Monday, 18 April 2011

What the Dickens.....Bleak House

Synopsis - At the Court of Chancery the interminable suit of Jarndyce and Jarndyce becomes the centre of a web of relationships at all levels, from Sir Leicester Dedlock to Jo the crossing-sweeper, and a metaphor for the decay and corruption at the ehart of English society.

My thoughts - How can you review Dickens?  To do so would be an injustice.

Charles Dickens, our very famous 19th century author, who has been read and re-read over such a long period of time.  I read my first Dickens at school, David Copperfield followed by Nicholas Nickleby, and boy did I find him boring!  After all, I was not long in high school and the old fashioned writing was not the easiest to decipher.  That is the complaint about Dickens, the detail, the intricacy of plot and the language in terms of which character he is writing.  It has taken me into my adulthood just to realise how clever Charles Dickens was as an author.  His own upbringing was a difficult one, he was sent to work at the age of 12 years, while his father served time in the debtors prison, he was not exactly privileged.  It is with this knowledge that Dickens is able to write so clearly and descriptively about poor London.

I watched Bleak House on television and had a little advantage before reading the book of understanding the story.  Bleak House the book is quite a tome!  This is my third Dickens in recent years and I have to say I found Great Expectations easier to read.  It was quite difficult to get into Bleak House with all the different characters, especially in the first half of the book.  Where do they fit in?  What have they got in common?  However, it all knits together very nicely in the end.  The names Dickens gives to his characters are absolutely brilliant and this is where you find his humour.  Who else would name his parliamentary candidates Coodle and Doodle, even though they are not particularly relevant to the plot.  Mr Turveydrop and his son Prince and their characterisations, Mr Guppy, Peepy Jellyby etc.  The names are particularly well suited and I found I could picture these characters quite clearly.  It took me a good three weeks to finish this novel but I was reading other books at the same time.  However, I don't think I could have read it from cover to cover without other lighter fayre to keep me going.  4*

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