The one dickens I've read
No. I don’t think it is and certainly not for me. In many ways DC is an idealisation of becoming whilst GE is a novel about losing an identity - becoming unmoored and ashamed of oneself. That I think has a far greater depth for me. I love DC but David himself is not the most interesting character in there whereas I think Pip is interesting. I think I said earlier that in some ways GE is the dark obverse of DC. There’s not many novels I have read as often as GE - whatever it’s got works for meDavid Copperfield is better than Great Expectations. I think I will do Pickwick's Papers next.
In my opinion, the case of Kafka and Dickens presents an unprecedented opportunity for interdisciplinary study, incorporating fields as diverse as neuroscience, neurobiology, necromancy, and lycanthropy.
So far as I've read (not far at all), Hard Times reads like a fairy tale for adults (although perhaps he also expected children to read it?) or Roald Dahl meets social realism, or some such tortured comparison.Why, Mr. Bounderby was as near being Mr. Gradgrind’s bosom friend, as a man perfectly devoid of sentiment can approach that spiritual relationship towards another man perfectly devoid of sentiment. So near was Mr. Bounderby—or, if the reader should prefer it, so far off.
He was a rich man: banker, merchant, manufacturer, and what not. A big, loud man, with a stare, and a metallic laugh. A man made out of a coarse material, which seemed to have been stretched to make so much of him. A man with a great puffed head and forehead, swelled veins in his temples, and such a strained skin to his face that it seemed to hold his eyes open, and lift his eyebrows up. A man with a pervading appearance on him of being inflated like a balloon, and ready to start. A man who could never sufficiently vaunt himself a self-made man. A man who was always proclaiming, through that brassy speaking-trumpet of a voice of his, his old ignorance and his old poverty. A man who was the Bully of humility.
‘I hadn’t a shoe to my foot. As to a stocking, I didn’t know such a thing by name. I passed the day in a ditch, and the night in a pigsty. That’s the way I spent my tenth birthday. Not that a ditch was new to me, for I was born in a ditch.’
Jesus August 2021 Corpsey almost made Corpsey January 2022 cry thereThe thing is, the depiction of good people can be seen as sentimentality that pleases us because it deludes us, but the depiction of venal, corrupt people can be just as pandering.
After all, there's something fundamentally pleasing to many people about being told the human race is just a big pile of shit – I recognise that pleasure when I read something like Madame Bovary. Viewed through Flaubert's misanthropic lens, happiness is a delusion, kindness is pretension (or stupidity).
But I also think that when people respond to the depiction of goodness in Dickens they're responding with a sense of renewed recognition. Because while there are some very unlucky people who never meet a good person in their (probably very short) lives, I'd say that the majority of people encounter good people almost every day of their lives.
Not SAINTS, mind you. But fundamentally nice people.