Monday, 1 November 2010

The trouble with Dickens

I'd suggest any hardcore Dickens fan skip this post.

I'm a lifelong book geek, bookshops and libraries are my idea of Heaven. Reading is both a pleasure and a source of joy to me. I have a Bachelors degree in English Literature and am currently studying for a Masters in the same. I wouldn't do this if I didn't enjoy it.
But I do have a problem with the next book I have to read for class. It's Bleak House by Charles Dickens. I don't like Dickens, never have, probably never will. I can just about tolerate Great Expectations (because I feel for Miss Havisham) and A Christmas Carol (it might be the Muppet version that makes this one ok), but beyond that, thanks but no thanks.
Part of the problem is that many of his books are the same. Poor little orphan, terrible trials, benevolent benefactor, happy endings. Even Great Expectations follows this pattern. I know it isn't exactly the same in each book, but the basic plot is.
I'm not negating his works importance at the time in raising awareness of poverty, workhouses and the contribution his writing may have made to changes brought about to alleviate the suffering, but, like many of the other C19th members of the literary canon (Brontes, Austen, Hardy, Eliot) I just cannot get along with him.
So this week's reading assignment is going to be oh-so-much fun.
My friend has lent me the recent BBC adaptation, but that may take longer to watch than the book takes to read, so no joy there. Off I go to read a book that is described in the title. Bleak.

Are there any books/authors you can't stand?

1 comment:

  1. I hear ya. I loved the film adaptation of Nicholas Nickleby, though. As for terrible authors, I can't stand Sigrid Undset and Tarjei Vesaas!


Let's chat.