Charles Dickens Bicentenary

Little more and I have used Dickens (and his contemporary Mayhew) when I was specialising in the world of 'street children' way back. People used to do an 'Oh no, not the Artful Dodger' number to which the many other children were soon listed but moreover his graphic descriptions of Victorian London with which I could very easily compare South American cities reasonably easily and also apply in other places. American Notes makes for good comparative as well and as for the sketches, say no more.

I think a lot of Dickens is hugely under-rated. The long-winded, but brilliant descriptions and the slow "dance" from beginning to end in plot terms don't fit in with the "instant gratification" that seems to be what is required now!! However, they make for a great read; an absorbing story with brilliant characters - what more could you ask for!?

Yes, very much underrated of all his books but the whole Chancery thing he so brilliantly developed is far more brissant today than it was then, especially for those of us in France perhaps ;)

Little Dorrit???? I loved that. Studied it at A level!! Really enjoy Dickens - though haven't read any for a while! NEed to get back to it I think! And this is a good year to do that - for sure!!

could be misconstrued as a sizist book title

That hasn't helped me!! Maybe I haven't read the right ones - but all of the ones I have read seem to have a fair amount of circumlocution. Give us another clue..... please!!

Yes notes and sketches are all good refelections of their time. I have a Chapman and Hall published (complete works) version from my grandparents who I never saw open a book but they would have perhaps had from a generation before them because it is a 1902 reprint. So got 'em all but have read perhaps 10 at most.

I'll give you a clue which I like best: 'circumlocution'.

Much as I love some of the lovely long absorbing Dickens books I think my favourite is probably Christmas Carol. Or perhaps Tale of Two Cities. They both seem to me to be genuinely hopeful somehow!!

Which is your favourite work by have to have read the book, the TV or cinema adaptions won't do in this case? I'd go for Sketches by Boz with its snapshots of London life and the grinding poverty and filth. I've recently read American Notes and Pictures from Italy. The former is pretty heavy going but gives a great picture of 19th century America. There are very sad reports from prisons and homes for the blind, hair-raising accounts of travel on unmade roads and sea and river trips in terrible weather. America at the time seemed to be knee deep in spit as all the inhabitants seemed to chew tobacco and spit copiously both indoors and out and the streets of New York are thronged not only with people but also pigs!