My favourite Dickens

Posted by Guy Pringle, 1st November 2011

We're compiling our favourite Dickens across the in house team for a celebratory spread in the next issue. And there's the dilemma for me because every one I've ever read - and I've managed most of them at least once - are the best when I'm reading it.

I don't know how he does it because the sheer length of so many of his sentences are enough to feel like a brick wall. No matter, Sheila won't be gainsaid and one has to be singled out so I'm going to go for Nicholas Nickleby. Why? Because not only has it gripped me three times as a book but I've seen it performed twice, both times over two nights in order to accommodate the plotline (and even then much had to be left out).

I daren't think how long ago the first time was, but if memory serves, it was part of the Royal Shakespeare's repertoire at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle. (Could easily be wrong on that.)

Then about four years ago, the Chichester Festival Theatre staged it and it all came flooding back. I'm not suggesting I have Alzheimer's for a moment but my memory for a plot is not getting better (and it was never good!). So seeing the story unfold and feeling the same emotions about Ralph Nickleby and the gradual realisation of Smike's provenance had me enraptured all over again. If I wasn't committed to reading so much new stuff I'd dive back in all over again. In fact, perhaps I will, anyway.

And if you haven't read it - or any Dickens, because so many people were put off him in school - then give yourself a treat.


Judith Power said...

I agree with Guy about Dickens. At one time I used to read a different Dickens every Christmas, and only stopped when we began to fly the country for Christmas. My favourites are Great Expectations, the result of a school literature class at the age of 13, and Our Mutual Friend. Do try one, you won't regret it.

Posted on Tue 01 Nov 2011 @ 21:44

Debbie Mika said...

Sketches by Boz

Posted on Wed 02 Nov 2011 @ 13:22

Daphne Poupart said...

It's Bleak House that does it for me, Guy. Jarndyce v Jarndyce, My Lady Dedlock & the rain forever falling on Chesney Wold. The telly adaptation was superb - Gillian Anderson & Anna Maxwell Martin - but the book is even better. Just the thing for a cold, wet winter afternoon.

Posted on Fri 04 Nov 2011 @ 17:11

Lindy Gomm said...

For me it would definitely be "The Pickwick Papers". When we moved house recently, and I had to cull my huge book collection, "The Pickwick Papers" was the only one of my six Dickens titles that I kept. Most enjoyable, and very humourous. I savoured every word.

Posted on Mon 07 Nov 2011 @ 01:05

Josie Barton said...

My favourite Dickens has to be Great Expectations.
The Gothic splendour of Miss Haversham, combined with the naivety of Pip make this an unforgettable read. It's a winner every time, and I have lost count of the number of times I have read it.

Posted on Mon 14 Nov 2011 @ 15:22

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