Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Happy Birthday Charles Dickens

There is no dearth of material about the life and times of Charles Dickens, one of the most popular novelists of all times, one of my top favorites for a long long time.  He was a master storyteller and so dearly beloved that when my MA Lit. lecturer announced in a class that he had many flaws as a novelist, the whole class let out several exclamation of dissent.  Dickens wrote many iconic novels and has enjoyed a readership that even J.K. Rowling can envy.

To honor this unparallelled master Google depicted this picture on its site:

I have commenced reading The Pickwick Papers today after many years.  Here is a paragraph out of this highly amusing book.

“On his right hand, sat Mr. Tracy Tupman; the too susceptible Tupman, who to the wisdom and experience of maturer years superadded the enthusiasm and ardor of a boy, in the most interesting and pardonable of human weaknesses – love.  Time and feeding had expanded that once romantic form; the black silk waistcoat had become more and more developed; inch by inch had the gold watch chain beneath it disappeared from within the range of Tupman's vision; and gradually had the capacious chin encroached upon the borders of the white cravat, but the soul of Tupman had known no change – admiration of the fair sex was still its ruling passion.”

In a few skillful lines, he sketches the form and character of Mr. Tracy Tupman.  This was his most endearing quality.  It made his novels feel like a visual feast, it made imagining the characters easy, it made them vivid and it made them live in our memory forever.  Happy Birthday Charles Dickens, I am sure your novels will live forever.


Vishal Kale said...

The one Dickens I have not read... do review it so I can get an idea what it is about

Raja Swaminathan said...

That's a really funny paragraph. I remember reading this book many many years ago, when in school. In those days I used to be a voracious reader. Sadly, not anymore.

The first Dickens book I remember reading was "Great Expectations". I know it's not his most celebrated book but somehow I have a fondness for it, considering it was my first Dickens book.

Dickens was just an amazingly outstanding writer. Should be mandatory reading for every generation, I think, otherwise there is a chance that he will be forgotten in the sands of time.

Ava Suri said...

Vishal, you can download a pdf, if you google for it. I was also considering getting it printed, for ease in reading.

I have resolved to buy several of CD's books.

Ava Suri said...

Raja, The whole book is very funny. Me 2 read all the great books while still in school. My kids have no appreciation for literature, alas.

I love Great Expectations, it was on my cousin's syllabus when she was in college, and I used to read it, though I was still in school. Who can forget Miss Havisham. There is plenty of drama in that book to intrigue a modern day reader too.

Vee said...

Every avid reader has read him and if not than his/her reading is incomplete.

Ava Suri said...

Spot on Vee.

Bhargavi said...

I read pickwick papers a long time ago.. need to revisit it again...A few days back there was an article about how Scrooge and several other characters were based on some real people and that Dickens drew his inspirations from his neighbors.. Wish i could travel back in time and meet him and pick his brains :-)

Ava Suri said...

:) Bhargavi: Such a lovely thought. I wish I could listen in. :) I am re-reading Pickwick Papers. It is a hoot.

bawa said...

This was one Dickens that was lying around for a long time and the couple of times I tried, I just could not get it and left it after a few pages.
Then some years ago I started on Dickens re-reading spree and decided that I just had to give The Pickwick Papers a good go. What a delight! There is so much to read, laugh and mull over, its a truly amazing book. You can the characters of Dickens everywhere, in all your friends and acquaintances, and most importantly, in yourself.
I always read your comments in Dustedoff and have finally come to your blog too. As an avid reader, always good to find such well-written book reviews.

Ava Suri said...

Thank you Bawa :)

I am still reading this book, slowly, steadily.

It is so rich in characters and incidents of social importance that it is relevant to this day.

I feel this is Charles Dickens' best book.

Stephen Jarvis said...

You might be interested in taking a look at my new novel Death and Mr Pickwick, which tells the story behind the creation of The Pickwick Papers. It will be published in May, and you can find out more at www.deathandmrpickwick.com Also, if anyone wants to chat about Pickwick, I would be happy to talk to them anytime. I have always hoped and believed I would make many new friends by writing the novel. I can be contacted via the website. Best wishes Stephen Jarvis

Ava Suri said...

Stephan Jarvis,

thank you for your comment, I will look up your website.

Ava Suri said...

Stephan Jarvis,

thank you for your comment, I will look up your website.

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