Your library
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Bleak House by Charles Dickens (1853)

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English (189)  Spanish (3)  Catalan (2)  Italian (2)  Danish (1)  German (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (199)
Showing 1-5 of 189 (next | show all)
I had to read this one as part of my required reading for a history of publishing class that I took in college. The history of this book itself and how it was published was incredibly interesting, aside from the fact that the book is great. It's crazy to think that Dickens wrote the majority of his well known works in increments and adapted his writing according to the reactions of the audiences. Bleak House was beautifully atmospheric and, in classic Dickensian style, has all sorts of characters that are intertwined in ways that they don't realize until all loose ends gets tied. Highly recommend (even though the page count is incredibly intimidating). ( )
  justagirlwithabook | Aug 1, 2018 |
This book is a slow burn, but worth the wait. A long, winding tale, with a multitude of characters and subplots that neatly tie together in the end. It reminded me of The History of Tom Jones and The Woman in White. The characters are so well-developed, they could step right out of the page. I would not rank this among my favorite Dickens novels, but it is still very good. ( )
  mcountr | Jul 30, 2018 |
It always feels a bit presumptive when I am trying to review the masters of the novel, a Dickens, Hardy, or Eliot. What can someone like myself contribute, that might matter, to the appreciation of a masterpiece like Bleak House. And yet, I want to effuse about it, I want to praise it, I want to say how completely effective it is and how strangely relevant to our society if you merely put the characters in cars instead of horse-drawn conveyances. I want to tell everyone that within its pages you will find the human condition has changed less than the progress we have made might indicate. At their hearts people are in want of love and understanding, food and warmth, that they are greedy or kind or confused or evil in the same way regardless of the era of their birth.

One of the major characters, Esther, might be painted a bit too perfect and faultless, too sweet and grateful and considerate; but I find myself quite happy with her and wanting to believe that there might exist people who at least strive to be this good. John Jarndyce is one of the finest characters in fiction--a man who does good wherever he can and expects nothing in return, including thanks. And what can one say of Harold Skimpole? He is despicable because he never takes any responsibility for his actions and lives the life of a leech by cloaking himself in the guise of a child. He is a universally harmful person, at whom one chuckles in the beginning, but loathes by the end. A host of fascinating characters (Lady Dedlock, George the Trooper, and Inspector Bucket all shine) people this novel and keep the suspense and interest alive throughout. Because this is Dickens, you can be sure there are villains aplenty, innocents in danger of being squashed by society, and poverty of a level that is appalling. If there is anything Dickens understands it is class division and the inability of the ordinary man to lift himself out of the gutter once life has flung him there.

Then there is the condemnation of the legal system and the sad injustice that is built into its operations. The suit of Jarndyce and Jarndyce that is at the heart of the novel exposes in how little measure the legal system exists for the good or benefit of those who find themselves in its grasp. How sad, we are told, to wrap your life up in any expectation of justice or relief from the courts, what a waste of time for anyone but the lawyers who alone seem to profit from the venture.

Dickens knows his craft and provides just the right mix of sentiment, humor and mystery. In turn, I laughed aloud, cried a bit and neglected chores to get to the end of a chapter and the possible nugget of information that might help to solve one of the myriad mysteries presented. He plays with words and images and I could not help noting that the least “bleak” house of all was John Jarndyce’s home that officially carried the name.

Every time I read a true classic, I have to stop and kick myself for having been so long getting around to it. There is a reason these stories have lasted through centuries. There is a reason they do not fade into oblivion along with so many of their fellows. They spoke to the audience they were written for, and, they speak just as eloquently to the audience that finds them today. If I live long enough, I hope to be able to say I have read every Dickens novel. At least now I can say I have read Bleak House, and it was an experience worth having.
( )
  phantomswife | Jul 6, 2018 |
Although the beginning dragged a bit, I’m glad I kept up with it, because it wasn’t long before the story picked up and the various characters and over-crossing circumstances began to gel and collide by the end. I have to say though, personally for me, that I think it would have been better not paid for by the word, as I believe was the case when it was originally published serially, but with a good editor, even now that I see how it all ties together and the social commentary, some parts were still extraneous and overdone in my opinion.
( )
  RivetedReaderMelissa | Mar 22, 2018 |
Before reading any works by Charles Dickens, I really wanted to like everything he’d penned. I expected to, in fact, because of his reputation.

Alas! “Bleak House” is yet another of this highly-acclaimed and super-successful author’s novels that failed to engage me.

Too many characters, too many adverbs, and too much rambling on with no purpose equals a slow and unengaging narrative.

I see most others reviewers have high praise for both book and author, but sadly I can’t concur. ( )
  PhilSyphe | Mar 22, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 189 (next | show all)
Bleak House represents the author at a perfectly poised late-middle moment in his extraordinary art.
 
You have to embrace Bleak House for what it is – a rambling, confusing, verbose, over-populated, vastly improbable story which substitutes caricatures for people and is full of puns. In other words, an 800-page Dickens novel.
added by tim.taylor | editThe Millions, Janet Potter (Jan 31, 2011)
 

» Add other authors (72 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dickens, Charlesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barrett, SeanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bradbury, NicolaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Browne, Hablôt K.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Case, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chesterton, Gilbert KeithIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dickson, HughNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eagleton, TerryPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eikli, RagnhildTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gallagher, TeresaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holway, TatianaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnson, EdgarIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, J. HillisIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nabokov, VladimirContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nicholson, MilNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Page, NormanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sitwell, Sir OsbertIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Solomon, AbrahamCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zabel, MortonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
Dedicated, as a remembrance of our friendly union, to my companions in the guild of literature and art

Dedication of the 1853 edition
First words
London. Michaelmas term lately over, and the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincoln's Inn Hall.
Quotations
This world of ours has its limits too (as Your Highness shall find when you have made the tour of it, and are come to the brink of the void beyond).
His family is as old as the hills, and infinitely more respectable. He has a general opinion that the world might get on without hills, but would be done up without Dedlocks. He would on the whole admit Nature to be a good idea (a little low, perhaps, when not enclosed with a park-fence), but an idea dependent for its execution on your great county families.
Indeed, he married her for love. A whisper still goes about, that she had not even family; howbeit, Sir Leicester had so much family that perhaps he had enough, and could dispense with any more.
He is of what is called the old school - a phrase generally meaning any school that seems never to have been young.
He must confess to two of the oldest infirmities in the world: one was, that he had no idea of time; the other, that he had no idea of money.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0141439726, Paperback)

Bleak House is a satirical look at the Byzantine legal system in London as it consumes the minds and talents of the greedy and nearly destroys the lives of innocents--a contemporary tale indeed. Dickens's tale takes us from the foggy dank streets of London and the maze of the Inns of Court to the peaceful countryside of England. Likewise, the characters run from murderous villains to virtuous girls, from a devoted lover to a "fallen woman," all of whom are affected by a legal suit in which there will, of course, be no winner. The first-person narrative related by the orphan Esther is particularly sweet. The articulate reading by the acclaimed British actor Paul Scofield, whose distinctive broad English accent lends just the right degree of sonority and humor to the text, brings out the color in this classic social commentary disguised as a Victorian drama. However, to abridge Dickens is, well, a Dickensian task, the results of which make for a story in which the author's convoluted plot lines and twists of fate play out in what seems to be a fast-forward format. Listeners must pay close attention in order to keep up with the multiple narratives and cast of curious characters, including the memorable Inspector Bucket and Mr. Guppy. Fortunately, the publisher provides a partial list of characters on the inside jacket. (Running time: 3 hours; 2 cassettes)

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:42 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Bleak House, Dickens's most daring experiment in the narration of a complex plot, challenges the reader to make connections - between the fashionable and the outcast, the beautiful and the ugly, the powerful and the victims. Nowhere in Dickens's later novels is his attack on an uncaring society more imaginatively embodied, but nowhere either is the mixture of comedy and angry satire more deftly managed. Bleak House defies a single description. It is a mystery story, in which Esther Summerson discovers the truth about her birth and her unknown mother's tragic life. It is a murder story, which comes to a climax in a thrilling chase, led by one of the earliest detectives in English fiction, Inspector Bucket. And it is a fable about redemption, in which a bleak house is transformed by the resilience of human love.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 49 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141439726, 0141199091

Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400102642, 1400109086

Urban Romantics

An edition of this book was published by Urban Romantics.

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