Author Topic: The GMG Pickwick Club  (Read 17377 times)

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Offline Bogey

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The GMG Pickwick Club
« on: July 17, 2015, 09:30:52 AM »
A number of us here greatly enjoy the writings of Charles Dickens and I have found that many of the thoughtful posts that folks took time to write are worth reading again from time to time.  This is especially true when one like myself picks up a Dickens' novel and enjoys hearing the thoughts of others after reading it and then being able to converse about this shared reading.  However, these Dickens posts are somewhat buried in 300 plus pages of the reading thread and I thought it would be nice to put them under one roof so that they are easy to reference.  So, anything dealing with Dickens is most welcomed here, especially the novels, but also news, movies, and whatever else you come across. 

So,

'That, with the view just mentioned, this Association has taken into its serious consideration a proposal, emanating from the aforesaid, Samuel Pickwick, Esq., G.C.M.P.C., and three other
Pickwickians herein after named, for forming a new branch of United Pickwickians, under the title of The Corresponding Society of the Pickwick Club.


Members to date

Members of the GMG Pickwick Club to date.  If you would like me to edit your name in some fashion or removed, just drop me a message.  (Names are listed in order of first posting.)   that

The bylaws (which we can make up on a whim to encourage participation on this thread, change if it encourages said participation, interpret freely to encourage the said said participation, etc, etc.) indicates that any person that submits a post on this page or requests to be a member in writing, in a text, through email, by telegraph, via a cheerful shout etc., etc. will be submitted into the Pickwick Club without hesitation.

Bogey (Bill)
Karl
aligreto
Archaic Torso of Apollo
Alberich
mc ukrneal (Neal)
Elgarian (Alan)
Jeffrey Smith
Florestan (Andrei)
-abe-
zamyrabyrd
North Star (Karlo)
'vandermolen' (Jeffrey)
Brian (a.k.a. Brian) ;D
Ken B.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2016, 08:30:10 AM by Bogey »
There will never be another era like the Golden Age of Hollywood.  We didn't know how to blow up buildings then so we had no choice but to tell great stories with great characters.-Ben Mankiewicz

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: The Pickwick Club
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2015, 09:40:58 AM »
Alastair Sim as Scrooge is an annual inspiration for us at home.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
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http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
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His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Bogey

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Re: The Pickwick Club
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2015, 10:10:43 AM »
Alastair Sim as Scrooge is an annual inspiration for us at home.

I read to Linda each year the preparation of the meal by the Cratchits.  We never tire of the annual visit into their home.
There will never be another era like the Golden Age of Hollywood.  We didn't know how to blow up buildings then so we had no choice but to tell great stories with great characters.-Ben Mankiewicz

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: The Pickwick Club
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2015, 10:11:19 AM »
Lovely!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Bogey

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Re: The Pickwick Club
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2015, 10:41:08 AM »
I had just read Oliver Twist last month. That is a wonderful book to read; great characters and a good strong plot.
I had never thought of the difficulties of translating Dickes. How would the humour, wit and irony of Pickwick Papers translate?!?!

I need to read this again as it did not capture me like David Copperfield.  I compare the two here as I could not help doing so during my read of Oliver Twist.  I found the main character to be too meek at points and thee supporting cast was not at the same level as Dc imo.  However, what I really need to do is keep them both separate and enjoy each for what it is.
There will never be another era like the Golden Age of Hollywood.  We didn't know how to blow up buildings then so we had no choice but to tell great stories with great characters.-Ben Mankiewicz

Offline aligreto

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Re: The Pickwick Club
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2015, 01:03:52 PM »
I need to read this again as it did not capture me like David Copperfield.  I compare the two here as I could not help doing so during my read of Oliver Twist.  I found the main character to be too meek at points and thee supporting cast was not at the same level as Dc imo.  However, what I really need to do is keep them both separate and enjoy each for what it is.

Undoubtedly David Copperfield is a much stronger and more complete work than Oliver Twist. However I think that Oliver Twist is a strong enough work in its own right and will bear up to scrutiny. It is well worth a read/re-read. The plot of Oliver Twist is a good one I think but the characterisation in general can be a bit weak at times. However the cunning and manipulation of the Fagin character is well developed given that he is a central character.
The ability to talk comes with knowledge. The ability to listen comes with wisdom.

Offline aligreto

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Re: The Pickwick Club
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2015, 01:08:13 PM »
This is definitely a good idea for a thread.

What I like about Dickens are his real life characters and the infusion of humour, wit and irony into the comment and conversation; Pickwick being a classic example. I also like the comment and dissertations on the social injustices of the time which were reflected in quite a lot of his works. His lack of fear of open comment was laudable on these matters. He could also be a very good story teller even to the extent that there are stories within his stories. I find Dickens to always be an enjoyable read.
The ability to talk comes with knowledge. The ability to listen comes with wisdom.

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: The Pickwick Club
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2015, 01:52:41 PM »
This is definitely a good idea for a thread.

I agree. All things considered, and despite some notable flaws, he's still probably the overall greatest novelist in the English language.

My only real problem is that his novels are (with a few exceptions) enormous. There are some that I'd love to dive into, but I'm afraid I just don't have the time.
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"Who knows not strict counterpoint, lives and dies an ignoramus" - CPE Bach

Offline Bogey

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Re: The Pickwick Club
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2015, 03:57:40 PM »
I agree. All things considered, and despite some notable flaws, he's still probably the overall greatest novelist in the English language.

My only real problem is that his novels are (with a few exceptions) enormous. There are some that I'd love to dive into, but I'm afraid I just don't have the time.

I agree.  I am careful to make sure I do not start one of his novels if I know its going to be a busier than normal month.  I like to read his works with at least a 50 page clip per day.
There will never be another era like the Golden Age of Hollywood.  We didn't know how to blow up buildings then so we had no choice but to tell great stories with great characters.-Ben Mankiewicz

Offline Bogey

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Re: The Pickwick Club
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2015, 03:58:10 PM »
Undoubtedly David Copperfield is a much stronger and more complete work than Oliver Twist. However I think that Oliver Twist is a strong enough work in its own right and will bear up to scrutiny. It is well worth a read/re-read. The plot of Oliver Twist is a good one I think but the characterisation in general can be a bit weak at times. However the cunning and manipulation of the Fagin character is well developed given that he is a central character.
 

I will absolutely revisit it.
There will never be another era like the Golden Age of Hollywood.  We didn't know how to blow up buildings then so we had no choice but to tell great stories with great characters.-Ben Mankiewicz

Offline aligreto

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Re: The Pickwick Club
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2015, 12:40:20 AM »
 

I will absolutely revisit it.

Great; I look forward to your comments and it is not too big a volume relative to other novels  ;D
The ability to talk comes with knowledge. The ability to listen comes with wisdom.

Online mc ukrneal

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Re: The Pickwick Club
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2015, 01:54:32 AM »
What I have noticed is that I really dislike the books where I saw a movie of it first. This includes Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol and Tale of Two Cities. I would place the first two in my list of top 10 hated books.

Where I read the book first (regardless of whether I actually saw the film if there was one), I have loved his books. This includes David Copperfield, Bleak House, Pickwick Club, and Great Expectations. David Copperfield is a top 5 book for me. So it really is a tale of two cities!
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Offline Bogey

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Re: The Pickwick Club
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2015, 03:24:28 AM »
What I have noticed is that I really dislike the books where I saw a movie of it first. This includes Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol and Tale of Two Cities. I would place the first two in my list of top 10 hated books.

Where I read the book first (regardless of whether I actually saw the film if there was one), I have loved his books. This includes David Copperfield, Bleak House, Pickwick Club, and Great Expectations. David Copperfield is a top 5 book for me. So it really is a tale of two cities!

Which of the film versions of the first three you listed do you enjoy, Neil? 

I have been avoiding watching any of the films of the novel I have not read first so I do not run into this, 
There will never be another era like the Golden Age of Hollywood.  We didn't know how to blow up buildings then so we had no choice but to tell great stories with great characters.-Ben Mankiewicz

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: The Pickwick Club
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2015, 04:29:21 AM »
I entirely get that, Neil, partly because the actors create an image of the character, but more especially because film necessarily has an economy of pace (and incident) which is much more (to use a word very au courant in Europe these days) austere than Dickens's books.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: The Pickwick Club
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2015, 06:31:11 AM »
Speaking of Dickens being acted, one interesting early experience for me was the 9-hour stage version of Nicholas Nickleby, done in the 1980s. At the time I was in high school and didn't like Dickens very much, but this was a revelation to me. At least, it was clear that Dickens could have been an equally great playwright if he had chosen to go that way.
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Online mc ukrneal

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Re: The Pickwick Club
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2015, 06:45:16 AM »
Which of the film versions of the first three you listed do you enjoy, Neal? 

I have been avoiding watching any of the films of the novel I have not read first so I do not run into this, 
That's the thing. I don't enjoy any of those films.

I entirely get that, Neal, partly because the actors create an image of the character, but more especially because film necessarily has an economy of pace (and incident) which is much more (to use a word very au courant in Europe these days) austere than Dickens's books.
I think that is it too. The films have a hard time capturing the flare/essence of his language.
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Offline Alberich

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Re: The Pickwick Club
« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2015, 07:57:09 AM »
However the cunning and manipulation of the Fagin character is well developed given that he is a central character.
¨
Agreed. Dickens is great in how he introduces characters that are in many ways diabolical, but, usually towards the end, he shifts into their perspective that really makes you empathize with the villain. Fagin is often compared to devil who has his former subordinates killed to avoid sharing the loot, deliberately has Nancy murdered and is certainly not the harmless old man Oliver! musical makes him out to be. Yet he seems to have genuine pride with Dodger (easily my favorite character in the book), is softened in this one peculiar scene where he doesn't dare to wake sleeping Oliver and finally, most importantly, chapter 52. Often considered very uncomfortable to read because of its blatant antisemitism, I nevertheless feel it also clearly shows sympathy for Fagin's torment. In that chapter you really feel Fagin's panic at the incoming execution. The crowd's bloodthirstiness is alarming and makes you feel that Fagin is not hanged for justice but for crowd's entertainment. Dickens himself often attended public executions and expressed contempt towards people in their lack of empathy towards condemned's agony. As mentioned in other thread, certain Jewish woman, Eliza Davis, objected to his portrayal of Fagin, which eventually lead Dickens to create a benevolent Jew in character of Riah in Our mutual friend. Unfortunately, he's not very interesting character, but it was regardless a nice gesture to try to make amends, which was noted by Davis who later gave him a copy of Benisch's Hebrew and English Bible inscribed: "Presented to Charles Dickens, in grateful and admiring recognition of his having exercised the noblest quality men can possess -- that of atoning for an injury as soon as conscious of having inflicted it."

My favorite part of Oliver Twist must be Fagin's witty explanation about "number one" in the beginning of chapter 43 and later, in the same chapter, trial of Dodger. Consensus seems to be that the criminal underworld is portrayed very powerfully and the world of benevolent characters is full of unbearable sentimentalism. I am inclined to agree, although I do like Mr. Brownlow from the good guys.

My favorite Dickens character used to be Ralph Nickleby from Nicholas Nickleby, but that was mostly due to having read an excellently translated copy of it. When I actually read it in english, his character's appeal to me was much reduced. Nowadays, my favorite character is either James Steerforth, the lovable Byronic hero from Copperfield or Bradley Headstone, the passionate schoolmaster from Our mutual friend. Dickens often succeeded well with Byronic heroes, after Steerforth came Harthouse from Hard Times, Henry Gowan from Little Dorrit, Sydney Carton from Tale of two cities, and Eugene Wrayburn from Our Mutual Friend. I love all of them but I feel Steerforth was his most fully realized and perfectly created one.

Btw, the best Scrooge, to me, is this one, amusingly enough:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jzsKJvWiEI
"Whatever causes night in our souls may leave stars."
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Offline Bogey

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Re: The Pickwick Club
« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2015, 01:21:39 PM »
¨

My favorite Dickens character used to be Ralph Nickleby from Nicholas Nickleby, but that was mostly due to having read an excellently translated copy of it. When I actually read it in english, his character's appeal to me was much reduced. Nowadays, my favorite character is either James Steerforth, the lovable Byronic hero from Copperfield or Bradley Headstone, the passionate schoolmaster from Our mutual friend. Dickens often succeeded well with Byronic heroes, after Steerforth came Harthouse from Hard Times, Henry Gowan from Little Dorrit, Sydney Carton from Tale of two cities, and Eugene Wrayburn from Our Mutual Friend. I love all of them but I feel Steerforth was his most fully realized and perfectly created one.

Btw, the best Scrooge, to me, is this one, amusingly enough:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jzsKJvWiEI



Hmmmm.  Favorite Dickens' character?  Well, in a supporting role, it must be Tommy Traddles for me.  When reading Copperfield, I just admired the friendship he showed David and just how he went about his world.

There will never be another era like the Golden Age of Hollywood.  We didn't know how to blow up buildings then so we had no choice but to tell great stories with great characters.-Ben Mankiewicz

Offline aligreto

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Re: The Pickwick Club
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2015, 03:18:35 AM »
One of my everlasting favourite character creations by Dickens is that of Sam Weller in Pickwick Papers. His sense of wit, irony and sometimes overt mockery have oten made me laugh ot loud. His is a very "natural" character which seems to organically grow and develop as the story line moves on.
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Offline Alberich

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Re: The Pickwick Club
« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2015, 03:48:10 AM »

Hmmmm.  Favorite Dickens' character?  Well, in a supporting role, it must be Tommy Traddles for me.  When reading Copperfield, I just admired the friendship he showed David and just how he went about his world.

Interestingly, I always felt Steerforth's and David's friendship felt much more genuine because they actually had some quarrels and problems with their friendship, and their whole relationship is so tragically powerfully portrayed. Steerforth actually feels despair in one scene how he is incapable of changing his villainous plans to take Em'ly and ironically, (in contrast to David's horrifying experiences with "firm" Murdstones) he actually hopes he would have had stern, firm father figure in his life. It is interesting that Dickens himself admitted he cried when he read about Steerforth's death. Similarly, I preferred David's first wife, Dora, to his second, Agnes.

In general, I like his villains/flawed characters more because they are the ones where Dickens really releases his psychological skills, when describing their state of minds and personalities. This is true with most other authors too but perhaps with no other author I feel about it so strongly as with Dickens.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2015, 03:54:36 AM by Alberich »
"Whatever causes night in our souls may leave stars."
 - Victor Hugo