Thursday, 9 February 2012

Dickens, Dampness and trying not to be dismal

Apparently Charles Dickens would have been 200 years old on Tuesday. No one ever actually lives for 200 years, so it's a funny sort of thing to 'celebrate' but any excuse to revel in books is fine by me.

I've read a number of Dickens novels over the years. I've loved them all, but having 'baby brain' for so long now (I fear it may be permanent) has meant that my powers of recall are shall we say, diminished. I couldn't tell you which was my favourite. I loved 'Hard Times' when I studied it at uni. I know I laughed uproariously at 'Nicholas Nickleby' when I read it in highschool, and immediately after finishing it for the first time, sat down and read it again. I know I've started Bleak House a number of times but can't actually recall finishing it. I know I loved the BBC production of it that came out a couple of years ago and takes about a month to watch...

Over the years I've managed to pick up many of his works in well-handled and pre-loved old editions. I've seen complete leather-bound collections that have been tempting in their stupendous matching completeness.. but I guess due to cost mainly I've never taken a deep breath and bought them all at once.


His stories are undoubtedly foundation works of modern day literature and his characters are masterpieces of quirkiness and originality. I love that Dickens didn't shy away from social comment, and that he truely mastered the art of writing popularly without compromising his message or talent. I'd encourage any one who hasn't tried one to give it a go. My grandfather used to tell me that he'd read all of Dickens' works before he was fifteen years old. Okay so there was no television or iphones then, but we're probably the poorer for it in many ways, don't you think? You won't regret reading a work by Dickens. And here's a quote of his that should steel your resolve:
"Minds, like bodies, will often fall into a pimpled, ill-conditioned state from mere excess of comfort."
I guess that means more reading and less lolling around with cups of tea for me! 
My Ode to Dickens table display

and another Dickens quote to end on:
"Reflect on your present blessings, of which every man has many; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some."


And during a brief respite from the almost permanent drizzle that has characterised this summer, I raced outside and hung some hearts in a tree. I am working on some Valentines Day heart-inspired displays, but the dampness seems to have dampened my enthusiasm. Here's hoping I rally for next week!
I call this: Broom (he)ART

1 comment:

  1. Lovely. I'm reading A Tale of Two Cities at the Moment and I've loved the name Estella forever, because of Great Expectations. But I just can't come at Valentine's Day, for some reason. Like your silver heart, though.

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