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June 30, 2015


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I really want to jump in on this, but it's evidently been too long since I read Our Mutual Friend. Alas. I do remember loving Bella, though. Perhaps she's even one of the reasons my Bella is named as she is. And the Baby. I do need to re-read it soon.

Oh but I do have to put in a word for Esther Summerville. I love her too. And I need to re-read Bleak House, too. I need some more Fog in my life.

I am not reading Dickens this summer (I am trying to know my own limits before I set goals) but by chance, I link-followed to this critique by George Eliot:

"We have one great novelist who is gifted with the utmost power of rendering the external traits of our town population; and if he could give us their psychological character -- their conceptions of life, and their emotions -- with the same truth as their idiom and manners, his books would be the greatest contribution Art has ever made to the awakening of social sympathies. But while he can copy Mrs. Plornish's colloquial style with the delicate accuracy of a sun-picture, while there is the same startling inspiration in his description of the gestures and phrases of "Boots," as in the speeches of Shakespeare's mobs or numskulls, he scarcely ever passes from the humorous and external to the emotional and tragic, without becoming as transcendent in his unreality as he was a moment before in his artistic truthfulness. But for the precious salt of his humour, which compels him to reproduce external traits that serve, in some degree, as a corrective to his frequently false psychology, his preternaturally virtuous poor children and artisans, his melodramatic boatmen and courtezans, would be as noxious as Eugène Sue's idealized proletaires in encouraging the miserable fallacy that high morality and refined sentiment can grow out of harsh social relations, ignorance, and want; or that the working-classes are in a condition to enter at once into a millennial state of altruism, wherein everyone is caring for everyone else, and no one for himself."

The url is http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~jfec/ge/eliot.html


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