Dear Readers,

I now consider this blog to be my Juvenelia. Have fun perusing the archives, and find me at my new haunt, here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What the Dickens?

Have you heard the literary news? Dickens is totes the new Austen, except he's usually 500 pages longer, more exaggeratedly satirical, and more angry about social ills such as (try and read these to yourself in a cockney accent): industrialization, sooty streets, orphans, corporal punishment, factories, workhouses, debtor's prisons, ridiculous court systems, layabout youths (Richard Carstone, ahem) thieving Jews (you gotta love Fagin), indifferent upper class snobs and diffident bureaucrats.

Also, pseudo-proto-feminist bitter old virgin-brides who are living embodiments of dried-up lady parts.

Oh and ALSO...tyrranical schoolmasters who are coincidentally named... wait for it... wait for it... MR. CHOAKUMCHILD. Subtle, the man was not. But he may have changed society more than any other novelist save Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Wherefore this stream of confusing Dickens-trivia, you ask ? Because Romancing the Tome tells us that Masterpiece Classic is airing an "incomplete Dickens season" this year, featuring Little Dorrit, David Copperfield, Oliver Twist and The Old Curiosity Shop.

I'm personally a huge fan of the Dickens mini-series: the 90s-era Martin Chuzzlewit and Our Mutual Friend are the genre at its absolute finest, and inducted me into the cult of 19th century adaptations. I wish they would re-air those. 2006's Bleak House was also deservedly hyped.

I also happen to be a big fan of the man's books: I've read five, two of which were among the best books I've ever read, three of which were difficult but ultimately rewarding. I'm going to tackle Little Dorrit next, to prep for the mini-series which airs in early '09. It will be my major 19th century project of the year, and I hope it's more like David Copperfield, which took me two weeks of ravenous reading, and less like Bleak House, which took me three and a half months of sheer willpower.


  1. I love Bleak House, personally. I'm slowly making my way through the miniseries, which is excellent. And apparently Matthew Macfayden (spelling?) is in the Little Dorrit miniseries... excellent news.

  2. I'm probably too negative about Bleak House. There's so much about it that's just unbelievably great. It's just that David Copperfield grabbed me so much more as a protagonist than Esther Summerson. I'm not sure Dickens had a great understanding of women, but he really nails the adolescent male psyche.