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Topic: Wilkie Collins on Charles Dickens

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Subject: Wilkie Collins on Charles Dickens
Date Posted: 11/28/2012 2:58 PM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2006
Posts: 316
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I like novelists' criticism of other writers. Here is Wilkie Collins on Chas. Dickens, with some of my comments included.

Of Oliver Twist - "The one defect in that wonderful book is the helplessly bad construction of the story. The character of Nancy is the finest he ever did...That the same man who could create Nancy created the second Mrs Dombey is the most incomprehensible anomaly that I know of in literature."

Of  Barnaby Rudge - "...the weakest book that Dickens ever wrote." PBS does not have even one copy of this novel posted.

Of Martin Chuzzlewit - "Chuzzlewit (in some respects the finest novel he ever wrote) delighted his readers and so led to a large sale of the next book, Dombey [and Son]." By the way, Dickens himself thought this one was his best novel.

Of Dombey and Son - "...the latter half of Dombey no intelligent person can have read without astonishment at the badness of it."

Of David Copperfield - "incomparably superior to Dombey [and Son]" When our class read in grade school, David doing child labor in the bottling plant made tender-hearted girls cry. When I was 12, I thought Steerforth was pretty cool - clearly, I didn't get how he ruined Poor Li'l Emily. The brute. Count me in as Steerforth Detractor nowadays, believe you me

Of Edwin Drood - "...cruel to compare Dickens in the radiant prime of his genius with Dickens's last laboured effort, the melancholy work of a worn out brain."

Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 11/28/2012 9:41 PM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
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Have you read Drood? It is told through the eyes of Collins and is about Charles Dicken's search for the Mysterious Drood. It is a great book. BIG, but really good.

Date Posted: 11/29/2012 1:52 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
Posts: 551
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Matt, I love these comments of Wilkie Collins! He and Dickens were close friends for a long time, but then had a falling out.