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Topic: Charles Dickins

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Subject: Charles Dickins
Date Posted: 9/23/2011 5:05 PM ET
Member Since: 11/30/2008
Posts: 6
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If you could only suggest one Charles DIckins book to recommend to someone who wanted to really enjoy the story, what book what you suggest, besides a Chirstmas Carol, and why would you suggest it?

 

Date Posted: 9/23/2011 8:16 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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I love Dickens!  My favorites are Nicholas Nickleby and Our Mutual Friend.  Both are long but really worthwhile- they have everything: humor, romance, mystery, revenge.  But the only Dickens book I really didn't care for was Great Expectations.

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 9/24/2011 8:50 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
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I liked Hard Times.  It's Dickens commentary on the industrial revolution and what Dickens sees as harsh utilitarianism...but in pointing it out he uses an almost poetic language.  Fascinating.

But I also liked Great Expectations, so take that for what you will.

Date Posted: 9/25/2011 5:00 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
Posts: 551
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My ultimate favorite is David Copperfield. I love every word.

Oliver Twist is another I enjoyed.

I also love Great Expectations because of its remarkable plot and spectacularly drawn characters.

"Christmas Carol" is  considered a short story, by the way.

                                                                              Rose

Date Posted: 9/29/2011 2:02 PM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2006
Posts: 314
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The problem with Great Expectation is that the hero is such a little snob but Magwitch, Joe and Biddy do give the novel its lifeblood. Nicholas Nickleby has unforgettable characters, esp. that awful Mr. Mantalini, the comic lecher. But I'd have to say my favorite is Bleak House - it's monstrously long, there's too many goody-goody characers, too many drawn-out reunions, the humor is very rough and tumble, but the characters of man-child Skimpool and the canny Inspector Bucket are incredible - they live, they breathe. And the chase scene near the end rivets us, we are not reading about Esther and Bucket in the pursuit, we are in the carriage with them as the snow and sleet fall. Incredible. Dickens' power to enthrall, to enchant still stands.



Last Edited on: 10/1/11 8:22 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/29/2011 3:15 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
Posts: 551
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Matt B., you think Pip is "a little snob"??? Estelle certainly is one--but not Pip!

                                                                                       Rose

Date Posted: 9/29/2011 8:12 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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Kelly P., There's a rather interesting "thread" in this Forum about Dickens----just use the "Search This Topic" and put in "Dickens" as the search term.  You'll find the opinions of several knowledgeable readers who frequent this Forum.  I especially enjoy reading the remarks of "Wildhog" (who happens to be a retired college English prof), and some of the other "regulars".

Date Posted: 9/30/2011 9:24 AM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2006
Posts: 314
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Pip starts out as an innocent: he doesn’t dislike himself for being a rough common boy and takes people as they are. After he meets  Miss Havisham, he learns from her  to place too high a value on social status, sucking up to those higher up the ladder and looking down on those on the lower rungs.  Estella, too, has a hand in this – Pip wants her to like him so he turns on poor Joe Gargery. Pip wants to be a gentleman, which takes money, and cheerfully accepts the largesse of the anonymous benefactor. With money and clout, he really turns in a snob. He talks patronizing to poor Biddy, for instance.  When he finally meets Magwitch, he is horrified. Mortified. Oh dear, what would Mrs. H. and Estella think of a convict bankrolling Pip’s fortunes? Okay, at the end Pip feels grateful to the dying Magwitch. But Pip is still a snob at the end, though with a conscience of sorts. To my mind, anyway.

Video at this link on the same topic, only kinder to Pip than unsympathetic me. Well, that what makes horse races! Readers have been arguing about Dickens for more than a century and he's still there and worth arguing about.

Update: This is telling a story on myself, but when I read David Copperfield at 12 or 13, I thought Steerforth was the cat's meow. Obviously I didn't quite get how he ruined Lil Em'ly. You can mark me down as firmly in the anti-Steerforth camp nowadays.

 



Last Edited on: 9/30/11 2:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Subject: Charles Dickens
Date Posted: 5/25/2012 12:35 AM ET
Member Since: 3/3/2010
Posts: 1
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I, too, am a Dickens fan.  my favorites are David Copperfield, Great Expectations, Nicholas Nickleby, Bleak House, A Tale of Two Cities, Little Dorrit, Martin Chuzzlewit, The Curiosity Shop, and the Christmas Carol, of course.

Who can forget the characters Dickens created?  Betsy Trotwood, Uriah Heep, [David Copperfield];  Miss Havashim, Mr. Jaggers, John Wemmick [Great Expectations]; Nicolas Nickleby [hero] Ralph Nickleby [antagonist] Smike, [Nicholas Nickleby]; Esther [heroine],  John Jarndyce, Miss Flite, Inspector Bucket,[one of the first detectives in English fiction [Bleak House] ; Madame Defarge, Dr. Manette, Sydney Carton, Lucy Manette, [A Tale of Two Cities]; Snobbish Fanny, idle Edward, Amy [also known as Little Dorrit], Arthur [Little Dorrit]; Old Martin Chuzzlewit and Young Martin Chuzzlewit, Nell Trent [The Curiosity Shop] and Ebenezer Scrooge.

Dickens is said to have proclaimed Martin Chuzzlewit his best work.  Little Dorrit is a work of satire focused upon the debtor's prisons.  David Copperfield is Dicken's 8th novel and said to be the most autobiographical of all his novels.  Great Expectations follows the growth and personal development of an orphan, named Pip.  Nicholas Nickleby is Dicken's 3rd novel which center around a boy who must support his mother & sister after his father dies.  Bleak House is said to be one of Dicken's finest novels, containing a complex and engaging array of minor characters and sub-plots.  It core revoles around a long running litigation -Jamdyce v Jamdyce.  The Curiosity Shop's plot follows the life of Neil Trent and her grandfather.  A Tale of Two Cities is set in London and Paris during the French Revolution. 

Subject: "Jamdyce v Jamdyce?"
Date Posted: 5/27/2012 12:27 PM ET
Member Since: 9/11/2011
Posts: 11
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Shouldn't that be "Jarndyce v. Jarndyce?"

Date Posted: 6/1/2012 3:54 PM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2011
Posts: 2,353
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No one has mentioned Mystery of Edwin Drood, interesting murder mystery by Dickens.

Date Posted: 6/6/2012 1:46 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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I adore the short story," A Christmas Carol". Adore it.

I like Oliver Twist

I enjoyed Great Expectations for about 1/2 the book and then got bored.

Date Posted: 6/14/2012 5:58 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
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I loved "A Tale of Two Cities"
 

Date Posted: 6/14/2012 8:34 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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Didja ever wonder why newspapers don't still print Dickens in installments in the paper?  The way that he was first published, in English newspapers?

At least, if they printed A Christmas Carol in 'hunks' during the days leading up to Dec. 25, I betcha a lotta people would take the time to read it, or re-read it.  I can envision people in the subway, or on the ferries, or the light rail commuter trains, doing that . . . .

Folks wouldn't even have to hunt up a copy of the beloved old tale . . . .

But who am I kidding?  Reading those "chicken scratchings" off of the printed page is so "yesteryear", I spoze.  Sigh . . . . .

Just the same, there are a lot of Americans out there with fond memories of how Mama, or Daddy, or Grandpa or Grandma, read to them when they were little----off a printed page.   (You all will forgive my little spate of nostalgia, I hope.)



Last Edited on: 6/14/12 8:36 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 6/15/2012 12:10 PM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
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If I could only nominate one Dickens book, it would be Tale of Two Cities. I have only read a handful of his books so far, but TOTC, will always be my favorite. I reread it every couple of years.

Date Posted: 6/15/2012 2:35 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
Posts: 551
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I read A Tale of Two Cities a couple years ago for the Classic Challenge. What a great book! 

When I'd read it in high school, I'd missed so much. No wonder I hadn't been impressed!

I'm grateful that the Classics Challenge pushed me to give it another chance.

                                                                                                        Rose

 

Date Posted: 7/10/2012 9:54 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
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My 23yo daughter just got hired to teach Freshman English, Soph Speech class, and Jr SAT prep class at a Christian school. the Freshman are reading the Hobbit for summer reading, but an abridged Great Expectations is their classic she has 11weeks to teach. Can anybody recoomend a companion book she might find useful?
Date Posted: 7/13/2012 8:11 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2007
Posts: 702
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Jeanne G,  I am horrified that a school would teach an abridged version of Great Expectations or any other classic.  On thinking back, however, I'm sure that some of the literature books that I taught from did abridge some books or stories.  I still don't like it.  I don't trust anyone to choose what I might or might not want to read in a classic.



Last Edited on: 7/15/12 5:10 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/13/2012 11:21 AM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,931
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Why not just teach an unabridged version of Tale of Two Cities?  It's much shorter and rather more exciting (plot wise) than GE so probably more appealing to high schoolers.

Date Posted: 7/18/2012 6:20 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 9,721
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Viv and 7------DD and I were both horrified when we heard they selected an abridged version. I'm thinking they may have read Tale of Two Cities in 8th grade like my girls did when they were there.