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Randall Twede
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i am reading one of his early books now called "Barnaby Rudge"
i like his work, but he can be hard to understand. i give you an example.

To pace the echoing stones from hour to hour, counting the dull chimes of the clocks; to watch the light twinkling in chamber windows, to think what happy forgetfulness each hour shuts in; that here are children coiled together in their beds, here youth, here age, here poverty, here wealth, all equal in their sleep, and all at rest; to have nothing in common with the slumbering world around, not even sleep, Heavens gift to all its creators, and be akin to nothing but despair; to feel, by the wretched contrast with everything on hand, more utterly alone and cast away than in a trackless desert; this is a kind of suffering, on which the rivers of great cities close full many a time, and which the solitude in crowds alone awakens.

that is one sentence!!!

i like this dialogue though

"there are tales among us that you have sold your soul to the devil, and i know not what."

"We all have, have we not?" returned the stranger, looking up. "If we were fewer in number, perhaps he would give better wages."

im sorry i got to laugh
 
Knute Snortum
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That sentence is almost a kind of if statement:

Another way of looking at it is as an extension of this sentence:
To pace the echoing stones from hour to hour, ... this is a kind of suffering....

Then you add "to" statements:

* to watch the light twinkling in chamber windows
* to think what happy forgetfulness each hour shuts in
* to have nothing in common with the slumbering world around
* to feel... more utterly alone and cast away than in a trackless desert

All heading to, "This is a kind of suffering...."
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Not convinced myself; it is a description of wandering the streets late at night and realising that everybody else is resting (sleeping), just not yourself.
 
Bear Bibeault
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Translation:
I have insomnia.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Bear Bibeault wrote:Translation:
I have insomnia.
The Victorian reading public liked flowery language, and Dickens gave them it. Three words just didn't cut it and Dickens wouldn't have sold a single book. Doesn't Bleak House begin with a two‑page circumlocution for, “It was foggy?”

I thought Dickens wrote chapters of similar lengths, so his books could be published in monthly instalments and only later were gathered into single volumes? At least I can read thirty pages of Dickens in an hour. Can't read Trollope like that.
 
Randall Twede
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Campbell, yes he did have to write them in monthly and maybe even weekly. then he collected them into the novels. that must have been kind of a pain.

the one i quoted wasn't even the longest. i ran into one where i counted, and there were 19 commas and 6 semicolons.

what it reminds me of is refactoring, or something in need of refactoring
 
Tim Holloway
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Victorian literature was often flowery and notoriously found of passive constructs.

And if magazine authors were paid then like they were in the 20th Century, they got paid by the word.

Funny that you should comment on Dickens, though. In Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, it was Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities that was held up as an example of why Reading was a Bad Thing: "It was the Best of times, it was the Worst of Times..."

Bradbury must have done something wrong, though. When I first read F451, I thought, like many others, that the Firemen were the agents of repressive government out to extinguish forbidden knowledge -  another aspect of the Thought Police.

It wasn't until many years later that I re-read it and realized that they were simple public servants doing the democratically-approved business of clearing out hazardous waste for a public more attuned to watching Dancing With the Stars on their wall-to-wall-to-wall-to-wall TV sets. Sort of clearing out the Crazy Cat Ladies only with nasty unsanitary paper books (this was after all pre-e-reader) instead of cats.

It probably helped that I'd read A Canticle for Liebowitz by then.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Tim Holloway wrote:. . . When I first read F451 . . .
I was about 11 years old when I first read F451. I think I shall have to read it again having seen your insight.
 
Tim Holloway
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Read much Bradbury and you soon realize 2 things: He really hated TV and he despised psychiatric drugs. He feared a future of placid sheep who had no sense of wonder or horror or, indeed, of any intense emotion.

Of course TV was (and still is) mostly mind-dulling crap. And the psychiatric drugs back then were more stupefying than effective.

There was a TV show in the 1970s called "Curiosity Shop" (almost certainly a nod to Dicken's work of almost the same name). Bradbury made a guest appearance along with an animation of one of his poems.
 
Giovanni Montano
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I really like to hear your comments about literature.
I love also poetry. What a regret cannot finish books in this period because of the continuous learning due to coding, hopefully in the future I will enjoy again some quality time for novels, poetry and philosophy.
But coding is also novels, poetry and philosophy in a certain way
 
Tim Moores
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Dickens has an amazing range of literary styles. During one lazy summer in college I read Pickwick Papers, and loved it. It's lengthy, but an easy read. So some time later I followed it up with A Tale of Two Cities, figuring I should be able to finish it much faster, as it's not even half as long. Not so - the style and the plot are much more intricate, and there's a lot more abstract thought. Still a good read, but nothing one can rush through like Pickwick Papers.
 
Randall Twede
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Tim, Barnaby Rudge is a slow read for me. i sure do love it though. its a great story. i can read a modern novel in 2 days. this is taking me 2 weeks.
 
Randall Twede
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Barnaby Rudge is a long novel, almost 800 pages. i'm still only halfway through it, but that's OK.
 
Tim Holloway
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Randall Twede wrote:Barnaby Rudge is a long novel, almost 800 pages. i'm still only halfway through it, but that's OK.


I think I missed that one.

Pickwick Papers is actually the hardest for me. I visualized it as a sort of gentlemen's "Wind in the Willows", but it's more complicated than that. In fact, I really don't remember the plot, just some random scenes.



One of the nastier jabs that Dickens made was in Martin Chuzzlewit. Our Protagonist, having traveled to New York City, is idling about his hotel, humming while a black man sweeps. The tune is "Rule Britannia", and he is so uncouth as to repeat the "Britons never, never, Never shall be Slaves" line in front of the sweeper. Actual details may vary, but that's the essence of it. I think that book pre-dates the American Civil War.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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As well as nasty, that would be ignorant too, since black people weren't enslaved in NY.
It may not have been intended to be nasty but a takeoff of nastiness, just as the Magic Flute (Mozart) is not so much racist as about racism and the Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare) is not so much anti‑Semitic as about anti‑Semitism.
 
Tim Holloway
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Ignorant, perhaps, but Dickens spent a lot of time in the USA, and his character was in the USA, so assuming Chuzzlewit was written during or after Dickens' first visit, we'd have to assume that there was something like malice aforethought - or at least a "There but for the grace of God..." by proxy aspect. For that matter, this might be a rendering of some faux pas that Dickens actually saw committed. Authors do that.

Of course, from the sweeper's point of view, it was very nasty. Although New York was a Free State, he'd have spiritual if not actual relatives who were slaves, and might even have once himself been a slave.

Dickens was an abolitionist, although not an exceptionally vocal one from my knowledge. And apparently like many of his day whether pro- or anti- didn't really think of black people as human. Sort of like Democrats. So this is likely a left-handed slap at slavery.

It's worth noting that running up to the War Between the States, there was a lot of controversy over which states would allow slavery and which wouldn't, including negotiations on allowing new states to join the Union and attempts to flip the free/non-free status of states. When the Dixie-flag waving folks in their pick-up trucks tell you that the Civil War was really all about State's Rights, they're not wrong. Just downplaying what rights the fuss was all about.
 
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