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Bleak House by Charles Dickens

Bleak House (1853)

by Charles Dickens

Other authors: Edward Gorey (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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10,475205404 (4.2)5 / 1384
Satire (93)
My TBR (15)

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English (195)  Spanish (2)  Catalan (2)  Italian (2)  Danish (1)  German (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (204)
Showing 1-5 of 195 (next | show all)
I knocked off a half star because of that absurdity concerning spontaneous combustion. ( )
  nog | Feb 23, 2019 |
Can't believe I haven't read this!
  tkcs | Feb 23, 2019 |
My first encounter with this story was on a sleepless night when I caught the first two installments of the 2005 BBC mini-series, captivating by the way, on PBS. The problem with PBS is that I never seem to get to finish all of those period mini-series that I start. Something always gets in the way, I misread the schedule, etc. The complicated mystery surrounding Esther, Lady Dedlock and the tangle of Jarndyce and Jarndyce stuck with me though. So I sought it out in the library while I was buried in my own indeterminable paperwork.

To give myself some credit, I did get quite a bit into it before pressing matters, such as my graduating that semester, got in the way. But, here we are, months later, and I have finished it.

What can I say about this book that hasn't been said by so many others? My only other experience with Dickens' writing was 'A Christmas Carol', and this easily beats that, but if his other novels work as well as 'Bleak House' does, sign me up.

It would be easy to make fun of his antiquated, flowery writing, but there is nothing in this weighty book that is unnecessary. Every instance, observation, passing glance between characters, colors something in the narrative, or comes back later in the story. There's a reason Charles Dickens' books have never gone out of print.

PS: something horrible should have happened to Mr. Skimpole. What a terrible person. Mr. Vholes, at least, was honest about his leechish intentions. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
Loved it.

I haven't read a classic novel for a while, so I found it slow going for the 50 pages or so. But once I became used to the writing style, it turned into a page turner. Dickens is such a wonderful author with a sharp sense of humour and a way of describing society's structures and people that I really enjoy reading. In this novel, he writes a lot from a woman's perspective and displays a sympathy and understanding that I think was far beyond the norm for his time.

A great story that explores themes of obsession, of living in the present without focusing too much on either the past or the future and all the many relationships that make up our lives. ( )
  LynnB | Feb 6, 2019 |
A good winter read, but I feel like it must have worked better as originally published in monthly installments. As a novel, it feels bloated and overstuffed, with far too many characters and subplots gumming up the works. The satire on the legal machinations is excellent, however. ( )
1 vote JBD1 | Jan 16, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 195 (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, CharlesAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gorey, EdwardIllustratorsecondary 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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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.
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)

» 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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