There are two kinds of conservatives....
Rev. Gary Davis: Crucifixion

On Dickens

Here is a great post on that subject, and by that title, at All Manner of Thing. In the form of a review of two books about Dickens, including Chesterton's, it's an excellent and fascinating overview of both the man and the work. I've been meaning to link to it for a week or so. Long, but definitely worth your while. It was interesting to me to find that I have only read Dickens's later work. I really must read The Pickwick Papers.


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I read Ackroyd's biography quite a few years ago, and have been reading one Dickens novel a year for the past 10 years or so, in order of their publication (I like to do that with authors to get a sense of their stylistic development.) Pickwick is huge fun -- almost like reading Wodehouse. Or maybe it's more accurate to say that Wodehouse is like reading Pickwick! I know a priest who reads it every year.

Also, apparently there is a BBC miniseries of the life of Dickens based on the Ackroyd biography. Don't know if it's available in the U.S. or not but it's supposed to be pretty good.

Actually it's been 7 yrs. since I started reading Dickens regularly. Next on my list is Dombey & Son, and I read Great Expectations out of order. Not exactly sure when I read the Ackroyd biography but it's been at least 10 years. It's huge, but it's a good read and moves along really well.

I tend to avoid biographies of artists, because in general I'd just as soon not know that much about them. Especially of their shabby or dark sides--such knowledge tends to intrude on my enjoyment of their work.

When I was in 9th grade we read Great Expectations, and I loved it, and read it a couple of times. It has only recently occurred to me that it may have been abridged, as it was contained in our reading/literature textbook. So I should probably read it again.

I'm just completing a re-read of David Copperfield. And I think Pickwick will be next. It so happens that three of my favorite literary characters are named Sam: Sam Gamgee, Sam Vimes, and Sam Weller.

I read David Copperfield again a couple of years ago (previous reading had been at age 16 or so) and liked it a whole lot.

Thanks, Mac. Very kind words.

Rob G, I've also been reading them in order of publication -- or, at least, I made a first pass during which I read what I took to be the "major" novels, and now I am going back and filling in the gaps. In any case, my next one is also Dombey & Son. Shall we race? (I can send you your prize now.)

Mac, Great Expectations is one of the shorter Dickens novels, so you might have read the entire thing in a class.

"Shall we race? (I can send you your prize now.)"

Don't be too sure! I plan to read it this year sometime, but I also want to reread Pickwick, and I've got a few other things lined up already for the immediate future. I may not get to it for two or three months.

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