Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bleak Bleak House

I finished Bleak House. What a chore! Pure Dickens - long and convoluted, with characters who come and go while not a lot happens. I am not sure why Dickens is considered by many to be great literature. At times he is great satire, but certainly not literature in the mold of Conrad or Steinbeck. And no one really reads his books to conclusion anyway - unless they have a masochistic streak like me. Proof? The first copy of Bleak House I got from the library was missing 35 pages (about pp. 700-735) out of 1000. I returned it to the library and they got me a copy from another branch - same edition. It had pp. 700-735, but was missing 735-770. finally the library got me a third copy - a different edition, and that is the one I just finished. But, back to my point of Dickens as unread. If anyone had actually read to page 700 of the editions of Bleak House I was reading, they would have returned them and the library would have removed them from circulation. Since they were still in circulation - no one had read that far.

It reminds me of a contest wherein you had to submit "the worst opening sentence of a novel never read." The organizers thought they would only recieve made-up quotes from non-existent novels. But a friend of mine sent in the first sentence of George Eliot's Middlemarch. He didn't win, but he should have.

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