Friday, July 25, 2014

Wish I'd written that - a Dickens of a time

On reading Charles Dickens:

"Some of it’s fascinating, and it’s marvelously acted, but there’s something about those 19th century novels that just wears on the heart like a dull stone pressing against a ventricle. The courtship rituals are tiresome and boring. All these protestations and fluttery words and fevered attempts to hold someone’s right pinky-finger. The conversations between anyone of the same class seem to take as their motto that one word shall not suffice when 75 may do, and the general effect is like being smothered with fresh bread."

- James Lileks, reading (or listening to an audio version of) The Mystery of Edwin Drood

I completely agree with this, which is why I also stay away from the Brontë sisters, and so many others from that era.

On the other hand, I have no trouble with Shakespeare.  Go figure.

Doctor Who and friend.


  1. I never tire of reading Shakespeare. And since the plays are only about 30 pages in my Riverside Shakespeare collection, I can get through one in 1-2 nights, reading slowly (if anyone's writing deserves more careful attention, it's Will's). I've read most of Dickens' novels and quite enjoyed them, but he never lets you forget that he was paid by the word (or, to be more accurate, the installment, but the result was the same).

    1. You're right on both counts - I'll forgive Dickens for "A Christmas Carol" though, although even there I think the very best of the adaptations tell the story much more.


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