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Dock

Bleak House - Charles Dickens

"The greatest novel by the greatest novelist England has ever produced, and in my opinion, the greatest novel in the language."

I had heard many great things about Charles Dickens Bleak House from people who had read it (including also "it goes on for bloody ever but stick with it, its worth it"), but the above quoted sentence from a reviewer prompted me to click the mouse and buy it (I say buy, but its actually free for the Kindle). This is epic in plot, characters, social comment and number of pages. Probably Dickens longest book at approx 900 pages plus. The plot revolves around the lengthy legal case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce which at the books beginning has been running for decades and still has life in it to get us through this giant novel. As in other works by Dickens he questions social inequalities and breathes life into all kinds of characters from all walks of life and social classes. I once saw an interview in which ex-legal eagle and current tv presenter Clive Anderson said that he thought BH was the best commentary he had read on the machinery of the English legal system and I personally think some of Dickens comments on the law being elitist and some aspects of it being for the good of the wealthy few still have relevance a hundred and fifty years after its publication. As with the other Dickens novels I have read, every page dazzles with a celebration and use of the English language. Flowery but succinct all at the same time e.g.

"The one great principle of English law is to make business for itself. There is no other principle distinctly, certainly, and consistently maintained through all its narrow turnings. Viewed by this light it becomes a coherent scheme and not the monstrous maze the laity are apt to think it. Let them but once clearly perceive that its grand principle is to make business for itself at their expense, and surely they will cease to grumble".

Even if old Chuck D wasn't aware of it, he was delivering up in his writing, brilliant historical and interesting full colour snapshots of the England in the era he wrote in for people like me to read years and years after his death. This is an excerpt describing the birth of the not yet built railways:

"Railroads shall soon traverse all this country, and with a rattle and a glare the engine and train will shoot like a meteor over the wide night-landscape, turning the moon paler; but as yet such things are non-existent in these parts, though not wholly unexpected. Preparations are afoot, measurements are made, ground is staked out. Bridges are begun, and their not yet united piers desolately look at one another over roads and stream like brick and mortar couples with an obstacle to their union"

From the opening chapter his vivid description of the freezing fog of London has you pulling your shirt collar up around your neck and then you are in for the long haul. A master of narrative, character, and gripping storylines. I may have included large extracts from the book in my review but with Charles Dickens I think its best to let his writing do the talking itself instead of another paragraph of flummery from your humble reviewer. Its just a brilliant book I absolutely loved reading and feel the better for having read it. 10/10
carp

I thought it was shit.
Sir Bulldog Craggwood

carp wrote:
I thought it was shit.


daft beggar
Late Doors

Re: Bleak House - Charles Dickens

Dock wrote:
" "The one great principle of English law is to make business for itself. There is no other principle distinctly, certainly, and consistently maintained through all its narrow turnings. Viewed by this light it becomes a coherent scheme and not the monstrous maze the laity are apt to think it. Let them but once clearly perceive that its grand principle is to make business for itself at their expense, and surely they will cease to grumble".




Not just the legal system either, insurance, health, education, sport, entertainment the lot. Inspiring review young fella mi lad, never dared tackle this one, sounds like a holiday book next year methinks, cheers.
Heyho

Prefer Great Expectations myself
Frazier Cranium

Anyoine who has read this book and managed to then write a in-depth review deserves great credit.  I started it many years ago but was put off by the RSI suffered in my hands at lifting such a weight so often

Great reviewm I for one will believe it but won't be rushing to read the book until I have a really long holiday in which to do it
fartcatcher

Was forced to read David Copperfield at school. All 1024 pages of it.*

Put me off Dickens for life.

* worries about being able to remember this
Dock

carp wrote:
I thought it was shit.


Best to-the-point book review ever!    

CD does seem to polarise opinion. The three books I have read of his end usually in a happy ever after but its the whole journey rather than the final destination for me with his stories. Ta for the kind words Codge. I'm a big believer that whatever people read is ok and would never be snobby about books but because of the length of this book and its overall stature in the grand scheme of literature I did give myself a bit of a congratulatory pat on the back for getting through it.

Re: David Copperfield. I'll only read that if it gives away the secret of how he went through the Great wall of China. I love magic me.
Nyles O Cranium

Dockens (see what I did there), I think Charlie boy would have benefited greatly from a brave editor who had the courage to say 'Hey Chuck, it's good and all that, but for fuck's sake, Less Is More mate, Less Is More' and restricted his supply of ink, nibs and parchment.
Dock

Nyles O Cranium wrote:
Dockens (see what I did there), I think Charlie boy would have benefited greatly from a brave editor who had the courage to say 'Hey Chuck, it's good and all that, but for fuck's sake, Less Is More mate, Less Is More' and restricted his supply of ink, nibs and parchment.


Good point well made.

I think he got away it because the stories were serialised in the time he wrote them rather than in a book format. If all the text in Bleak House had been published in a one off edition in that day and age it would have taken two big lads and a shire horse to heave the fucker up off a coffee table.
Nyles O Cranium

Coffee wasn't invented by then, FACT.
Plastic Man

Nyles O Cranium wrote:
Dockens (see what I did there), I think Charlie boy would have benefited greatly from a brave editor who had the courage to say 'Hey Chuck, it's good and all that, but for fuck's sake, Less Is More mate, Less Is More' and restricted his supply of ink, nibs and parchment.


If he'd initially followed the editor's advice, it would also have given him the opportunity to later bring out an "uncut" version.
Nyles O Cranium

Very good point there Vincent, well made
Dock

Plastic Man wrote:
Nyles O Cranium wrote:
Dockens (see what I did there), I think Charlie boy would have benefited greatly from a brave editor who had the courage to say 'Hey Chuck, it's good and all that, but for fuck's sake, Less Is More mate, Less Is More' and restricted his supply of ink, nibs and parchment.


If he'd initially followed the editor's advice, it would also have given him the opportunity to later bring out an "uncut" version.


He could've invited everybody to Leeds Waterstones for its launch, only to get a knockback from Heyho because he was off on his holidays.
Nyles O Cranium

A knockback is preferable to being ignored or forgotten though

Not that I'm making any such accusations or anything  My disappointment at a few people not attending was simply because it always promised to be a riproaring night in Whitelocks, and that's the truth y'honour, Gawd strike me down with Tiny Tim's crutches if I's a lying.
Dock

Nyles O Cranium wrote:
A knockback is preferable to being ignored or forgotten though

Not that I'm making any such accusations or anything  My disappointment at a few people not attending was simply because it always promised to be a riproaring night in Whitelocks, and that's the truth y'honour, Gawd strike me down with Tiny Tim's crutches if I's a lying.


Although I have enjoyed your society on other occasions sir, at the moment I am betwixt a rock and a surface that is just as hard with freedom for social occasions. I am slightly bereft of slumber thus shortening my time for japes and scoundralry.
Nyles O Cranium

Excellent, a sorry would have sufficed young fellow mi lad, as indeed it did at the time we are discussing
Dock

Nyles O Cranium wrote:
Excellent, a sorry would have sufficed young fellow mi lad, as indeed it did at the time we are discussing


With that conclusion I shall take my leave sir. Take this farthing I hold before me and fuck off!*


* That last bit is Dockens not Dickens.
Grind

Bleaker House.
A Tale of Three Cities.
A Boxing Day singsong.
The Really Can't be Arsed Supermarket.
Paintings by Boz.
Dombey and Sons.
Lardy Dorrit.
Criss Angel.

I'll shut the fuck up, shall I?
Heyho

Plastic Man wrote:
Nyles O Cranium wrote:
Dockens (see what I did there), I think Charlie boy would have benefited greatly from a brave editor who had the courage to say 'Hey Chuck, it's good and all that, but for fuck's sake, Less Is More mate, Less Is More' and restricted his supply of ink, nibs and parchment.


If he'd initially followed the editor's advice, it would also have given him the opportunity to later bring out an "uncut" version.


I wonder if they ever considered doing an 'uncut' version of Fiddler on the roof?
Late Doors

Nyles O Cranium wrote:
Dockens (see what I did there), I think Charlie boy would have benefited greatly from a brave editor who had the courage to say 'Hey Chuck, it's good and all that, but for fuck's sake, Less Is More mate, Less Is More' and restricted his supply of ink, nibs and parchment.


  Ye Gods and buckets of blood sir. What Next?

Senor Michelangelo ? What is that on the ceiling? surely a bit of Artex would do . And you young Chippendale? don't you know there is an IKEA up the road.
Grind

Heyho wrote:
Plastic Man wrote:
Nyles O Cranium wrote:
Dockens (see what I did there), I think Charlie boy would have benefited greatly from a brave editor who had the courage to say 'Hey Chuck, it's good and all that, but for fuck's sake, Less Is More mate, Less Is More' and restricted his supply of ink, nibs and parchment.


If he'd initially followed the editor's advice, it would also have given him the opportunity to later bring out an "uncut" version.


I wonder if they ever considered doing an 'uncut' version of Fiddler on the roof?


Or even his life as a young man, "Kiddie Fiddler on the Roof?"

* Good gag, BTW.  
Dock

Late Doors wrote:
Nyles O Cranium wrote:
Dockens (see what I did there), I think Charlie boy would have benefited greatly from a brave editor who had the courage to say 'Hey Chuck, it's good and all that, but for fuck's sake, Less Is More mate, Less Is More' and restricted his supply of ink, nibs and parchment.


  Ye Gods and buckets of blood sir. What Next?

Senor Michelangelo ? What is that on the ceiling? surely a bit of Artex would do . And you young Chippendale? don't you know there is an IKEA up the road.


"Excuse me Mr. Steinway, no need for that bloody great contraption. Casio make a keyboard that you can carry under your arm. It has a keyboard effect and also buttons for bossanova and rhumba. It's the same as that thing you have made but it's far lighter and made of plastic."
Late Doors

Indeed, and Mr Milton ? call that poetry?   what exactly is wrong with a nice little limerick that  you can stick on your fridge?

Im picturing Dougal saying that to Father Ted for some reason

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