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Claire

Who loves Dickens?

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I was never really a huge dickens fan but the English course im on at the moment my class is studing Hard Times and im actually finding the story enjoyable who knows i may be one over by Dickens yet.

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Snap Sharon. I've just read Oliver Twist too, and Huntress, I had to read Hard Times for my OU degree a few years ago. I must admit I thought it would be very heavy going, but I loved it. I agree about Oliver, but I think his (Dickens) purpose in writing it was to highlight The Poor Law/ Workhouses etc. so Oliver himself was a bit of a cipher, an anaemic character buffeted by the winds of fate, while the other characters around him are much more interesting. It's a great book, and as ever with Dickens, the social campaigning doesn't get in the way of telling a good story. I love Dickens, and as ever, I'm planning to try and read all of his books this year. I say that every year, but unfortunately with time restraints I never seem to get around to it. (I really need to give up work, so that I can read more - but I need to win the Lottery for that, although I don't actually do it! :D ) Anyway, welcome. I only joined recently, but I think there are a few other fans of the man here.

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Vlad its intressting you say that about hard times most people who ive met who like dickens dont get on that well with Hard times. I think its because the books is so diffrent.

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I think I agree with that Huntress. I suppose a lot of people have an image of Dickens with the silly names and the caricatures. I have to say that I thought that Hard Times was going to be relentlessly grim and industrial, with none of the humour of say Pickwick Papers. But it wasn't as hard going as I thought it would be, even though its subject matter and setting is dreary. It's still a great read.

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Vald, it goes without saying that i admire your intention of reading the whole of Dickens. But its sooo easy to get distracted by friends recommendations, TV adaptations und so weiter (can you guess that i'm half way through Time Traverellers Wife).

i take your point about highlighting the workhouse/Poor law etc, and the comedy of the Bumbles tends to bring the horrid condtions into stark relief. And even for a moment i felt sorry for Sikes aimlessly wandering, looking for some kind of redemption.

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I am a Dickens fan but find him a bit hit and miss. My favourites are Great Expectations and David Copperfield and runners up are Nicholas Nickleby and Martin Chuzzlewit. I did enjoy Hard Times as well. I am sorry to say I really disliked Oliver Twist and The Pickwick Papers - found them both hard to read. But saying that I read them so many years ago, would like to give Pickwick Papers another go as so many people seem to enjoy it and my tastes might have changed a wee bit since then too.

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One of the minds that reduced the works of Shakespeare to a two hour theatrical performance has now done something similar to the life and books of Charles Dickens

Oh that looks very tempting! The Reduced Shakespeare was just brilliant.

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I think dickens, is a great author and he has produced some great novels as well.

I would say he's one of my favourite authors.

Which novels are your particular favourites?

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I thought that Hard Times was going to be relentlessly grim and industrial, with none of the humour of say Pickwick Papers. But it wasn't as hard going as I thought it would be, even though its subject matter and setting is dreary.

 

It is the humour in Dickens that makes him so much more readable than the Zolaesque realists of the French and American schools - so worthy and so DULL. I did have a hard time getting into him at first - like many others, I was made to read him at way too young an age - but managed to ease myself back in with Oliver Twist a few years ago and haven't stopped since.

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I think most of us love, or rather more exactly have loved, Dickens. With so many millions of words still on the TBR list, who's going to settle down to Bleak House for a week? For me he remains largely a happy memory, jogged occasionally when one of his works is serialised or appears on a CGSE reading list - an increasingly unlikely event these days. When Great Expectations with John Mills and Bernard Miles is wheeled out every Christmas I might take a dip back into the novel, my favourite of his works. Otherwise he's a closed book and likely to remain so for me.

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I think most of us love, or rather more exactly have loved, Dickens. With so many millions of words still on the TBR list, who's going to settle down to Bleak House for a week? For me he remains largely a happy memory, jogged occasionally when one of his works is serialised or appears on a CGSE reading list - an increasingly unlikely event these days. When Great Expectations with John Mills and Bernard Miles is wheeled out every Christmas I might take a dip back into the novel, my favourite of his works. Otherwise he's a closed book and likely to remain so for me.

 

And after reading The Chimes last week, Dickens's second Christmas Book, I can see why he sets my nerves on edge with his cardboard characters like Alderman Cute and the deplorably sentimentalised daughter Meg. Dickens was proud to have made so many of his friends weep on his first reading of The Chimes, but now his phoney sentiment merely makes us cringe. Little Em'ly, Little Nell, Little Meg - what were the Victorians thinking about to relish such abounding twaddle?

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Have just finished listening to Great Expectations on CD in the car. It was in the Penguin series and read by Hugh Lawrie - who did a good job by the way. I should have realised when I noted that it was on only 3 discs, but it is an abridged version.

 

Admittedly the bones of the story are all there and you can follow it from beginning to end, but somehow it lacked. I felt almost cheated in a way. It was a bit like looking at a skeleton instead of a body - if that makes any sense. I know Dickens can be said to be 'wordy' but I think it's the flesh on the story that makes it satisfying. For me anyway.

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Our book club has decided to read "Girl in a Blue Dress" by Gaynor Arnold. This is supposed to be a fictional biography of Catherine Dickens. But we're only going to discuss this next year. So, I'll keep you informed when the time comes.

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A new dramatisation of Little Dorrit starts on BBC1 later this evening (realise that's not very helpful, so it's at 8pm-9pm, and is the first of 14 episodes).

 

Bit late notice, but I've given you 2 and a half hours warning!

 

Good news for lovers of Dickens on TV: this latest dramatisation includes the regulation quota of Alun Armstrong, sporting a magnificent haircut as Mr Flintwinch and growling like something out of Big Cat Live. More good news: if you loved Bleak House, this is built along similar lines, to be broadcast, after tonight's hour-long opener, in twice-weekly, half-hour chunks. The story involves the benevolent Arthur Clennam (Matthew Macfadyen) on a mission to right a mysterious wrong from his family's past. "Put it right . . ." his father whispers on his deathbed, but exactly what the "it" is, only his severe mother (all fingerless lace gloves and icy disdain) seems to know, and she's not telling. Meanwhile, sweet-natured Amy Dorrit (Claire Foy) takes care of her self-deluded old father within the confines of Marshalsea debtors' prison, though her path and Arthur's are to cross soon enough. Andy Serkis plays a dark and devious French murderer and despite only brief time on screen, threatens to steal the show. He'll have to fight Armstrong for it. Simulcast in HD on the BBC HD channel.

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Bit late notice, but I've given you 2 and a half hours warning!

I've been drooling all week, Flingo!

 

Still, enough of my medical problems - I'm also looking forward to Little Dorrit...

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Rats, I missed it because hubby wanted to watch the American football game. iPlayer it is for me then.

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I'm reading "The Old Curiosity Shop" at the moment and I am really enjoying it. Now I'm older obviously I find them easier going, though you're right it's still quite an undertaking. :rolleyes: The thing is I've noticed he writes really long sentences, my mum called me and I thought I'd just get to the end of the sentence, little realising it was 12 lines long. :yikes: He also goes off on tangents in the middle of sentences so by the end it doesn't seem to makes sense to the start (if that in itself makes sense lol). I've got the version with the origional illustrations in and the illustrations ruined my image of the characters lol, Kit looks about forty years old.

 

I also think everyone in the book should get over Nell lol I can see where the critiscm came from.

 

I flicked ahead hoping to find that Quilp dies at the end and thankfully he does, so I shall look forward to reading that. :rolleyes: I've never hated a character more.

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I used to find Dickens hard going (it still takes me a few chapters to click with his writing style-it's not hard as such but a little different-it benefits from being read aloud).

 

I also thought he was twee and tacky and lacking substance.

 

However having studied Dombey and son and Great expectations I have come to appreciate his own style and now love his characters. I was expecting the wrong thing in my reading but now that I know that, I can enjoy his work much better. I plan/hope to read my way through many more in future. He was an amazing story teller and I think some of us get so caught up in our literary snobbery we forget that.

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Dickens is to literature as Bob Dylan is to modern music - the greatest.

 

Whilst Great Expecations is an excellent classic to read as an introduction into the great writer, my favourite, in terms of pleasure reading and enjoyment, is Martin Chuzzlewit - which I feel is often underated.

 

It's a joy to read and very amusing.

 

 

 

Phoebus

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... my favourite, in terms of pleasure reading and enjoyment, is Martin Chuzzlewit ...

I love all the twee names in Dickens' novels. Mr Fezziwig is the best.

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I love all the twee names in Dickens' novels. Mr Fezziwig is the best.

 

He uses amusing vocabulary as well. My favourite is "noodle", meaning a very silly person. I'm always using it to describe people. It's not too bad when you think that I could call them much worse !

 

 

Phoebus

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