Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Writing of Dickens


Do many people still read Dickens?  Have you ever read Dickens?  

Charles Dickens edited a weekly journal for 20 years.  He wrote 15 novels, 5 novellas and hundreds of short stories and non-fiction articles.  Obviously he was prolific.  He was also an active social reformer and campaigner for children's rights and education and other social reforms.  His works have been adapted for the stage, and for over 200 film and TV productions.  (So at the least you have probably seen one of his stories adapted to the screen.)

I love the works of Dickens.  I have all 15 of his novels.  One of the things I love about his books is that although life is hard and often unfair in the world of his characters, in the end all is made right: the heroes win through, the baddies collect their just reward, and every little end is neatly tied off and dispatched and all is right with the world by the last page, (at least for those who who shown themselves deserving of a good ending).  Yay!!

I also love the insightful writing of Dickens, and his humour.  Following are a few of his well-known quotes.  Can you guess which of his books they are from?  Even if you haven't got a hope of knowing any, I hope you enjoy the quotes :)  (I'll put the answers in the comments)  

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.” 

“I wear the chain I forged in life....I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.” 

“Out of my thoughts! You are part of my existence, part of myself. You have been in every line I have ever read, since I first came here, the rough common boy whose poor heart you wounded even then. You have been in every prospect I have ever seen since – on the river, on the sails of the ships, on the marshes, in the clouds, in the light, in the darkness, in the wind, in the woods, in the sea, in the streets. You have been the embodiment of every graceful fancy that my mind has ever become acquainted with. The stones of which the strongest London buildings are made, are not more real, or more impossible to displace with your hands, than your presence and influence have been to me, there and everywhere, and will be. Estella, to the last hour of my life, you cannot choose but remain part of my character, part of the little good in me, part of the evil. But, in this separation I associate you only with the good, and I will faithfully hold you to that always, for you must have done me far more good than harm, let me feel now what sharp distress I may. O God bless you, God forgive you!” 

“Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.” 

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,it was the season of light,it was the season of darkness,it was the spring of hope,it was the winter of despair.” 

“There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.” 

"It was a maxim with Mr. Brass that the habit of paying compliments kept a man’s tongue oiled without any expense; and that, as that useful member ought never to grow rusty or creak in turning on its hinges in the case of a practitioner of the law, in whom it should be always glib and easy, he lost few opportunities of improving himself by the utterance of handsome speeches and eulogistic expressions."

"Papa is a preferable mode of address," observed Mrs General. "Father is rather vulgar, my dear. The word Papa, besides, gives a pretty form to the lips. Papa, potatoes, poultry, prunes, and prism are all very good words for the lips: especially prunes and prism. You will find it serviceable, in the formation of a demeanour, if you sometimes say to yourself in company — on entering a room, for instance — Papa, potatoes, poultry, prunes and prism, prunes and prism.

Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.

…vices are sometimes only virtues carried to excess!

We are not rich in the bank, but we have always prospered and we have quite enough. I never walk out with my husband but I hear the people bless him. I never lie down at night but I know that in the course of that day he has alleviated pain and soothed some fellow creature in the time of need. Is not this to be rich?

And finally, the quote at the top of the page?

How did you do?  


  1. The Answers:

    A Tale of Two Cities
    A Christmas Carol
    Great Expectations
    David Copperfield
    A Tale of Two Cities
    Oliver Twist
    The Old Curiosity Shop
    Little Dorrit
    Sketches by Boz
    Dombey and Son
    Bleak House
    Our Mutual Friend

    How did you do? :)

  2. I got maybe a third of them? LOL!

    I have only read 3 of his novels mum, but enjoyed those three SO much. I've bot more on my list of things to read... :)

    xo Tammy

  3. Haha, I got a few of them :P
    But I have to admit, I've never really cared for Charles Dickens. I know you and Dad have bought me several of his book over the years and I've always started reading them, but I don't think I've ever really finished one. And that's rare for me.
    I think I've read the beginning of Great Expectations 4 times, but never the middle or end :P

    Truth be told, I find Dickens' writing quite boring! Try as I might, I can't get my attention to stay when I'm trying to read it. Shocking, I know - how could a daughter of yours feel this way?! No idea. Guess it's just another example of my un-cultured-ness :)

    I do like how all his characters get their just reward in the end though, whether that be good or bad :)