On Dickens

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On Dickens

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Apr 2, 2007, 12:07 am

I know bmjaspers I starting The Pickwick Papers, and I completely loved A Tale of Two Cities, so I figured there might be some interest in the great and honorable Mr. Dickens.

By the way, if anyone else wants to start a topic or two for their interest(s), don't be shy!

Apr 2, 2007, 11:08 pm

Dickens is a good read, but it usually takes about 50 pages or so before I can really settle into his writing style. Has anyone read The Pickwick Papers before? It's looking like a long read, and I have so many other books waiting to be read...

Apr 3, 2007, 1:14 pm

For some reason, I can never get into Dickens. I've tried both A Tale of Two Cities and David Copperfield and abandoned both, I think because they're just too dense. Ordinarily I hate abridged versions, but do you think I should try one and see if that gets me past my Dickens-phobia?

Apr 3, 2007, 3:11 pm

Dickens isn't so much a favorite author, but I love Great Expectations. I just love the story. Even the Ethan Hawk/Gweneth Paltrow movie (which deviated liberally from the book) was lovely to watch because the story is so beautiful.

Normally, I don't like a love story, but this one is different. In some ways, at least.

Apr 3, 2007, 9:45 pm

#3 Jthierer, I'll admit I've never tried an abridged version, but Dickens is extremely dense. I usually end up rereading about half the paragraphs at least 3 times to wrap my head around them.

#4 I read Great Expectations not that long ago, don't remember a whole lot of detail, but I know it didn't make quite the impression that A Tale of Two Cities did. I think that has more to do with the dramatic ending to Two Cities than anything else. I'm a sucker for a good dramatic ending.

And the only reason I've read all this Dickens is that somehow I feel I'm missing out by not reading the "classics." Same reason I have a copy of Paradise Lost that I haven't quite been able to finish...

Apr 6, 2007, 4:21 pm

I've only read one book by Dickens. It always seems that people say he's tough, and many develop a Dickens-phobia. I was not impressed when I read "A Christmas Carol". I saw absolutely nothing to be afraid of, but thought the book dry. I figure his others must surely be better. However, my phobia died with reading that book.

I really admire "A Tale of Two Cities" for the wide awareness, memorization, and appreciation for the first page.

Edited: Apr 6, 2007, 11:45 pm

I never have tried reading "A Christmas Carol," but I did enjoy the Mickey Mouse and Muppet versions of it :).

Apr 7, 2007, 3:43 am

#5 I actually cried at the end of A Tale. Sydney Carton is one of my two favorite characters of all time, and with all his faults he was the most "human" character in the tale. That made it all the more heartbreaking when he... did what he did.

#7 I can't believe there's someone else who's actually seen the Muppets Christmas Carol. It's a holiday favorite at my house.

#6 I think that the frightening aspect of the story is the ability for any human being to become so cold and lonely. Personally, I saw a little of Scrooge in myself, and it made me go, "Oh, crap." Literally.

I've read A Christmas Carol, and I really fell in love with that classic Dickensian dry wit. 'Course, I'm always a sucker for sarcasm, but his particular style blows my mind. When Scrooge says to his nephew, "You're quite a powerful speaker, sir. I wonder you don't go into Parliament," and his nephew is offended, I actually laughed. Leave it to Dickens to show his disdain for politics in even the most unlikely of places.

I almost didn't get through either A Tale of Two Cities or A Christmas Carol for the same reason I almost didn't get through The Lord of the Rings: Dickens has the most remarkable talent for talking about nothing for pages at a time. It really was a test of patience, but both stories were worth those interminable sections for "Tell Wind and Fire where to stop, but don't tell me!" I collect quotes, and that one's at the top of my list.

Apr 7, 2007, 12:26 pm

#8 sapiens:
:) Yeah, I got the messages from it. I just was so shocked that I should have had a Dickens phobia. Everyone's always said he's so tough to read, and it was a breeze. The only difficulty lied in finishing it and not closing the book. (Maybe I wouldn't have felt that way if I hadn't seen so many movies from it.)

Edited: Apr 9, 2007, 4:27 am

I'm going to have to shamefully put up my hand as possibly the only English student I know who has never read a Dickens book*....I never even picked one up whenever it was on a reading list let alone of my own volition! The last time it was 2 years ago, and the book was Bleak House....I spent the week before the seminar reading the synopsis online....or it might have been snoozing at the library computers, one or the other :p

Can somebody tempt me?

*Excepting a hugely abridged children's version of Oliver Twist when I was a kid

Apr 9, 2007, 5:40 am

Hmmmmm......Dickens...... I think my aversion began at having to study Great Expectations, which I have a love/hate relationship with.

I don't *hate* Dickens - I do think he paints very vivid and descriptive portraits of places, conditions, classes and societies. However, I find the character portaits to be far too caricatured for my taste. Plus, the repeition of similar charater types... Jaggers/Ralph Nckleby, Wemmick/Noggs.

Plus, I find the resolutions very convenient. The revelations of everyone somehow being related (not necessarily family...) to everyone else aren't that revelatory. You come to expect it.

Now I've not read a lot, so these views are based on very limited knowledge, but it is these factors which putme off readingany more.

I'd welcome recommendations which will completely change my perception!

Apr 18, 2007, 6:51 pm

Hard Times was one of the better ones.

Apr 18, 2007, 7:30 pm

Dickens is an author I've meant to read, but never got around to it. But since I'm done reading for English (for now, at least), I'm going to try and read some of his novels. Any suggestions for a Dickens novice?

Apr 18, 2007, 8:32 pm

Thanks, finalbroadcast, I'll give it a try.

Apr 24, 2007, 5:32 am

Coloradogirl, I liked Nicholas Nicholby. Dickens is good, but slow. His books are very long and take a very long time to finish. A lot of people talk of him being "dense", but I really do not find that to be true. The language is from the period, but once you get past that, there are not very many complicated ideas. Dickens is all about characters and their development. His themes are usually pretty obvious, and when comparing the classics, his books are very plot driven, and I would actually call them light.