Mr. Dick Fulfills My Aunt's Predictions

That is the title of chapter 45 in Charles Dickens' "David Copperfield" which I have just finished, followed closely by his "Great Expectations".

Reading Dickens is one of those few activities that makes me feel better about the world, even though he goes to great (and hilarious) lengths to convey the sheer meanness of humanity. Dickens' descriptions are so insightful that I realize human behavior hasn't changed at all since the 1850's, and although that is a depressing thought, I take comfort from the innocence of the main characters. David, or "Trotwood" as he is also called, is a lovely person that approaches all kinds of obstacles with a willing, honest heart. A teensy bit corny, but also very satisfying in this age of petty greed and exploitation. And throughout his very serious travails Trotwood finds his allies, eccentric but true. It's a feel-good tale, and the language has an easy but sophisticated phrasing that is a treat to read.

The edition I have is a large, hardback with fancy guilt pages and beautiful watercolor illustrations.

Here is a passage from "David Copperfield" about the unctuous Uriah Heep.

"As he sat on my sofa, with his long knees drawn up under his coffee-cup, his hat and gloves upon the ground close to him, his spoon going softly round and round, his shadowless red eyes, which looked as if they had scorched their lashes off, turned towards me without looking at me, the disagreeable dints I have formerly described in his nostrils coming and going with his breath,and a snaky undulation pervading his frame from his chin to his boots, I decided in my own mind that I disliked him intensely."

"Disagreeable dints"? I love it.




Here is the 1970's band Uriah Heep. They might possess a disagreeable dint or two.
Certainly they have some disagreeable footwear...



Here are some of the other wonderful names from the book:
Peggoty
Traddles
Steerforth
Mr. Creakle

I really liked "Great Expectations", too. It was more grim and dark than "David Copperfield", but the hero "Pip" once again does his best amidst the many foibles of others, and pluckily conquers his own temptations. And I, for one, am a big fan of those who have pluck.

My advice? enjoy some Dickens these dog days of summer, and escape to the dark and misty streets of London.

Comments

POPULAR POSTS