Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Charles Dickens is guilty of several literary crimes, principally mawkish sentimentality and over-use of the plot device of improbable coincidence, but you can forgive a man anything who can drop in an incidental description like this (from David Copperfield):

She had a cousin in the Life Guards, with such long legs that he looked like the afternoon shadow of somebody else.


Anonymous said...

Oh dear, did I miss lots of such gems when I skipped great chunks of Dickens, searching for the characters and dialogues? Do I have to go back and read them all again or will you post the best?

My belated apologies to Sister Vincent and all other teachers of English Literature. I thought you made us read Dickens so that we would appreciate Jane Austen!

Harry Eagar said...

To me, his greatest sin (or most objectionable feature) was his contempt for ordinary blokes, such as myself.

It possibly didn't help either that when everybody else in 9th grade was assigned 'Great Expectations,' I was specially given 'Copperfield' because it was twice as long and the hope was, I think, it would keep me quiet while the rest struggled along.

Anyhow, I thought Dora or whatever her name was was an insipid little pill and David would have been better off without her. I prefer happy endings.

Brit said...

It's often said that the fact that Dickens viewed Copperfield as his favourite creation illustrates that authors are the worst judges of their own work.