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Buster Keaton in Sherlock Jr., 1924

A Holiday to Matheran

As we left our holiday cottage, to return home in the city, my wife said, "Look over your shoulder before you leave so that we come back again." Read about our recent trip to Matheran, the forest on the head, and the smallest hill station in India, at B+ve.

November 11, 2012

VINTAGE PICTURES

The age of Dickens

Dickens by Leslie Ward
In the Literature & Books section of The Booklovers Magazine No.1 Vol.1, January-June 1903, published by The Library Publishing Company, Walnut Street, Philadelphia, USA, Andrew Lang presents a fascinating study on Charles Dickens. Lang (1844–1912), who was a Scottish poet, novelist, literary critic, contributor to the field of anthropology, and best known as a collector of folk and fairy tales (courtesy: Wikipedia), dissects Dickens and his writing with a fine-tooth comb. The article has a few interesting illustrations of the celebrated English writer from Portsmouth. 

Among many things, Lang says...


After the original sketch by "Spy"
"The century in which Dickens lived and wrote has gone where the roses go. He died before young readers now alive were born. His world is not their world ; many conditions of life have altered ; opinions have changed; some manners and customs which he knew are scarcely recognizable. "The great divide" between the age of Dickens and ours is the railway cutting, as Thackeray said. Dickens' first and best novels deal with the old stagecoaches and the life of the road, though he lived to suffer in a great railway accident. Criminals, in Dickens' time, were publicly hanged for the edification or amusement of the crowd. When he visited America for the first time, slavery was a flourishing institution in the Southern States. Any American by reading Martin Chuzzlewit will perceive that, even allowing for wild, exaggerated caricature, the world has changed out of knowledge since the youth of Dickens."


"I have a tenderness. One who is still so happy as to have all of Dickens unread before him had probably better begin with David Copperfield. If he does not enjoy this delightful book, it is likely that he had better abandon his researches into Dickens. The story, as every one knows, is partly autobiographical."











An etching by Theodore Joyeuse
"After Copperfield, Pickwick ought to be read. Dickens never again wrote such a book—nobody has ever written such a book; but some readers may prefer Copperfield, which contains more story and plenty of ' the love interest." After reading these a man may go on with confidence."











Original Pickwick cover with Dickens autograph

6 comments:

  1. I understand that Dickens wrote popular and even potboiling fiction for his day. Scince I generally find his material pretty slow, that in itself is an indication of how things have changed, since I read a lot of popular potboiling fiction of today

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    1. Charles, I agree Dickens wrote all kinds of stuff as evident from the two short stories, THE PRISONERS' VAN and THE DETECTIVE POLICE, I read recently. My favourite Dickens novels are PICKWICK PAPERS and A TALE OF TWO CITIES, a hangover from my school days.

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  2. Bleak House is my favourite Dickens novel. That world has long gone though thank God.

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    1. Sarah, I haven't read BLEAK HOUSE though it has been sharing valuable space on the bookshelf with that other tome MIDDLEMARCH by George Eilot that I have yet to read too.

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  3. Charming stuff Prashant - thanks very much, really enjoyed it.

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    1. Thank you, Sergio. Dickens remains one of my favourite authors from the Victorian era. Andrew Lang, who was a prolific writer himself, offers a nice perspective into his work.

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