Author Topic: The GMG Pickwick Club  (Read 19926 times)

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Offline -abe-

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Re: The GMG Pickwick Club
« Reply #280 on: March 13, 2018, 05:43:44 PM »
You should definitely read Bleak House, possibly his greatest novel, certainly one of his most ambitious; several concurrent plot lines tie together wonderfully. He tried the same thing in Our Mutual Friend but I find it a bit of a shambles; the motivation behind the story is pretty feeble, nevertheless it has many wonderful scenes.

I would rate Great Expectations his finest novel if he had stuck to his original ending, instead he compromised for fear of upsetting his reading public.

Yes, the original ending is so much better and fitting. The compromised ending just felt false.

This is the one Dickens work I experienced only as an audiobook -- it worked very well due to the first person narration.

I forget who the reader was.

Offline Biffo

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Re: The GMG Pickwick Club
« Reply #281 on: March 14, 2018, 01:46:05 AM »
I have recently commenced reading Martin Chuzzlewit for the first time. I am only a short way in and I find the characters engaging.

I haven't read Martin Chuzzlewit though I did see a butchered television adaptation. I have just downloaded a free copy from Kindle, all I need now is the time to read it.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2018, 02:34:05 AM by Biffo »

Offline DaveF

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Re: The GMG Pickwick Club
« Reply #282 on: March 14, 2018, 02:16:15 AM »
Long time since I read Chuzzlewit, so must return to it sometime soon (my son has currently got me reading Game of Thrones, on the understanding that I'm allowed a break from it every 100 pages or so to read something else).  I've just plugged the last gap in my Dickens novel-reading by finishing The Old Curiosity Shop, which was much better than I'd expected - the weepy Little Nell bits are relatively brief, and the rest is superb.  Find me a better villain outside Shakespeare than Daniel Quilp!
"Just because I like something, it doesn't mean it's any good."

Offline Alberich

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Re: The GMG Pickwick Club
« Reply #283 on: March 14, 2018, 06:47:09 AM »
I, too, ought to read Bleak House (for that matter, I should watch the PBS series, which Bogey was so kind to send).


I was hung up for the longest time on the namesake of this thread.  I probably owe it to Dickens to start Bleak House . . . it's right there, on my Nook . . . .

Don't forget Little Dorrit, Karl!
"Javert, though frightful, had nothing ignoble about him. Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the sense of duty, are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed; but which, even when hideous, remain grand."

- Victor Hugo

Offline aligreto

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Re: The GMG Pickwick Club
« Reply #284 on: March 14, 2018, 09:07:29 AM »
I haven't read Martin Chuzzlewit though I did see a butchered television adaptation. I have just downloaded a free copy from Kindle, all I need now is the time to read it.

A lot of time will be required by both of us to get through this hefty tome.
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Offline aligreto

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Re: The GMG Pickwick Club
« Reply #285 on: March 14, 2018, 09:10:25 AM »
Long time since I read Chuzzlewit, so must return to it sometime soon (my son has currently got me reading Game of Thrones, on the understanding that I'm allowed a break from it every 100 pages or so to read something else).  I've just plugged the last gap in my Dickens novel-reading by finishing The Old Curiosity Shop, which was much better than I'd expected - the weepy Little Nell bits are relatively brief, and the rest is superb.  Find me a better villain outside Shakespeare than Daniel Quilp!

Agreed on The Old Curiosity Shop; a fine work indeed with typically strong Dickensian comment on social conditions and injustice.
The ability to talk comes with knowledge. The ability to listen comes with wisdom.

Offline aligreto

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Re: The GMG Pickwick Club
« Reply #286 on: April 08, 2018, 04:35:28 AM »
I have recently commenced reading Martin Chuzzlewit for the first time. I am only a short way in and I find the characters engaging.

I am half way through this book and I find it over long. I understand about Dickens and part publication etc. but the final book version could have done with some serious editing. I also find the plot meandering aimlessly with no particular focal point.
The ability to talk comes with knowledge. The ability to listen comes with wisdom.

Offline Alberich

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Re: The GMG Pickwick Club
« Reply #287 on: April 08, 2018, 06:29:42 AM »
I am half way through this book and I find it over long. I understand about Dickens and part publication etc. but the final book version could have done with some serious editing. I also find the plot meandering aimlessly with no particular focal point.

While Chuzzlewit is one of the very few Dickens novels I have not completely read yet, I can say that before Dombey Dickens didn't really plan his novels beforehand and favored instead the picaresque style, improvising as he went on. And even after Dombey Dickens never really mastered the handling of plot the way his colleague Collins did. In fact I find Dombey's awful plot much worse than I would have found if there had been no plot at all. Little Dorrit has that extremely convoluted inheritance-story near the end (almost every Dickens book just has to have something to do with secret inheritances) but the book is just so damn great in other parts that it doesn't matter. Our Mutual Friend has a strong plot as well as characters which is one of the reasons why it is my favorite from him. Oliver Twist is picaresque style but it doesn't really show because the plot devices and reveals are much more credible than in some of his later novels that he actually planned. A Tale of two cities is reportedly the one book where Dickens purposefully tried to create a particularly strong plot instead of memorable characters but views differ a lot whether or not the very opposite proved to be true in the final product.

FWIW, Chuzzlewit was in Dickens's opinion "immeasurably the best of my stories" before he wrote Copperfield and Great Expectations. When asked later in life about his best book he almost always answered David Copperfield, except for a short term during the writing of Great Expectations when he considered it better.
"Javert, though frightful, had nothing ignoble about him. Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the sense of duty, are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed; but which, even when hideous, remain grand."

- Victor Hugo

Offline aligreto

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Re: The GMG Pickwick Club
« Reply #288 on: April 08, 2018, 10:30:02 AM »
While Chuzzlewit is one of the very few Dickens novels I have not completely read yet, I can say that before Dombey Dickens didn't really plan his novels beforehand and favored instead the picaresque style, improvising as he went on. And even after Dombey Dickens never really mastered the handling of plot the way his colleague Collins did. In fact I find Dombey's awful plot much worse than I would have found if there had been no plot at all. Little Dorrit has that extremely convoluted inheritance-story near the end (almost every Dickens book just has to have something to do with secret inheritances) but the book is just so damn great in other parts that it doesn't matter. Our Mutual Friend has a strong plot as well as characters which is one of the reasons why it is my favorite from him. Oliver Twist is picaresque style but it doesn't really show because the plot devices and reveals are much more credible than in some of his later novels that he actually planned. A Tale of two cities is reportedly the one book where Dickens purposefully tried to create a particularly strong plot instead of memorable characters but views differ a lot whether or not the very opposite proved to be true in the final product.

FWIW, Chuzzlewit was in Dickens's opinion "immeasurably the best of my stories" before he wrote Copperfield and Great Expectations. When asked later in life about his best book he almost always answered David Copperfield, except for a short term during the writing of Great Expectations when he considered it better.

Thank you for that and I had indeed read that Chuzzlewit was in Dickens's opinion "immeasurably the best of my stories".
The ability to talk comes with knowledge. The ability to listen comes with wisdom.

Offline Alberich

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Re: The GMG Pickwick Club
« Reply #289 on: June 09, 2018, 03:33:08 AM »
Started to re-read Little Dorrit, one of my favorite Dickens novels. In general, it seems I nowadays find those Dickens novels that use satire instead of more gentle humor more interesting. Because Dickens was a master of exaggeration and that's a really useful attribute when it comes to satire. Thus among my favorites are Our Mutual Friend, Little Dorrit and Oliver Twist. Bleak House I still haven't read, and I've heard it has some great satire. Copperfield I tend to like a bit less than I used to because it doesn't use much satire (mostly in character of Steerforth such as when he lectures David about proctors and thus Steerforth is my favorite character in the book). The first half is IMO much better than the second half. On the other hand, Hard Times I don't like much and all the comedy in Oliver Twist is definitely not satire. The same thing with The Old Curiosity Shop and Barbaby Rudge which I like a great deal.
"Javert, though frightful, had nothing ignoble about him. Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the sense of duty, are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed; but which, even when hideous, remain grand."

- Victor Hugo