Gothic in Dickens

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Gothic in Dickens

1frahealee
des. 8, 2018, 5:11pm

To summarize a lot of Dickens information I have seen on YouTube by book reviewers, and several essays I have read about the gothic elements within many novels/short stories by Charles Dickens, it seemed fitting to give him his own site for consideration. As with most gothic stories, there is very little when it comes to finite guidelines. Several gothic stories have several gothic elements or characters, but rarely do any contain them all. I have cut/pasted this from the 'motif' thread, to reiterate what I'm looking for, and am sensitive to anyone who has not read the novels mentioned. I might focus more on setting and character than on plot in order to protect the integrity of each storyline twist or finale.
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1. Origins (Walpole, Radcliffe, Lewis, reviled by Wordsworth, then Maturin, Le Fanu, Stoker, RLS, Wilde - the gothic resurrects as did its prototypes, refusing to stay dead although distasteful)
2. Horror & Terror (physically repulsive vs. less brutal, more implication; what is the appeal of fear)
3. Supernatural (fear of unknown, unseen, lack of logical explanation)
4. Settings (castles, where vile things doom aristocracy; monasteries or convents, where ghastly opposition fights RC control, getting lost in labyrinths, imprisonment, claustrophobia, buried alive, storms, barricades, trap doors, madness, persistence of the past when we want modernity)
5. The Sublime (wonderful description of the importance of the ability of nature to make humanity seem frail, yet seeking access through exploration; two meanings, references Burke)
6. Transgressions (Ambrosio & Matilda in The Monk, Hamlet, etc.)
7. Forbidden Knowledge (not just the unknown, but the taboo; Prometheus and punishment for the struggle; Garden of Eden, Frankenstein, science/technology/ethics)
8. Life & Death (blurred boundaries, permanence, reunion may be loving or terrifying, everlasting life, the cursed; mentions Coleridge/Mariner, Maturin/Melmoth, The Wandering Jew, etc.)
9. Hero Villains (Lord Byron, vampires, Heathcliff, the right to rebel, to mistrust convention, to source out what it means to be human, etc.)
10. The Satanic (The Monk, Prometheus, Blake, Milton, devil admirable but not justifiable)
11. The Vampire (Polidori, Le Fanu, Stoker; defender of Christendom but also a manifestation of suppressed desire or excess, loss of control, allure - myth/legend/history woven together - eve of wedding scenario)
12. The Past & Inheritance (sins of the Fathers transferred over time, known or unknown by next generations)
13. Class (relations between genders and social classes, aristocrats in places of social privilege - middle class rising in power, aristocracy unwilling to let their role 'die' thus the undead, not just life vs. death)
14. Revenge (interesting mirror image interpretation)
15. Gothic Women (highlights Catherine from Wuthering Heights)

2frahealee
Editat: ag. 17, 2019, 3:39pm

Proceeding chronologically seems to make sense, or perhaps alphabetically for ease in organizing my thoughts, but I might focus on 16 stories, of which I've read half. I can mention things about the novels I have not yet read, which have surfaced in my research moments, but they might not be expressed properly until I have a chance to dig further beneath the surface of the 'objective' comments. Choosing to do this now keeps me from forgetting about it completely, because it does intrigue me when I come across these elements in new material, or even in revisited old favourites through my new lens.

This was activated due to comments from the 'Canada Bookworms' group, thanks to WeeTurtle.

Alphabetical:
A Christmas Carol
A Tale of Two Cities
Barnaby Rudge
Bleak House
David Copperfield
Dombey and Son
Great Expectations
Hard Times
Little Dorrit
Martin Chuzzlewit
Nicholas Nickleby
Oliver Twist
Our Mutual Friend
The Mystery of Edwin Drood
The Old Curiosity Shop
The Pickwick Papers

Chronological:

1836 - The Pickwick Papers (were created in installments)
1837 - Oliver Twist (criminal underbelly, Nancy is the victim of Bill Sykes/villain, homeless/ruins)
1838 - Nicholas Nickleby (Smike/disability/victim, dismal boys' school conditions, based on real life rascal Shaw)
1840 - The Old Curiosity Shop (dwarf/disability/villain, church ruins with cemetery, maid kept locked 'below stairs')
1841 - Barnaby Rudge
1842 - Martin Chuzzlewit
1843 - A Christmas Carol (warning from dead 'partner in crime' Marley, 3 ghosts, graves, possible redemption beyond greed and indifference, cold/dark office & home, lost love, sickly sister suffers an early death)
1846 - Dombey and Son
1849 - David Copperfield (young boy wrenched away from his family/home, banished by step-father/villain)
1853 - Bleak House (various degrees of decay & madness, Phil/malformed disability, Esther/childhood oppression & blame of past family sins in the vein of Jane Eyre, various suicides or accidental deaths, Ghost Walk haunting habits, secrets leading to ruin, various attempts at revenge, etc.)
1854 - Hard Times (oppression of Industrial Revolution, mines are below ground, remote location)
1855 - Little Dorrit
1859 - A Tale of Two Cities (twin theme, men who dig up graves for profit, travel on lonely road haunted)
1860 - Great Expectations (Rochester's Restoration House inspired the Havisham house, criminal hiding in cemetery)
1864 - Our Mutual Friend
1870 - The Mystery of Edward Drood (unfinished at time of death, gothic)

Short Story:
The Signal-Man (ghost)

>>NOT DONE YET, POST UNDER CONSTRUCTION

4frahealee
Editat: des. 13, 2018, 5:20pm

After soaring through three Thomas Hardy novels (The Hand of Ethelberta & The Return of the Native), and one short story (The Three Strangers), it seems fitting that they happened to follow two doorstops by Dickens, now that I learn he admired Dickens and Wordsworth and the other Romantic poets of the time. Hardy's own poetry poured out unceasingly during a self-imposed seclusion following his Jude the Obscure thrashing. Hardy's works contain vast amounts of poetry and visually jarring prose, multiple similes and metaphors, and zero effort to disguise the pain consuming key characters. It did remind me a lot of the style Dickens chose for his most pitiable waifs, but I had no notion of the impact of one on the other until completing them. Gothic slants were visible everywhere and lured me back into Ann Radcliffe for one last quick read before the month's out. The Mayor of Casterbridge was heavily infused with Scottish flair, so it's easy to step into The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne. The overlap of all three authors is fun to follow and requires sharp observation. Nicholas Nickleby led me into The Old Curiosity Shop before taking on Hardy. I found a fluid balance between town/country, rich/poor/poorer, male/female, health/disease, vice/virtue, comedy/tragedy. I hope for time with A Christmas Carol too. =) 'Tis the season.

Hardy's poetry will be saved for next year, alongside DHLawrence, but it is a shame that it didn't pay well enough at the time for Dickens to indulge. Serial stories were all the rage and he'd found his niche.

Notes on specifics to follow, with research and reflection ...

5frahealee
Editat: des. 22, 2018, 1:36pm

Someone gave this mini-series version of Oliver Twist 1985 to us on dvd as a gift, and we like to watch it around this time of year. Each time, it seems to be much darker than I remember. Gothic landscape around every turn. Deep dark family secrets, harsh architecture, criminality and low road lurkings amidst the high road class structure. Lawyers and doctors and parsons galore. Mistaken identities, kidnapping, gunshots, murder and attempted murder, death from exposure to the elements, lost trails being traced between city and countryside, just when you think it can't get worse, it does. Then there is the slightest glimmer of hope so one's hands don't get thrown up in despair, just enough to cling to the ending. Thoroughly exhausting!

As an aside, it's fun to see who played Bill Sikes (Andy Serkis, Tim Curry) over the years, and Fagin (Ben Kingsley) and Oliver. Such an array!

They just launched into The Holly and the Ivy, so gotta fly!

6frahealee
Editat: des. 22, 2018, 5:35pm

OLIVER TWIST (published in 1837)

1. Origins;
2. Horror & Terror; physically abusive/violent Sikes, constant threats by Fagin, children beaten and starved and made to work for their keep
3. Supernatural; lots of dreams and fevers and vague memories that haunt Oliver
4. Settings; Oliver gets lost in the labyrinths of London and environs, courthouse/jail, poor house/child labour, claustrophobia in an undertaker shop and Fagin's lair and Mrs.Mann's wash house and even in rain storms on the road and in the city, madness of many verging on evil doings
5. The Sublime;
6. Transgressions;
7. Forbidden Knowledge; Monks knew some of it but not all of it
8. Life & Death;
9. Hero Villains;
10. The Satanic; Sikes is d(ark)-evil/devil seeking to control adults/kids through fear and brutality, a struggle between the spiritual forces of good and evil with Fagin likened to the devil while Rose Maylie is described as an angel ‘enthroned in mortal form’ (ch. 29)
11. The Vampire; undertaker feeding off of the dying children/adults in the workhouse in consequence of the 'poor' Act of 1834, Fagin sucking the lifeblood out of the children who robbed others and gave him half thinking he was doing them a favour by teaching them to survive street life with shelter and shared fare
12. The Past & Inheritance; Monks trying to get his due and sees Oliver as an obstacle
13. Class; Oliver lives in poverty since he was born to an 'unwed mother' until well-off families extend charity to him, Harry cannot marry Rose due to her illegitimacy, until truth is uncovered about both
14. Revenge; Monks trying to avenge his mother's perceived disgrace, thieving gang gets even with upper class
15. Gothic Women; Nancy is strong and soft-hearted but mired in contempt for her surroundings and her fall is sad but not surprising, Old Sally is an 'inmate' and hideous in her poverty and drunkenness, Agnes was abandoned and found dying of exposure in the street, Rose was raised by a kind woman after not knowing her origin

https://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/oliver-twist-a-patchwork-of-...

THE GOTHIC: Elsewhere Dickens adapts elements of the Gothic tradition. Monks and Sikes exude a sense of menace, and pursue violent, tyrannical ends, while the former’s name evokes The Monk, a prominent 18th-century example of the genre. Nancy is an imperilled heroine who navigates the labyrinthine slums of London like her more passive, innocent Gothic predecessors traversed ruined castles. Nancy has vivid premonitions of her death, Sikes is haunted by her ghost, and Oliver has a vision of Monks and Fagin plotting his recapture. However, these Gothic manifestations seem more solid than spectral: Nancy’s ghost moves ‘like a corpse endowed with the mere machinery of life’ (ch. 48).

7frahealee
Editat: des. 23, 2018, 7:47am

In watching Treasure Island 1950 with Robert Newton, following OT and BB, I was reminded of his role as Sykes in the Oliver Twist 1948 version, which was found easily online. What struck me was the almost film-noir styling, with close up visuals of staircases, stone or wooden, solid or see-through and warped from weather and wear. Staircases factor in a great deal to Gothic literature, but are rarely spoken of, simply background props/décor. In this film, Lean really brought them to life. Narrow brick alleyways whether in darkness and rain or daylight crowded with people, give that claustrophobic feel to the black/white cinema starkness of noirs. Clocks often shown ticking away the tension. Silhouettes of chimney stacks and gaslights and at dawn or dusk. Stained glass church windows with rays/dust. Broken glass or missing panes, torn curtains, mangled or threadbare rugs, meagre kitchen tools, weapons. Fireplace soot.

8alaudacorax
des. 23, 2018, 4:46am

>7 frahealee:

That's got to be the most character-defining performance in anything, ever - can't imagine there ever being a different iconic version of Long John Silver.

9frahealee
Editat: des. 23, 2018, 5:30am

Agreed, absolutely! When I picked up a dvd of Henry V at Stratford (Ontario) I was dumbfounded to see him as Pistol, having learned that it was his first comical performance, since he'd been known for dramatic stage/screen roles. Such a sad fate for both himself and his co-star, Bobby Driscoll.

The film-noir elements in Oliver Twist really shine through when the volume is turned off; candlelight use in Fagin's lair, shadows on the walls without a view of the actual person, etc. Thought I'd watch it twice through, since my kids are all asleep and not much I can do currently, except sip my coffee quietly. =)

10housefulofpaper
des. 27, 2018, 7:12pm

The big Gothic exhibition at the British Library in 2013 had some TV screens set up between the exhibits. These were showing iconic or representative scenes on a loop. One of them had a scene from the 2005 TV adaptation of Bleak House with Gillian Anderson as Lady Dedlock.

11frahealee
des. 28, 2018, 9:42pm

I thought I'd read Hard Times first in the new year, since it is the shorter of the two, but the trailer for Bleak House might have just swayed my opinion!

12alaudacorax
des. 29, 2018, 4:59am

>11 frahealee:

But if you want 'bleak' go for Hard Times - finish that and, if you're not careful, you'll end up drinking alone in a darkened room, listening to old Leonard Cohen LPs ...

13frahealee
Editat: ag. 19, 2019, 3:33pm

>10 housefulofpaper: She must love Dickens because I see that Gillian Anderson also played the iconic 'white witch' madwoman in Great Expectations. Now that the novel is finished, I hope to see the 15 episodes you mentioned.

>12 alaudacorax: Pleased to convey that I made it unscathed through both Hard Times and Bleak House, in that order, and both were much funnier than expected. Satire drenched and odd laughable characters kept it fresh. I needed audiobook help alongside Cliffs Notes Character List for BH to keep it all straight. Once was enough.

I might be the sole Canadian to find Cohen overrated as a musician. As a poet, no question of his depth and acute observations. No imbibing threat looms there, though The Diviners and Through Black Spruce had me reaching for our local rye. Canadian Club or Crown Royal depends on the available budget. Now that HT and BH have been conquered, I feel I can face Tess by Hardy.

BLEAK HOUSE (1853)

1. Origins;
2. Horror vs. Terror; more of a social commentary on the plight of unsuspecting victims of the entwining court system, the waste and ruin of people and property, also misshapen (Smallweed, Phil) or abused (brickmaker wives) mired in their misery with either resignation or fear and loyalty
3. The Supernatural; Ghost Walk predicting death in rain by past resident wronged in life, spontaneous combustion witnessed only by a cat 'Lady Jane'
4. Settings; massive estates of The Peaks and Chesney Wold, St.Albans, Jo's neighbourhood, Rag&Bottle Shop, the burying ground, the fog
5. The Sublime;
6. Transgressions; Captain Rawdon, George, indifferent immaturity of Skimpole
7. Forbidden Knowledge; Tulkinghorn, Miss Barbary,
8. Life & Death; hidden 'death' compromised the lives of many as secrets were masked from those most affected
9. Hero Villains; John Jarndyce? Sir Dedlock? Mr. Smallweed & his brother-in-law Mr. Krook & Det. Bucket together
10. Satanic? Nimrod is mentioned in chp.22
11. Vampire? actions of some selfish gits suck life from the weak, but not their blood
12. The Past & Inheritance: the whole suit lodged for generations in the courts, based on which will is most recent and thus valid
13. Class; Baronet, soldier, policeman, doctor, musician, iron worker, politician, clergy, housekeeper, maid, footman, street urchin, elderly outcast
14. Revenge; Hortense, Richard, George,
15. Gothic Women; Ada, Esther, Caddy, Rosa, Charley,

Perhaps the biggest surprise, was an assumption before beginning the book that 'bleak' referred to a courthouse building, and not a private estate/home. My own prejudice overturned.

14housefulofpaper
ag. 18, 2019, 8:02pm

>13 frahealee:

There's arguably a supernatural death too. Krook dies by spontaneous human combustion. Of course Dickens might have thought this was scientifically possible, and so not intended to introduce the supernatural into his story.

15alaudacorax
ag. 19, 2019, 4:59am

>13 frahealee:

I've just realised that Bleak House is, I'm pretty sure, yet another classic novel I've never read. There are so many gaps that I'm embarrassed to call myself well-read.

16frahealee
ag. 19, 2019, 6:28am

>14 housefulofpaper: Here is a clip from the preface of Bleak House, helpful to a degree:
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There is only one other point on which I offer a word of remark. The possibility of what is called spontaneous combustion has been denied since the death of Mr. Krook; and my good friend Mr. Lewes (quite mistaken, as he soon found, in supposing the thing to have been abandoned by all authorities) published some ingenious letters to me at the time when that event was chronicled, arguing that spontaneous combustion could not possibly be. I have no need to observe that I do not wilfully or negligently mislead my readers and that before I wrote that description I took pains to investigate the subject. There are about thirty cases on record, of which the most famous, that of the Countess Cornelia de Baudi Cesenate, was minutely investigated and described by Giuseppe Bianchini, a prebendary of Verona, otherwise distinguished in letters, who published an account of it at Verona in 1731, which he afterwards republished at Rome. The appearances, beyond all rational doubt, observed in that case are the appearances observed in Mr. Krook’s case. The next most famous instance happened at Rheims six years earlier, and the historian in that case is Le Cat, one of the most renowned surgeons produced by France. The subject was a woman, whose husband was ignorantly convicted of having murdered her; but on solemn appeal to a higher court, he was acquitted because it was shown upon the evidence that she had died the death of which this name of spontaneous combustion is given. I do not think it necessary to add to these notable facts, and that general reference to the authorities which will be found at page 30, vol. ii.,1 the recorded opinions and experiences of distinguished medical professors, French, English, and Scotch, in more modern days, contenting myself with observing that I shall not abandon the facts until there shall have been a considerable spontaneous combustion of the testimony on which human occurrences are usually received.

In Bleak House I have purposely dwelt upon the romantic side of familiar things.
1853

1 Another case, very clearly described by a dentist, occurred at the town of Columbus, in the United States of America, quite recently. The subject was a German who kept a liquor-shop and was an inveterate drunkard.

17frahealee
ag. 19, 2019, 6:36am

>15 alaudacorax: There are still six or eight works of Dickens I need to make my way through, but I specifically sought out Bleak House and Hard Times and Drood since they were tagged as gothic. Sifted to the top of the tbr pile, so to speak.

In my circle, I am considered an eccentric slightly obsessive literary nut, because I own Russian works. I cannot imagine what they'd think of Peter, Paul, Andrew. =) Anomalies all.

18alaudacorax
Editat: ag. 19, 2019, 7:39am

>17 frahealee:

I don't know if this makes me a bit of an anomaly, but the idea of being thought an anomaly sort of warms my heart ...

ETA - and just after I pressed the save button I realised it had brought a smile to my face, too.

19frahealee
Editat: ag. 19, 2019, 4:00pm

1. One part of Bleak House that should seem to be an easy connection is the presumed drowned man. Some minor characters had more of an impact on me so I suppose my brain paid more attention to them, ie. Miss Flite or Mrs. Bagnet. Mr. George had a letter that Tulkinghorn wanted, to compare the handwriting for his own smarmy purposes. I cannot recall who this man was or why he mattered.

2. In the Cliffs Notes Character List it says that the man from Shropshire committed suicide, but I don't remember that he did. I thought he was simply worn out 'at the end of his rope', not literally trying to end it. This happens twice to two men before the final chapters, so perhaps Dickens wants it to be uneven ground. Others fall ill from shock or contagious diseases or malnutrition. More than one suicide is alluded to and possibly four. The murder should take centre stage but it didn't for me, since we're all likely intended to be glad for his demise. The mystery behind the intentional/unintentional deaths is what continues to swirl in my mind like dust motes.

Research continues with topical essays and adaptations, but it will be interesting to see how much of this epic stays in focus a year from now. I would read Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities and even David Copperfield or Nicholas Nickleby again, but not Bleak House. It ticked 4 boxes for me though; 1001 books to read before you die, Big Fat Books group, Gothic group, Dickens group. Streamlined practicality!

EditedToAdd: Esther went to boarding school run by twin Donny sisters in Reading from age 13-18? And it occurred to me that twins are also a popular gothic element.

20frahealee
Editat: ag. 19, 2019, 5:38pm

Character Refresher, without plot spoilers:

Ada Clare (ward)
Badger, Mr. & Mrs.
Bagnet, Mr. & Mrs. and their 3 children (1 son 2 daughters)
Barbary, Miss
Boythorn, Mr.
Bucket, Mr. & Mrs.
Buffy, Mr. William (MP)
Carstone, Richard (ward)
Chadband, Rev. & Mrs.
Dedlock, Sir Le(ice)ster & Lady Honoria & elder cousin Volumnia
Donny, Misses (twin sister proprietors of Greenleaf)
Flite, Miss
George, Mr.
Gridley, Mr.
Guppy, Mr. and the Mrs. is his mother
Guster
Hortense, Mlle.
Jarndyce, John & elder cousin or great uncle Tom
Jellyby clan including Caddy (Caroline)
Jenny & Liz and their husbands and child(ren)
Jo
Kenge, Mr. (Jarndyce lawyer)
Krook, Mr.
Mercury (Dedlock footman)
Neckett, Mr. & daughter Charley & 2 sons
Pardiggle, Mrs. & her husband & sons
Rosa
Rouncewell, Mrs. (housekeeper for Dedlocks)
Rouncewell, Mr. (her son) & his family including grandson Watt plus 2 granddaughters
Smallweed, Mr. & Mrs. & Bart/grandson & Judy/granddaughter
Snagsby, Mr. & Mrs.
Squod, Mr. Phil
Summerson, Esther (ward)
Tulkinghorn, Mr. (Dedlock lawyer)
Turveydrop, Mr. Prince & his father
Vholes, Mr. (Richard's lawyer)
Weevle, Mr. (Tony Jobling)
Woodcourt, Dr. Allan & the Mrs. is his mother

21frahealee
Editat: ag. 21, 2019, 4:44pm

THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD (unfinished, 1870)

Gothic Elements:

* Cathedral setting in fictional Cloisterham
* belltower, crypts, allusion to gravestones, foggy night for jewellery exchange, dark shadows cast by moonlight provide effective cover
* the tradition of Christmas ghosts
* jealousy in various forms; 1 entitled simpleton, 1 hothead, 1 secretive manipulative spy
* young lady often in tears, childish & spoiled by her betrothed, Edwin and faints when overcome with agitation
* street waif in rags, poor, irreverent, abused and abusive, sees things he shouldn't
* seedy opium den, air dense with smoke and fumes, a sort of ruin, alcoholism &/or drugged accomplice
* Neville Landless and his sister are twins
* Helena is dark and exotic to Rosa, like a gypsy
* Jasper is menacing in his intense silences and cool demeanor
* both suppressed and overt blackmail, emotional and literal
*

HARD TIMES (1854)

Gothic Elements:
(not what I would call a gothic novel, but it does have some intriguing overlaps)

* carnival/circus collection of unusual personalities, vices like gambling and drinking
* Industrial Revolution sensibilities, underground mine, remote location, filth from coal dust prevalent
* innocent individual set up and punished for the intentional plan to sway suspicion from another individual, whose actions lead ultimately to tragic death, the result of mere callous greed
* various damsels, some of whom are more resilient than they first appear
* many biblical references; reaping, sowing, garnering, martyrdom, false prophets,
* mainly a satire/social commentary or protest on behalf of the working class, themes of exploitation, hunger, disease
* a time of conflict between politics, science, religion, monarchy
* revenge with two-faced intent, individuals say one thing in public and another in private
* pompous elevated presence in society based on fabricated lies, leading unsurprisingly to downfall and death
* the horror of the setting takes the form of a finite brick jungle with mad elephant factories, smoke serpents, mechanical monsters, practical practices in social and educational corners, forced conformity

(per quiz and essays and character evaluations found on Cliffs Notes site)
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Note re: The Mystery of Edwin Drood ... The ending left me unsatisfied, not because I want to know who did it, or what happened to Edwin, but because I want to know what happened to the ruby ring! At under 500 pages, I bet Dickens still had 150-200 pages to go. A lot can happen. I also wanted more about the sailor.

22frahealee
Editat: des. 17, 2019, 4:10pm

>12 alaudacorax:
>13 frahealee:
I loved Hard Times, finding it very funny with the overt satire. Bleak House was another story. Well written but ponderous. For the record, I also liked Hardy's Tess much more than I expected to, even with it's lingering tragic ripples.

2020/2021 = six more to go...
Rudge / Chuzzlewit / Mutual Friend / Pickwick Papers / Dorrit / Dombey

23pgmcc
des. 17, 2019, 11:38am

>22 frahealee:
I enjoyed Bleak House. The interactions of the characters entertained me.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood is a book I really liked. Despite its not being completed I had a wonderful time reading it. I also enjoyed reading the conjecture about how Dickens might have meant it to continue. Of course, I had my own views as to how it would have continued.

Hard Times is one I have yet to read.

24alaudacorax
des. 18, 2019, 8:47am

>22 frahealee:

Hmmm ... that's not how I remember Hard Times, but it's been decades. I'm clearly due for a re-read. Actually, you're reminding me that I've read comparatively few Dickens novels and, those I have, mostly decades ago. They're another lot that have too long been in my 'meaning to' bracket.

25frahealee
Editat: maig 26, 2020, 2:55pm

Noting here, for posterity, that I've inherited a book from my maternal grandfather (having never met him), discovered this week in my mother's cedar hope chest (1932-2008). It was The Complete Works of Shakespeare, a mere 1350 pages. =) Buried (literally) in the other corner, under woolen handmade treasures was the 1880 Charles Dickens Works. NY, Colliers, unabridged, 1182 pages. Nine stories are featured, and surprisingly it contains The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Bleak House. When my paternal grandmother died in 1997 at age 93, I bought a newer copyright 1982 hardcover version of the four standards; Great expectations, Hard Times, A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities. It took me until last year to finish it!

40 pictures protected by tissue paper make it tough to enjoy plunked in front of a fan. Scorcher today, heat warning and everything. Mother Nature is doing her utmost to keep us all indoors. The bookmark enclosed says, 'From your loving mother. E. Eagles'. Glad they kept it, so now I know why my mother's middle name was Edith. A sister born in 1957 got that gem. We have no family tree info, since my aunt born in 1923 holds all the cards. I'm shocked that Mum smuggled anything out. Her mother remarried and it was all in a jumble when she died in the 1960s. Mum was exiled for marrying a 'papist' in 1953. =) Black sheep gene is strong in the youngest of four, with 3 generations worth. A few Christmas potlucks are all I recall. Two uncles, both military musicians, cousins born in Lahr, Germany. That kind of thing. Distant, aloof.

(Discussion began in the thread for Editions of Dracula, sorry for the clutter.)

Anyone else in possession of a sentimental Dickens book?

26alaudacorax
maig 26, 2020, 5:10pm

>25 frahealee:

Learned something new today. I had no idea what a hope chest was and had to look it up online.

27alaudacorax
maig 26, 2020, 5:13pm

>26 alaudacorax:

They would seem to be the origin of all those old folk tales of brides disappearing without trace whilst playing hide and seek and their skeletons being found decades later in a self-locking chest in some remote part of the house, mansion, castle or whatever.

28frahealee
Editat: maig 26, 2020, 8:55pm

>26 alaudacorax:
>27 alaudacorax:
That's the ticket. My horizontal one has an auto lock, too heavy a lid for little hands. The trick is to keep it jammed full of hard items and place breakable objects on top. =) It's in my living room in plain view so no rattling noises from the cellar or attic.The patent certificate from Lane is 1930s/40s. Made in Hanover. I also have a vertical one used for photo albums. Remember those?! My paternal step-gramps needed a soothing hobby like carpentry after returning from Dieppe. My sisters got the big ticket items, like dining or bedroom suites and a piano, but I got the treasures.

29housefulofpaper
Editat: maig 27, 2020, 7:32pm

There used to be a tiny bat - a pipistrelle I would suppose, that flew about hunting at dusk. I don't remember seeing it last summer. I would be very happy to see one again this summer.

The only vaguely exotic fauna we have is the red kites that have been successfully reintroduced to the UK.

Edited to add - Oops! I'm replying to a comment in the "editions of Dracula" thread.

30pgmcc
maig 28, 2020, 5:28am

>29 housefulofpaper: Mysterious and mischievous powers are afoot. Be watchful; you do not know what they will have you doing next.