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Charles Dickens (1 Viewer)

WordBeast

Senior Member
I consider him to be one of the greatest novelists of all time. An extraordinary story-teller who created memorable characters, he was also one of the great critics of social injustice.

I would be hard pressed to pick a favourite among such great novels as David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, Little Dorrit, Nicholas Nickleby, Bleak House, A Tale Of Two Cities, and the timeless story, A Christmas Carol. It would be a hard choice, but in the end, I'd have to pick Great Expectations, with it's deeply contrasting moods and its unforgettable characters, Pip, Estella, Magwich, Jaggers---and one of the most harrowing characters in all of Dickens' creations, Miss Havisham.

Any other Dickens fans out there?
 

Beatrice Boyle

Senior Member
Hi Wordbeast...nice to see you onboard~ :D


I admire him immensely, not only for his literary genius, but for the fact that he almost single handedly set in motion the reformation of the horrible conditions in which the poor were forced to live, and the injustices in the court system that
enforced it.

My favorites are Bleak House, Nicholas Nickleby and a Tale of Two Cities.
 

strangedaze

Senior Member
I read Great Expectations and was disappointed. I'm afraid I'm not a Dickens fan at all ;) Then again, I have this undying, irrational hatred for historical-type fiction, unless it's done very well.

Andrew
 

Kimberly Bird

Senior Member
I like Charles Dicken's work. A Tale Of Two Cities is alright. I have 5 little pocket books of his from 1910. They are maybe 2x4 inches, sweetest little things. I should pull them out and read them maybe....

Charles I believe was greatly influenced by Sir Walter Scott's writings.

Kimberly
 

waylander

Senior Member
Charles Dickens is great. I like David Copperfied best.
Although most of his characters are well-crafted and moving, they lack some sort of feature that distinctively mark them out from all the others, such as for instance Edmond Dantès, the Count of Monte-Cristo, has.
This gripping tale of vengeance still haunts me and I can't help reading it over and over again.
 
C

clearbluesky

I admire Charles Dickens creation of charachters. They are among the most realistic and diverse as any in the literary world. But I don't care for his style of writing. I think alot has changed over the years since he wrote his books. His style seems to be much more, detailed and ornate, so to speak. It doesn't flow as well as many other more modern authors work does.
 

WordBeast

Senior Member
This is slightly off-topic, but has anybody seen Roman Polanski's recent remake of Oliver Twist?

I saw it yesterday and was very disappointed. It was well made, with excellent acting---including Ben Kingsley as a wonderfully sympathetic Fagin, but 1/3 of the story was entirely omitted! And details which were never part of the novel were totally fabricated. I'm disappointed in Polanski, whom I've always respected, for serving up such a truncated version of a great literary classic. I think the only people who will like this film are the ones who never read books.
 
Dickens

I've read A Tale of Two Cities and A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I loved A Christmas Carol right from the start, but I had trouble getting into A Tale of Two Cities. I didn't understand most of it until the end of the book (A Tale of Two Cities). Aside from that little trouble I had, A Tale of Two Cities was probably my favorite out of the two.

I am planning on reading either David Copperfield or Great Expectations pretty soon, its on the list after A Confederation of Dunces. :)
 

Dresdor

Senior Member
I love a Christmas Carol, it's one of my all-time favorites (especially this time of year), but I could not stand a Tale of Two Cities. Dickens just drops a page or two of a character's life and history after introducing them, even when it's a character that never shows up again. I'm guessing that knowing the various relationships and such was important in his time, but it makes the novel a hard read.
 

Mike C

WF Veterans
strangedaze said:
Then again, I have this undying, irrational hatred for historical-type fiction, unless it's done very well.

Andrew

Dickens isn't actually historical fiction of any type, Andrew. Which makes your hatred both irrational and dumb. Dickens' work was contemporary of it's time. Think before you speak, andrew.
 

Bricklane

Member
My favorites are Great Expectations, David Copperfield and A Tale of Two Cities. I have his Nickolas Nickleby and The Pickwick Papers to pick up in the coming week. I heard a lot that The Pickwick Papers was a fun to read. I didn't know why I hardly got in to his well-praised book, Christmas Carol. I guessed it was ruined because I watched its movie version before I had chance to read the book. :sad:
 

Bumblebee

Member
I have tried to read Dickens several times, but I just don't seem to get into it. The style in which they are written does not really appeal to me. Each to their own and all that. I keep thinking to give it another shot, cause he is supposed to be such a good writer, but after a few tries I have given up on his books. They are just not for me.

I do have to add that I do not really like the films either! I must be the only person in the world that does not like Oliver!
 

ross

Senior Member
Interesting discussion.

I'd like to add that what's often forgotten about Dickens’s stories is that they were practically all weekly or monthly submitted magazine articles, intended to be read as a series of episodes.

They were never intended to be read as a single continuous story. You can often feel the cliffhanger endings of certain chapters, inviting you to buy next weeks edition to find out what happened next.

Part of the reason for the meandering plots is that, at the time of initially going to press, his storyline was often only partially written. He was writing only a few episodes ahead of any particular week’s edition, and he chopped and changed the plot as the weeks went by.

If at times he's over descriptive, maybe it was a little padding of his copy in order to hit that week’s word count when chasing a deadline.

I'm willing to forgive him that. I don’t think his work is comparable with mainstream novelists. He wasn’t trying to write novels in the first place.
 
This week I finished A Tale of Two Cities for my 9th grade English class, and I'm just blown away by it. It was my first real exposure to that type of literature.

It started out slow. In fact, I thought I would hate the book after the first two or three chapters. They basically established the setting and not much more, but boy did it pick up speed! If the reader is persistant with it, I don't how someone could finish the book and understand it, yet not love it. But, I guess we all feel that way about our favorites.

Now that's a novel of great magnitude if I've ever read one. Dickesns isn't considered a classic for no reason. Proof of his absolute mastery of language can be found on every page. Anyway, just tonight I picked up a copy of Nicholas Nickleby (recommended by my teacher as another good one by Dickens) and I'm hoping I'll enjoy it as well.
 
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zoecat

Member
I tried Dickens when I was about nine, but it was too complex for me. Yesterday, I picked up Oliver Twist, which my parents had given me for my 13th birthday a few months ago, and was quite suprised. I'd expected that it would be at least a little difficult to get through, but It's brilliant. It pulls me in, and it's funny at the same time (I don't know if it was supposed to be funny in all the parts I found it so, but I have a strange sense of humor).

The thing is that there are a bunch of books that copy Oliver Twist so closesly, it's hardly funny. Off the top of my head I can name:
*Series of Unfortunate Events
*The Eddie Dickens Trilogy (I assume they were refrincing when they named that one)
*The Convicts.

But very few of the kids who've read those books know Dickins. I wonder what they'd make of it.
 

Addison

Senior Member
I would have to confess that I am rather more attracted to the cynical style of Thackeray or of the myriad satirical/picaresque novels produced in the 18th Century. Therefore, although I do love Dickens, I often find the overwhelming sentimentality of his earlier novels rather too cloying for my tastes - Oliver Twist, I fear, is one of my least favourite of his works for this reason, though it does not offend so greatly as The Old Curiousity Shop. On the other hand, as he aged and matured (and generally grew wearier with society and the world), Dickens' style improved in my eyes; Bleak House and Little Dorritt are my particular favourites due to the increasing prominence of his melancholic satire and - indeed - his black humour. I generally suspect that in an age far less sentimental than his own, these latter novels are the more popular.
 

Mungye

Senior Member
I very much love both Dickens for himself and his works. Although I must admit that having been a severly battered child living and being raised by strangers I have great difficulty reading Oliver for instance or Little Dorit. Great Expectations is so depressing to me it somehow reminds me of the Lemony Snicket books.
I loved the truthfulness of the way society really was and the tiny glimmers of light here and there of redemption or kindness that totally goes against the grain of the average persona in his books.
 

JP Wagner

Senior Member
Mike C said:
Dickens isn't actually historical fiction of any type, Andrew. Which makes your hatred both irrational and dumb. Dickens' work was contemporary of it's time. Think before you speak, andrew.

Just because you disagree with someone is no reason to talk down to them. I agree Dickens is a great author and those who don't admire his work probably just don't understand it or haven't read deep enough into it. But thats no reason to be that harsh on someone. Take a chill pill.
 
C

cecelia

Dickens

I have only read one book by Dickens so far, and it was David Copperfield. I absolutely loved it. While I agree that his work, at least in Copperfield, is not an historical accounting, I do think it helps to understand the social and political climate of the times in order to really get it. There are many political and social references that could easily be overlooked if the context of the period is not understood. Just because something is fictional doesn't mean we can't learn about history from it! I hated social studies and political science in high school. I just didn't get it! My understanding of world history and politics is understood primarily through the different ways it is represented in literature and art. I hope to read more Dickens in the future...
 

chmpman

Senior Member
I've heard Hard Times has been used in history classes to teach about the times. This is the only one of his books that I've read. What I don't like is that Dickens tells you in his descriptions of the characters whether or not you should like them. Good characters are described positively and bad with negative descriptions. It's like he doesn't trust his audience to make a decision on actions but insists on placing his preference right smack in the faces of the readers. But maybe it's just this book. I want to read A Tale of Two Cities some time. I did strongly agree with the message of Hard Times though.
 

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