Author Topic: The GMG Pickwick Club  (Read 33555 times)

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Offline lisa needs braces

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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!
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Offline Jaakko Keskinen

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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."

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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.
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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.
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Offline Jaakko Keskinen

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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".
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Offline Jaakko Keskinen

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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

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: The GMG Pickwick Club
« Reply #290 on: June 26, 2019, 07:55:47 AM »
I have at last finished Our Mutual Friend, magnificent!

Although I almost wanted directly to re-read it, I decided I should give it breathing-space, instead, and I've begun rereading David Copperfield.
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Offline aligreto

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Re: The GMG Pickwick Club
« Reply #291 on: June 26, 2019, 08:34:40 AM »
I have at last finished Our Mutual Friend, magnificent!

Although I almost wanted directly to re-read it, I decided I should give it breathing-space, instead, and I've begun rereading David Copperfield.

It is great to see this thread revived after being dormant for a year. Well done Karl. I must schedule some reading of Dickens myself soon.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

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Re: The GMG Pickwick Club
« Reply #292 on: June 26, 2019, 11:59:30 AM »
I have at last finished Our Mutual Friend, magnificent!

Although I almost wanted directly to re-read it, I decided I should give it breathing-space, instead, and I've begun rereading David Copperfield.

Ain’t it though.

Online vandermolen

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Re: The GMG Pickwick Club
« Reply #293 on: June 27, 2019, 09:19:08 PM »
I have at last finished Our Mutual Friend, magnificent!

Although I almost wanted directly to re-read it, I decided I should give it breathing-space, instead, and I've begun rereading David Copperfield.
Two of his greatest novels IMO and Betsy Trotwood remains my favourite Dickens character.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline aligreto

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Re: The GMG Pickwick Club
« Reply #294 on: March 01, 2020, 04:33:37 AM »
I have just finished reading the gargantuan Dombey and Son [a two volume Heron edition], and one that has rarely been mentioned here. I was very impressed with the in depth characterisation included in the work. The novel also had quite a well defined timeline as far as the plot [story of the characters] goes. This helped greatly [for me] with regard to the architecture of such a massive tome.






The work for me essentially revolves around four main characters namely Dombey, Florence, Edith and Carker although there are many more intriguing and memorable characters involved [not to mention the Son].

Dombey is a wealthy merchant. He is cold, remote, hard, uncompromising, aloof and absorbed in his own self importance. The novel essentially tracks the fortunes of Dombey and the changes that he experiences both materially and emotionally.
Florence is the emotionally rejected daughter of Dombey and is the antithesis of Dombey’s character. She is the novel’s second main character and her growth and development is tracked in detail.
Edith is the second wife of Dombey who possesses an unrelenting will and is almost born to oppose and defy Dombey. She develops a strong relationship with Florence and she is forced to make tough decisions in this regard. She is a really tough and captivating, engaging female character.
Carker is the manipulating Manager of Dombey’s firm who worms his way into becoming Dombey’s personal confidant through his sly and devious methods.

I find it difficult to ascertain who the real “villain” is here, Dombey or Carker.


I would not apply the word compelling but I will say that I read it avidly, taking no breaks from it as I have done with other previous works by Dickens. Yes, it was long and sometimes just a little tiresome but it was ultimately an enjoyable, absorbing and a rewarding read. 
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Online Mandryka

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Re: The GMG Pickwick Club
« Reply #295 on: March 01, 2020, 05:10:01 AM »


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S.M.

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« Last Edit: March 01, 2020, 05:12:46 AM by Mandryka »
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Online Mandryka

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Re: The GMG Pickwick Club
« Reply #296 on: March 01, 2020, 12:23:44 PM »
    Can I view thee panting, lying
    On thy stomach, without sighing;
    Can I unmoved see thee dying
    On a log,
    Expiring frog!’

    Say have fiends in shape of boys
    With wild halloo, and brutal noise
    Hunted thee from marshy joys,
    With a dog,
    Expiring frog!
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Offline aligreto

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Re: The GMG Pickwick Club
« Reply #297 on: August 07, 2020, 12:09:53 AM »
I have just embarked upon the two volume, 1,000+ pages that is David Copperfield…


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Online vandermolen

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Re: The GMG Pickwick Club
« Reply #298 on: August 07, 2020, 05:26:47 AM »
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.
I've just read the original ending for the first time. I agree that it is much better and more poignant than the published version (of 'Great Expectations').
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Herman

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Re: The GMG Pickwick Club
« Reply #299 on: August 08, 2020, 08:10:34 AM »
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.

More than two years later, I need to say I definitely agree. I reread 'Bleak House' I while ago (in fact at the time Biffo posted this). I have always had a very good memory of reading 'Our Mutual Friend' and would like to revisit. 'Great Expectations' is another great one I reread sometime in the past ten years. My girlfriend hates Dickens, finds him corny, I think his later works are amazing early modernist literary symphonies.