Archive for www.regdafishthinktank.com Here in the Day
 


       www.regdafishthinktank.com Forum Index -> Fishy Tales
Dock

The Old Curiosity Shop - Charles Dickens

“In the majority of cases, conscience is an elastic and very flexible article.” Charles Dickens, 1840

Even though I’m a keen reader I have never read anything by Charles Dickens, but I started a thread on here about book’s you would recommend and both Leb and Codge mentioned some titles by Dickens. Leeds Central Library has most of them so I was a bit spoilt for choice. I plumped for TOCS just on the title. As good a reason as any when faced with a massive canon of novels by the same author to choose from.

Plotwise it tells the tale of little Nell Trent who, with her Granfather, live and work in the old curiosity shop, but for reasons explained in the plot are exiled from their home and they travel the byways of the countryside outside London by foot encountering all kinds of weird and wonderful characters who are both friendly and not so friendly. The narrative is split between reporting on the fates of Nell and her Grandfather and the murky dealings back in London Town of Sampson and Sally Brass (attorneys at law), Frederick Trent (Nells older brother) and his rakish drunkard of a friend, the excellently named Dick Swiveller. But at the polar opposite of Nell’s angelic innocence and well meaning there is Daniel Quilip. Who may well be the best baddie I have ever read of in a novel. To sum Quilip up I would describe him (and I have to borrow a phrase from that great orator and inmate of Slade Prison Mr. Norman Stanley Fletcher) as a “Dispicable Nurk”. Quilip is the height of nastiness and ugliness and in one chapter delivers to a crying toddler, in the hope that it would stop the infants racket, one of the most devastatingly funny lines that I have ever read in any book. Along with Nell we have Christopher ‘Kit’ Nubbles who is a beacon of honesty and good will.

As a fan of writers who write very economical powerful sentences Dickens is as far away from what I usually want from a book as you can imagine. I’m on a couple of book forums and I sought out what other readers thought of Dickens. Many said they couldn’t get past the first ten pages because of his grand style (using a lot of words when a few will do) but I found that once I’d got used to his style and register it made for very easy reading, and was a great way of setting a scene in my imagination as the reader. Especially in a scene where Nell and her Grandfather are leaving London in that strange twilight time between evening and the break of day, which may be two of the greatest paragraphs of descriptive writing I have ever read.

Mrs. D has read some of Dickens books and when I started this she said that Dickens stories held her imagination the way books did when she was a little kid, even though they deal with very adult emotions like love, greed, empathy, dishonesty etc. I totally agree with this statement (I have a tendancy to agree with Mrs. D on most things as I enjoy my state of aliveness).

To conclude I thoroughly enjoyed TOCS and will read other Dickens novels. I think what can scare people with Dickens, Austen, Bronte etc. is that its seen as highbrow literature for serious scholars, but in actual fact as with Shakespeare these stories were the domain of the basically educated working classes. It was later on in history that the higher-ups claimed literature and theatre as theirs and theirs only. The Old Curiosity Shop is a great novel and it seems to me that as a writer Dickens had a very sharp wit and a bottomless well of understanding when it came to human nature. 10/10
Sir Bulldog Craggwood

high praise! excellent write up Dock

never read any Dickens and remember being put off by Nicholas Nickleby - the Opera in the early 80s on Channel 4

did you laugh at the death of little Nell?
Nyles O Cranium

Best selling novel of all time?  I was quite incredulous - A Tale Of Two Cities, or so I was told twice recently.

Not read the Curiosity Shop thing (not read Dock's review yet either) but one criticism of Dickens definitely applies in my opinion - less certainly is not more when it comes to Charlie boy, he could have done with a better editor

There are some brilliant aspects to his writing though, I don't care if that sounds pretentious, it is the truth!
Nyles O Cranium

Great review that Dock  

He didn't approve much of this old Leeds here did he, is it David Copperfield or Nick Nickleby where we get a mention?  I think Dotheboys Hall or whatever it's called is intimated to be in Leeds too.  Could be wrong though, apologies if so.

Oliver Twist is a complex plot with more characters than are generally portrayed in screen adaptations.  Great book though, if you want to write a thriller or spy stuff, I bet you could learn from this.  Same with Great Expectations.  I couldn't seem to be able to 'pierce' Bleak House though, it all seemed way too weighty to get into.  

I read OT and GE specifically to compare them with screen adaptations.  Classic films which do the books some justice, but we should all read the books anyway.  A Christmas Carol too, one of THE greatest stories ever told in my ever so 'umble opinion  No, I know that's not from there..
Dock

Sir Bulldog Craggwood wrote:
high praise! excellent write up Dock

never read any Dickens and remember being put off by Nicholas Nickleby - the Opera in the early 80s on Channel 4

did you laugh at the death of little Nell?


You're a hard-hearted man Dawg!  

No I didn't. I have never cried at a book. I know a lot people do but I have never been one of them.
Late Doors

fantastic
Quote:
his rakish drunkard of a friend

who hasn't got one one of them?. Hell, you may be one of them yourself.

Dicko, if i may  , is more important than Shakespeare, controversial i know, but there y' go
Dock

Late Doors wrote:
fantastic
Quote:
his rakish drunkard of a friend

who hasn't got one one of them?. Hell, you may be one of them yourself.

Dicko, if i may  , is more important than Shakespeare, controversial i know, but there y' go


I think thats a bit of a Beatles or Stones question LD. I think both are great but if I had to choose I would go with Dickens merely on the fact that I believe a lot more goes into writing a book than writing a play.
Young Marxist at Tescos

Read this a few years back.  Agree it's a great book; a lot of humour in there but capable of tearing you up as well.  Intersting characters, fabulous names.  Loved it.
Cutsyke

Read loads of them in school. I hate 'em. Can't read too many old books. I'm a modern(ish)  English man me.

My 11 year old's reading some Jack London stuff in school now which has got me back into Klondike Tales and the like. Now that's writing.
bearing

Dickens mentioned the black country in TOCS. this sentence of his describing the chimney's of the area probably described it perfectly in his time.

Poured out their plague of smoke, obscured the light, and made foul the melancholy air


He was rather disparaging of my home town too when he found himself stranded between trains for the night in Stafford, and wrote of Stafford being,

as dull and dead town as anyone could desire not to see

He also described the local hotel The Swan thus..

The Dodo in the dull High Street

it provides me with a tactless desert of a sitting room, with a chair for each year, a table for every month and a waste of sideboard where a lonely China vase pines in a corner for its mate long departed and will never make match with the candlestick in the opposite corner if it lives till Doomsday. The dodo has nothing in the larder. Even now I behold the boots returning with my sole in a piece of paper and with that portion of my dinner, the boots, perceiving me at the blank bow window, slaps his leg as he comes across the road, pretending it is something else. The Dodo excludes the outer air. When I mount up to my bedroom, a smell of closeness and flue gets lazily up my nose like sleepy snuff. The loose little bits of carpet writhe under my tread and take wormy shapes The Dodo is narrow minded as to towels, expect me to wash on a freemason's apron without the trimming; when I asked for soap gives me a strong hearted something white, with no more lather in it than the Elgin marbles. The Dodo has seen better days

What a cunt...
Dock

bearing wrote:
Dickens mentioned the black country in TOCS. this sentence of his describing the chimney's of the area probably described it perfectly in his time.

Poured out their plague of smoke, obscured the light, and made foul the melancholy air


He was rather disparaging of my home town too when he found himself stranded between trains for the night in Stafford, and wrote of Stafford being,

as dull and dead town as anyone could desire not to see

He also described the local hotel The Swan thus..

The Dodo in the dull High Street

it provides me with a tactless desert of a sitting room, with a chair for each year, a table for every month and a waste of sideboard where a lonely China vase pines in a corner for its mate long departed and will never make match with the candlestick in the opposite corner if it lives till Doomsday. The dodo has nothing in the larder. Even now I behold the boots returning with my sole in a piece of paper and with that portion of my dinner, the boots, perceiving me at the blank bow window, slaps his leg as he comes across the road, pretending it is something else. The Dodo excludes the outer air. When I mount up to my bedroom, a smell of closeness and flue gets lazily up my nose like sleepy snuff. The loose little bits of carpet writhe under my tread and take wormy shapes The Dodo is narrow minded as to towels, expect me to wash on a freemason's apron without the trimming; when I asked for soap gives me a strong hearted something white, with no more lather in it than the Elgin marbles. The Dodo has seen better days

What a cunt...




*crosses off leatherbound 'Complete Works of Charles Dickens' set from Bearings Christmas list*
Late Doors

Went to see a stage performance of this at the LBT last Saturday and it was one of the best things we've seen there. Faithfull to the Dickens original story in all but time and setting. The old curiosity shop replaced with an old Vinyl record shop run by grandpa and little Nell.

It was their odyssey around England as they escaped the wrath of their landlord equally as despicable as Dickens' Quilipp.

Dick E Swiveller was a London rapper slightly less rakish and rascally than the original otherwise it was exactly the same characters modernised perfectly.

It is a vast story and the play took some leaps with bouts of explanatory narrative but the Theatre Alibi group  pulled it off brilliantly and all against the backdrop of an ace music score.

The  lasting impression is how little has changed since Dickensian Britain and modern day in terms of morality and the fabric of society. The human spirit in all its form remains as do the power barriers and segregations of wealth. it's a testament to the production and cast that they portrayed that with such vigour and intensity throughout the voyage of grandpa and Nell. It left us both enthralled
Dock

Out of all the Dickens novels I have read since TOCS Daniel Quilp is still my favorite character. Ta for the write up LD, it sounds like an interesting adaption of the book.

       www.regdafishthinktank.com Forum Index -> Fishy Tales
Page 1 of 1
Create your own free forum | Buy a domain to use with your forum
I told you. We're an anarcho-syndicalist commune