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Little Dorritt by Charles Dickens

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fljustice
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Location: Brooklyn, NY
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Little Dorritt by Charles Dickens

Postby fljustice » Sun November 7th, 2010, 6:06 pm

I posted an extensive review of Little Dorritt by Charles Dickens on my blog. Here's the beginning:

Every now and then, I turn back to the classics and remind myself why they are “classic.” Charles Dickens has always been a favorite of mine, but I had never read Little Dorritt. I picked up a Wordsworth edition (over 800 pages with introduction, preface and footnotes) which sat on my “To Be Read” shelf for several months before I plucked up the energy to tackle it. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down.

The story is simple: a few good souls struggle with fate’s decrees, society’s vagaries, fools and evil-doers to find “a modest life of usefulness and happiness.” Oh, but what innocent souls, twisted evil-doers and delicious fools! There’s a reason why “Dickensian” is applied to certain well-drawn characters. Dickens saw deep into the heart of humankind and had a wonderful facility for bringing people to life in lush eccentric detail. (Read the rest here.)
Last edited by fljustice on Sun November 7th, 2010, 6:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Faith L. Justice, Author Website
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Michy
Bibliophile
Location: California

Postby Michy » Sun November 7th, 2010, 9:08 pm

As I believe I mentioned elsewhere on this forum, I recently picked this up in an audio dramatized version, as something to listen to on a 6-hour drive. Unfortunately, it made my eyes glaze over and I quit after the first disc. After I got home I tried it again, and made it into the second disc. I usually really enjoy Dickens, so I think the problem may be that this is a book that just doesn't dramatize well - ?? I'm going to give it one more go before I give up on it...

SGM
Compulsive Reader

Postby SGM » Sun November 7th, 2010, 10:06 pm

"Michy" wrote:I usually really enjoy Dickens, so I think the problem may be that this is a book that just doesn't dramatize well - ?? I'm going to give it one more go before I give up on it...


I enjoyed the Derek Jacobi version but didn't have time to watch the most recent one with Tom Courtney. It is long. But this is one Dickens I haven't got round to reading yet.
Currently reading - Emergence of a Nation State by Alan Smith

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Michy
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Location: California

Postby Michy » Mon November 8th, 2010, 5:20 am

The version I have is a BBC Radio Classic and stars Ian McKellen. I find it hard to follow, and as a consequence my attention wanders. Probably if I had read the book first it would be easier, but for a first-timer, there isn't enough fill-in narration to help the listener make sense of what's happening.

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sweetpotatoboy
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Location: London, UK

Postby sweetpotatoboy » Mon November 8th, 2010, 10:59 am

I very much enjoyed the recent BBC dramatisation - all until the very last episode. It was all very confusing with the various plot threads being tied up very suddenly. But, overall, excellent.

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fljustice
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Postby fljustice » Mon November 8th, 2010, 7:44 pm

I saw the recent BBC dramatization first, then got the book. It's dense with the usual dozen plus plots and many dozen characters. What fascinated me were the thoroughly modern themes of gridlocked government, ineffective regulators, and financial malfeasance. Dickens wrote this right after a decade of boom and bust Railroad speculations, recent inquires into war profiteering (the Crimean War), and the collapse of several banks that ruined many small contributors. One hundred-fifty years later and we're still dealing with the same problems!
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SGM
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Postby SGM » Mon November 8th, 2010, 8:05 pm

"fljustice" wrote:I saw the recent BBC dramatization first, then got the book. It's dense with the usual dozen plus plots and many dozen characters. What fascinated me were the thoroughly modern themes of gridlocked government, ineffective regulators, and financial malfeasance. Dickens wrote this right after a decade of boom and bust Railroad speculations, recent inquires into war profiteering (the Crimean War), and the collapse of several banks that ruined many small contributors. One hundred-fifty years later and we're still dealing with the same problems!


As they say: "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose".

I guess that's why his novels are classics.
Currently reading - Emergence of a Nation State by Alan Smith

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Margaret
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Favorite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
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Postby Margaret » Tue November 9th, 2010, 6:54 am

Thanks for a wonderful review, Faith. I haven't read Little Dorrit, but must make time for it. My appreciation for Dickens seems to grow over the years, as I encounter more of the exasperating types of institutions and personalities he writes about in his novels. Is our society becoming more like the England of Dickens' day, or is it a function of the loss of innocence that comes with increasing maturity? In any case, Dickens writes about these horrors with perception, insight, compassion for those who suffer from them, and a sort of gleeful, almost swashbuckling indictment of those who perpetrate them, which makes for compelling fiction.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

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fljustice
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Postby fljustice » Tue November 9th, 2010, 4:36 pm

"Margaret" wrote:Thanks for a wonderful review, Faith. I haven't read Little Dorrit, but must make time for it. My appreciation for Dickens seems to grow over the years, as I encounter more of the exasperating types of institutions and personalities he writes about in his novels. Is our society becoming more like the England of Dickens' day, or is it a function of the loss of innocence that comes with increasing maturity? In any case, Dickens writes about these horrors with perception, insight, compassion for those who suffer from them, and a sort of gleeful, almost swashbuckling indictment of those who perpetrate them, which makes for compelling fiction.



You're welcome, Margaret! I read a lot of the classics very young--high school and college and didn't appreciate them til much later when I had a bit of life experience. I've been rereading my favorite authors, and trying to read something new, a few each year for the last couple of decades.

In tough financial times with a disintegrating social safety net, it does feel more like Dickens' days. In the introduction, Peter Preston notes that nearly fifty years after Little Dorritt was written, Bernard Shaw said, "when the English nation realises that it is a great book and a true book, there will be a revolution in this country." The revolution didn't happen...WWI did. :(
Faith L. Justice, Author Website

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