Thursday, December 13, 2012

Rereading Great Expectations

Surely, I am rereading it?
If so, why does every line spring so fresh; and why do certain passages seem so apposite
to today? (Check out an early section on the particular terror contained by small children).

I must have confused the watching with the reading, and the other night, turning off the set after viewing David Lean's happy ending, I had to wonder what had Dickens described, and so I began.
Did you know, it opens on Christmas Eve?  I had no recollection of that, either.

It is fascinating to me that the past of England is so gloriously romanticized-(excuse me, present too.
Who bloody CARES which royal is preggers?) while Dickens did a wonderful job of documenting
England's meanness and misery.  

Yes, I agree, you have to be in the mood for slightly archaic language, vivid description and incisive characterization.  Dickens shows and tells, something many modern writers seem to have forgotten.
No recipe today, I must get back to my book.


  1. My favorite Dickens. And right from the get-go: "The man, after looking at me for a moment, turned me upside down, and emptied my pockets.There was nothing in them but a piece of bread. When the church came to itself - for he was so sudden and strong that he made it go head over heels before me, and I saw the steeple under my feet - when the church came to itself, I say, I was seated on a high tombstone, trembling..."

    Dickens paints, doesn't he? No doubt that's why they're always movieing, mini-seriesing, and musicaling him. He's done all the work.
    How about the Pocket kids tumbling up? Wemmick's post-office mouth, Mr. Jaggers: "Not a particle of evidence, Pip. Take nothing on looks and everything on evidence."

    Lean's adaptation is the best I've ever come across, of any Dickens (despite the ending, and Dickens did write two different endings; a happy and a sad. The happy betrays the story).

    Oh, I'm heading for the library. This is one of my once-every-year books. And I want a savory pork pie.

  2. "Savorrry pork pieeee."

    The answer to your question, Des ("why does every line spring so fresh...?") I'm sure you know: it's Dickens.

    I agree, Lean's is the best adaptation.

    John and I had both just read Peter Ackroyd's biography of Dickens (it's Ackroyd's best) when we adopted our urchin pooch and named him Boz.

  3. I have a soft spot forDickens too. I re read A Tale of Two Cities a few years back. That one is my favorite

  4. Never have read Dickens. I do want to see the BBC adaption of Great Expectations with Gillian Anderson. So many stinkers out there. Hope this one is't among them

  5. btw: just read that in Dickens notes Ms Havisham was in her mid 50's. That ought to depress you.

  6. PA: Your appreciation of Dickens was probably banished by an enforced reading of material during high school-- Mid-fifties? Doncha know 50's the new 5?
    AH and M: At this time (as I have yet to finish GE) I say that David Copperfield is my favorite. The way that artist plucks at our heart strings--the way Mr. Micawber is based on his father--he's a humanist. Forgive me, P: but I think I don't want to read about his biography and human failings. Writer's lives rarely live up to their creations, if they're doing it right. It's enough for me when people can do one thing well. (but of course I love that that's how you named your pooch)

  7. Can't blame it on that. Actually I had a close friend (the one I traveled in the Chevette with) who was a good student/girl. She was the one who introduced me to the joys of reading. We spent time on our get aways reading to one another. I did make the mistake of signing up for a literature class on Puritan literature at PCC. Moby Dick and the speeches of Cotton Mather. Shoot me.

  8. I love you stories--I am not alone