PDF · Bleak House ¼ Charles Dickens

Bleak House opens in the twilight of foggy London where fog grips the city most densely in the Court of Chancery The obscure case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce in which an inheritance is gradually devoured by legal costs the romance of This is a very clever book because the main issue with it is exactly the point Dickens is making it is so long and dragged outBleak House is uite the achievement It's a 900 page monster made up a thousand different subplots with a large cast of characters It also fanned the flames that led to a huge overhaul of the legal system in England Buried beneath and entwined with the many subplots is the case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce Dickens's parody of the Chancery Court system because the case is dragged out over many yearsI like Dickens and I can appreciate what Bleak House does but I'm sorry to say I won't be joining the ranks who consider this their favourite His best work objectively? Maybe Who even knows what that means? But definitely not my favourite That would be Great Expectations a novel that just rips my heart out and stomps all over itI really do understand that this is the whole point but so many chapters and events in this book were extended needlessly padded out with waffle and meanderings that seemed to have nothing to do with the novel at large That's very clever and all given that this is a critiue of a court system that extends everything needlessly and gets nothing done but it's a bit of a chore to read It's a shorter book than Les Misérables The Count of Monte Cristo and War and Peace but it truly doesn't feel like itThe characters too were not as memorable as many of Dickens others Having read it I can now see why the Bleak House characters are not household names like Miss Havisham or Bill Sykes I found them bland in comparison I also think it was a mistake to have the simpering I'm so modest and unintelligent Esther Summerson as a narrator Dickens's only female narrator It's unfortunate because I think Dickens usually excels at first person narration but Esther's constant need to reiterate her modesty and lack of intelligence is frustratingIf I were rating this book based on how well it achieved what it set out to do it would be an easy five stars If you believe classics are not there for enjoyment but for self flagellation this is an easy five stars Dickens successfully wrote a long and slow book to show how the legal system is so long and slow Some of the subplots and character dramas were interesting; many were notBlog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

EPUB Bleak House

Bleak HouseList has done Bleak House in its atmosphere symbolism and magnificent bleak comedy is often regarded as the best of Dickens A 'great Victorian novel' it is so inventive in its competing plots and styles that it eludes interpretatio Incredible blows away any other Dickens that I have read although it has been a couple of years Now there are issues with it it FEELS long in a way that some great long books don't which I think is due to the varying narrative stakes of the subplots; Esther Summerson though delightfully written is perhaps the most consistently GOOD character in the history of literature you root for her but it is the rooting of a manipulated reader; and the absurdity of the coincidences is just downright staggering But it's a huge achievement on 5 fronts1 On the line level it's gorgeous Dickens was on a roll for 800 pages I am often guilty of skimming through landscape descriptions but not here2 The plot should seem Byzantine but there are confluences of subplots and A plot that are massively satisfying the love stuff is mostly juicy and good there is a 70 page seuence toward the end that is so suspenseful that you'll read it in 2 seconds and it is varied enough in voice that you mostly sail along with it A lot of the criticism I've read focuses on the alternating 1st and 3rd person I really dug that and thought it was an accomplishment3 I think a great book needs to have at least one completely uniue scene that just sears itself into memory eg the flood seuence in the Makioka Sisters This book has it the spontaneous combustion section is as good and creepy as anything 4 The most important part for me; This is even beyond Gaddis the most generous book with tertiary characters that I have EVER read 40 50 characters deep and they are all uniue and well drawn and uirky and hilarious A few favorites are Detective Bucket who is a mixture of Gene Parmesan and Marlowe; the woman who loves her two ex husbands than her current husband; Mr Chadband a preacher who runs on train oil; and the foppish Mr Turveydrop Throw in the exceptionally likable main supporting characters and it's a helluva cast5 it's really really really funny Bleak House is I think not uite as good as East of Eden but it slots in with it nicely It's epic familially inclined socially critical has some great evil characters and as far as I have read is an accomplishment beyond the rest of the author's oeuvre Recommended if you can spare it the time and the occasional eyeroll

Charles Dickens ¼ Bleak House DOC

READER æ DOC Bleak House ñ CHARLES DICKENS ñ ❮Read❯ ➹ Bleak House ➼ Author Charles Dickens – Bleak House opens in the twilight of foggy London where fog grips the city most densely in the Court of Chancery The obscure case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce in which an inheritancEsther Summerson and the secrets of her origin the sleuthing of Detective Inspector Bucket and the fate of Jo the crossing sweeper these are some of the lives Dickens invokes to portray London society rich and poor as no other nove Which house in Charles Dickens's novel is Bleak House?It surely cannot be the house which bears its name; a large airy house which we first visit in the company of the young wards of Jarndyce Ada Clare and Richard Carstone and their companion Esther Ironically this Bleak House is anything but bleak It is a pleasant place of light and laughter Mr Jarndyce imprints his positive outlook on life never allowing the lawsuit to have any negative influence Indeed when he first took on the house from a relative Tom Jarndyce he says the place had become dilapidated the wing whistled through the cracked walls the rain fell through the broken roof the weeds choked the passage to the rotting door When I brought what remained of him home here the brains seemed to me to have been blown out of the house too; it was so shattered and ruined”Neither can it be another house which is to bear its name far later in the novel So does the title perhaps refer to Tom All Alone's originally owned by Tom Jarndyce but now a decrepit edifice inhabited by poor unfortunates who have nowhere else to go sleeping crammed on top of each other? Tom All Alone's certainly represents the worst of society's injustices Or could it be the immensely grand laybrinthine mansion Chesney Wold owned by Lord and Lady Dedlock? That is a magnificent abode complete with its ominously suggestive Ghost Walk; much admired much respected but devoid of happiness It embodies a bleakness of spirit; those living in it live a lie and mourn the past Or is it likely to be one of the smaller neglected dwellings such as that of Krook the rag and bone merchant whose house is packed to the brim with junk and paper or his neighbour the mad Miss Flite herself once a ward of Jarndyce now reduced to living with her caged birds Hope Joy Youth Peace Rest Life Dust Ashes Waste Want Ruin Despair Madness Death Cunning Folly Words Wigs Rags Sheepskin Plunder Precedent Jargon Gammon and Spinach Or the house inhabited by Mrs Jellyby; yet another neglected house near to falling down as she furthers her missionary zeal leaving her daughter Caddy to cope as best she can with the crumbling household? Her self righteous friend Mrs Pardiggle's house is also a candidate The room which was strewn with papers and nearly filled by a great writing table covered with similar litter was I must say not only very untidy but very dirty We were obliged to take notice of that with our sense of sight even while with our sense of hearing we followed the poor child who had tumbled downstairs I think into the back kitchen where somebody seemed to stifle himAnd the hovel lived in by Jenny and her brickmaker husband is surely a contender; that meagre hut visited with an ostentatious show of charity by the abominable Mrs Pardiggle with her rapacious benevolence if I may use the expression? There is no shortage of candidates for a Bleak House in this behemoth novel but it is by far from clear which house is meant Dickens has given us a surprisingly short title but it is as well disguised as the sixty two word long title for the novel we now call The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit or even simply Martin Chuzzlewit in which throughout the novel we think it is called after one character but on consideration it is likely to be about another Dickens loved his mysteries and this is his greatest completed mystery novel Even the characters are in disguise One has called himself Nemo no one and another has taken great pains to obfuscate her history; yet another has never known his own name In some cases the disguise is not by intention; one of the main characters genuinely does not know who she actually is and thinks she is someone elseBut before this review becomes as baffling as some of the nascent strands in this novel never fear with Dickens everything is tied up nicely by the end perhaps I should set the scene properlyBleak House was Charles Dickens's ninth novel written when he was between 40 and 41 years of age Whilst writing it Dickens's wife Kate gave birth to their tenth child Edward or Plorn A few months later Dickens himself went on tour throughout England with his amateur acting troupe He then became seriously ill with a recurrence of a childhood kidney complaint and was bedridden for six days but still had 17 chapters to write He went to Boulogne France to recover and celebrated finishing Bleak House by holding a banuet in Boulogne for his publishers Bradbury and Evans his close friend the writer Wilkie Collins and several others Each part of the serial was illustrated by his favourite illustrator and great friend Hablot Knight Brown or Phiz with remarkable skill His illustrations take great care to convey the dark brooding mood of the novel or the uirkiness of the characters They even cleverly manage to convey the novel's theme of disguise Esther's face for instance is rarely shown She is usually turned away from the viewer's eye This novel is often considered Dickens's finest work although it is not by any means his most popular His working title for Bleak House was actually Tom All Alone's which seems to indicate that of all the many themes in this book the paramount one in his mind was his hatred of the London slums Dickens loathed both the despicable conditions there and the governmental practices which allowed them to exist He tirelessly campaigned for their improvement But the action itself is intended to illustrate the evils caused by long drawn out suits in the Courts of Chancery Much of it was based on fact as Dickens had observed the inner workings of the courts as a reporter in his youth In Bleak House he observes bitterly The one great principle of the 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 grumbleThis then is the crux of the story but it is wrapped in a magnificently complex tale of mystery and intrigue In fact there are about five major stories all interwoven in Bleak House and it would be difficult to say which the main story is Each is connected to the case of Jarndyce versus Jarndyce and the destructive ramifications of two conflicting and contesting wills echo down the generations and across all strata of society It is a breathtaking accomplishment to plot develop and tell such a complex story in such a riveting way For it has to be borne in mind that this like his preceding novels was only accessible to Dickens's readers in small chunks of three or four chapters at a time once a month stretched over a year and a half March 1852 to September 1853 Yet his readers were gripped entranced demanding; able to remember the myriads of characters from one episode to the next Perhaps this is why Dickens gave his characters such memorable tags Jo the crossing sweeper who don't know nothink subject to grinding poverty and ignorance forever being moved on; the languid My Lady Dedlock fashionably fatigued forever full of ennui and bored with life bored with myself Miss Flite who expects a judgment shortly John Jarndyce to be avoided if the wind is in the east and he is in his growlery Harold Skimpole protesting he is but a child in matters of money The Smallweeds are a grotesue family of caricatures The miserly money lender Grandfather Smallweed is a very old man confined to a chair where he is probably sitting on a large sum of money His wife is living in fear of him and permanently panicked by any mention of money She starts up and talks nonsense until Grandfather Smallweed throws his cushion at her silencing her but reducing himself to a bundle of clothes whereupon we get his catchphrase Shake me up Judy There is the lawyer Tulkinghorn; the man of secrets a great reservoir of confidences or the lesser lawyer Vholes the evil genius There are many short uips such as these carefully planted by Dickens to jog our memories should we need themPerhaps the easiest story to follow is that of Esther Summerson a nobody whose mother was her disgrace She was a poor child with a sense of being guilty for having been born feeling that her birthday was the most melancholy in the whole year She was offered an education and a home by the benefactor John Jarndyce Dickens invites us to view her story as key by alterating passages of the novel making some chapters by an omisicient narrator and some by Esther Unfortunately for a modern audience we uickly lose sympathy with Esther who seems to protest her gaucheness and ineptitude rather too much Perhaps after all it is telling that she is Dickens's only female narratorIn the narrative she makes it very clear how unworthy she is how unattractive and dull compared with her peers She also makes it abundantly clear that anyone reading her words knows that everyone in Bleak House argues with her about this always complimenting her kindness virtue wisdom hard work and her strong sense of gratitude and duty It is tempting to view this as an ironic depiction of Esther were we not now to know that a modest self effacing woman such as this was what Dickens himself admired or at least professed in public to admire The character of Esther was thought to be based on Georgina Hogarth his wife's youngest sister who had joined his household in 1845 and was taking over and of the running of the house She was apparently a self sacrificing sort of person who immersed herself in household duties and was dedicated to the welfare of othersMany other characters in Bleak House were also as was so often the case based on people Dickens knew and sometimes they were famous with his readers too For instance Harold Skimpole that dissembling conniving hypocrite lover of Art Music culture and everything that was fine and tasteful was a thinly veiled portrait of Leigh Hunt an English critic essayist poet and writer who continually sponged off his friends Shelley and Byron Dickens himself admitted this I suppose he is the most exact portrait that was ever painted in words It is an absolute reproduction of a real man Mrs Jellyby was based on Caroline Chisholm who had started out as an evangelical philanthropist in Sydney Australia and then moved to England in 1846 Over the next six years Caroline assisted 11000 people to settle in Australia Dickens admired her greatly and supported her schemes to assist the poor who wished to emigrate However he was appalled by how unkempt her own children were and by the general neglect he saw in her household hence his portrayal of Mrs JellybyAnother character Laurence Boythorn who was continually at odds with Sir Leicester Dedlock over land rights was based on Dickens's friend Walter Savage Landor He also was an English writer and poet; critically acclaimed but not very popular His headstrong nature hot headed temperament and complete contempt for authority landed him in a great deal of trouble over the years His writing was often libellous and he was repeatedly involved in legal disputes with his neighbours And yet Landor was described as the kindest and gentlest of men Perhaps the most poignant character is Jo the crossing sweeper He has No father no mother no friends yet is essential to the plot and clearly has a lot of innate intelligence Perhaps Dickens took especial care with this portrayal as according to Dickens's sixth son Alfred Jo was based on a small boy a crossing sweeper outside Dickens's own house Dickens took a great interest in the lad gave him his meals and sent him to school at night When he reached the age of seventeen Dickens fitted him out and paid his passage to the colony of New South Wales where he did very well writing back to his benefactor three years laterIf Jo is the character likeliest to tug at the heartstrings Inspector Bucket may be the one to admire most; the one who seems before his time presaging much of the detective fiction we enjoy today The character of the astute Inspector Bucket uncomfortable unless he gives Sir Leicester Dedlock Baronet his full title every time is the first ever portrayal of a detective in English fiction as he stands there with his attentive face and his hat and stick in his hands and his hands behind him a composed and uiet listener He is a stoutly built steady looking sharp eyed man in black of about the middle agethere is nothing remarkable about him at first sight but his ghostly manner of appearingDickens based him on the real life Inspector Charles Frederick Field about whom he had already written three articles in Household Words Lady Dedlock's maid Mademoiselle Hortense is one of Dickens's most powerful females; a prototype of Madame Defarge in A Tale of Two Cities full of passion outrage and talk of blood She was modelled on a real life Swiss lady's maid Maria Manning who along with her husband were convicted of the murder of Maria's lover Patrick O'Connor in a case which became known as The Bermondsey Horror All Dickens's contemporary readers would have been familiar with the caseAmusingly one character is named after a real person though she is not a human being at all but a cat Krook's cat Lady Jane is named after Lady Jane Grey who reigned as ueen of England for a mere nine days in 1533 She was forced to abdicate imprisoned and eventually beheadedAlthough the theme of greed and corruption within the law is bitingly serious and a passionately held belief by Dickens and although the mysteries pile one on top of another throughout the book Dickens provides plenty of comic characters to lighten the mood and pepper his stories As well as those mentioned there is the twittery Volumnia Dedlock a poor relation of Sir Leicester Dedlock described as a young lady of sixtyrouged and necklaced And we have the junior lawyer Mr Guppy almost too clever for his own good presented in a ridiculous light although actually having a sound and loyal moral core He is one of my personal favourites There is also Mr Turveydrop the owner of a dance academy and a model of deportment He was pinched in and swelled out and got up and strapped down as much as he could possibly bear Esther comments As he bowed to me in that tight state I almost believe I saw creases come into the whites of his eyes His hardworking dancing master son Prince named after the Prince Regent is another humorous portrayal as is Caddy Jellyby Albeit a drudge and slave for her philanthropic mother we are first intoduced to Caddy as a comical crosspatch with inky fingers The tiny tot Peepy Jellyby is a delight and Caddy's father too is almost pathetically comical finding consolation in leaning his head on walls; any wall seeming to suffice We do get a slightly different view of the other characters through Esther's eyes which makes for interesting reading Harold Skimpole for instance is I think only shown within her purview But with the comic episodes it matters not whose eyes we are viewing them through; we just enjoy their exuberance as a contrast to the simpering sentiments of Esther Dame Durden Old Woman Little Woman Mrs Shipton Mother Hubbard or any of the other appellations coined by the inhabitants of Bleak House She herself is irritatingly wont to call Ada my dear my darling my pet or my love rarely using her actual name even in reported speech My how tastes do change So which house do I personally think Bleak House refers to? It could well be Chesney Wold which by the end has itself become a kind of tomb for the ghosts no flag flying now by day no rows of lights sparkling by night; with no family to come and go no visitors to be the souls of pale cold shapes of rooms no stir of life about itBut given all the metaphors in the novel I am bound to conside the title itself as a metaphorIn most of his works Dickens imbues buildings particuarly old houses with their own personality Each become a character in its own right Bleak House in my view is a metaphor for the High Court of ChancerySo would it be too fanciful of me to suggest that the main character in this novel in the Law itself? Read it and see what you think You don't need to take 18 months as Dickens's public had to But it may be a good idea to not race through this book if you want to follow all the mysteries Perhaps you may wish to explore the contrasting themes of antiuity and tradition represented by Sir Leicester Dedlock set against the ever encroaching Industrial Age; an age of progress represented by the housekeeper's grandson the iron master's son Watt such an appropriate first name Rouncewell Or perhaps the theme of being trapped being a prisoner being caged calls to you There are a host of examples within Or the theme of unhappy families; bad child rearing is shown time and time again in all its many guises with eually devastating effects for rich and poor alike Nearly all the lives of these characters seem to be unfulfilled and have been blighted by coincidences or misunderstandings They are people trapped by their circumstances You may find that you enjoy spotting the codes or the continuing motifs of paper birds disguised faces fire and so on; not to mention getting the most out of Bleak House's masterly complexity and thrilling atmosphere You may love the richness of the language and description Or you may in the end become addicted to the mystery element and read it strictly for the story itself There are many interwoven plots in this novel and altogether there are ten deaths as it proceeds; all of them tragic in different ways and most of them key characters One is due to a hot topic in scientific debate so contentious that Dickens felt the need to defend it in his preface In February 1853 just over halfway through this novel he became involved in a public controversy about the issue of view spoilerspontaneouse combustion hide spoiler