Bleak House

( 254 )

Overview

Bleak House, Dickens's most daring experiment in the narration of a complex plot, challenges the reader to make connections - between the fashionable and the outcast, the beautiful and the ugly, the powerful and the victims. Nowhere in Dickens's later novels is his attack on an uncaring society more imaginatively embodied, but nowhere either is the mixture of comedy and angry satire more deftly managed.

Bleak House defies a single description. It is a mystery story, in which ...

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Bleak House (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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Overview

Bleak House, Dickens's most daring experiment in the narration of a complex plot, challenges the reader to make connections - between the fashionable and the outcast, the beautiful and the ugly, the powerful and the victims. Nowhere in Dickens's later novels is his attack on an uncaring society more imaginatively embodied, but nowhere either is the mixture of comedy and angry satire more deftly managed.

Bleak House defies a single description. It is a mystery story, in which Esther Summerson discovers the truth about her birth and her unknown mother's tragic life. It is a murder story, which comes to a climax in a thrilling chase, led by one of the earliest detectives in English fiction, Inspector Bucket. And it is a fable about redemption, in which a bleak house is transformed by the resilience of human love.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The Notes and Introduction are solid without being obtrusive."--Michael Kearns, University of Texas

"The editorial scholarship lavished on these letters is, as ever, beyond praise."--Dickens Quarterly

Penny Boumelha Victoria University of Wellington
“Patricia Ingham’s edition of Bleak House is a model of clear thinking, scrupulous editing, and critical acumen. The contextual documents have been selected with a keen eye for what modern readers need to know if they are to appreciate this wonderful novel in all its complexity. The edition will be an invaluable resource for those studying or teaching Dickens, but in addition will stimulate new thinking even among established Dickens scholars. It is an excellent addition to the Broadview list.”
Linda M. Shires Yeshiva University
“In this splendid new edition of Charles Dickens's Bleak House, Patricia Ingham brings her fine critical intelligence to bear on a novel that treats the city of London as a historical reality and as a haunting metaphor. Professor Ingham's wide-ranging erudition—her expertise as a linguist, social historian, editor, and literary theorist—allows her to provide a framework that does full justice to Dickens's multi-layered narrative. Her introduction contextualizes the novel in pertinent ways, the notes are helpful, and rich appendices provide a wide array of nineteenth-century documents necessary to grasp how the novel is both representative and highly original.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780559683893
  • Publisher: BiblioBazaar
  • Publication date: 12/28/2008
  • Pages: 500
  • Product dimensions: 9.21 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Dickens
CHARLES DICKENS was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's most memorable fictional characters and is generally regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian period. During his life, his works enjoyed unprecedented fame, and by the twentieth century his literary genius was broadly acknowledged by critics and scholars. His novels and short stories continue to be widely popular.

KAREN DONNELLY lives in the English seaside town of Brighton, where for the past twenty years she has been working as a fulltime illustrator, mostly of children’s books. She has solid experience in illustration for publishing, advertising and commercial clients.

GILL TAVNER was an English Teacher and Head of Department before turning to writing when she had young children of her own. She has also taught English in South East Asia, worked as a personal trainer, been a management trainee in an insurance company, led treks in Africa, run her own business and painted fake tattoos on Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Perhaps it is this variety that makes her such a versatile writer.

Biography

Born on February 7, 1812, Charles Dickens was the second of eight children in a family burdened with financial troubles. Despite difficult early years, he became the most successful British writer of the Victorian age.

In 1824, young Charles was withdrawn from school and forced to work at a boot-blacking factory when his improvident father, accompanied by his mother and siblings, was sentenced to three months in a debtor's prison. Once they were released, Charles attended a private school for three years. The young man then became a solicitor's clerk, mastered shorthand, and before long was employed as a Parliamentary reporter. When he was in his early twenties, Dickens began to publish stories and sketches of London life in a variety of periodicals.

It was the publication of Pickwick Papers (1836-1837) that catapulted the twenty-five-year-old author to national renown. Dickens wrote with unequaled speed and often worked on several novels at a time, publishing them first in monthly installments and then as books. His early novels Oliver Twist (1837-1838), Nicholas Nickleby (1838-1839), The Old Curiosity Shop (1840-1841), and A Christmas Carol (1843) solidified his enormous, ongoing popularity. As Dickens matured, his social criticism became increasingly biting, his humor dark, and his view of poverty darker still. David Copperfield (1849-1850), Bleak House (1852-1853), Hard Times (1854), A Tale of Two Cities (1859), Great Expectations (1860-1861), and Our Mutual Friend (1864-1865) are the great works of his masterful and prolific period.

In 1858 Dickens's twenty-three-year marriage to Catherine Hogarth dissolved when he fell in love with Ellen Ternan, a young actress. The last years of his life were filled with intense activity: writing, managing amateur theatricals, and undertaking several reading tours that reinforced the public's favorable view of his work but took an enormous toll on his health. Working feverishly to the last, Dickens collapsed and died on June 8, 1870, leaving The Mystery of Edwin Drood uncompleted.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of David Copperfield.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Charles John Huffam Dickens (full name) "Boz" (pen name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 7, 1812
    2. Place of Birth:
      Portsmouth, England
    1. Date of Death:
      June 18, 1870
    2. Place of Death:
      Gad's Hill, Kent, England

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

In Chancery

London. Michaelmas Term lately over, and the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincoln's Inn Hall. Implacable November weather. As much mud in the streets, as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth, and it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus,forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn-hill. Smoke lowering down from chimney-pots, making a soft black drizzle, with flakes of soot in it as big as full-grown snow-flakes-gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sun. Dogs, undistinguishable in mire. Horses, scarcely better; splashed to their very blinkers. Foot passengers, jostling one another's umbrellas, in a general infection of ill-temper, and losing their foot-hold at street corners, where tens of thousands of other foot passengers have been slipping and sliding since the day broke (if the day ever broke), adding new deposits to the crust upon crust of mud, sticking at those points tenaciously to the pavement, and accumulating at compound interest.

Fog everywhere. Fog up the river, where it flows among green aits and meadows; fog down the river, where it rolls defiled among the tiers of shipping, and the waterside pollutions of a great (and dirty) city. Fog on the Essex marshes, fog on the Kentish heights. Fog creeping into the cabooses of collier-brigs; fog lying out on the yards, and hovering in the rigging of great ships; fog drooping on the gunwales

of barges and small boats. Fog in the eyes and throats of ancient Greenwich pensioners, wheezing by the firesides of their wards; fog in the stem and bowl of the afternoon pipe of the wrathful skipper, down in his close cabin; fog cruelly pinching the toes and fingers of his shivering little 'prentice boy on deck. Chance people on the bridges peeping over the parapets into a nether sky of fog, with fog all round them, as if they were up in a balloon, and hanging in the misty clouds.

Gas looming through the fog in divers places in the streets, much as the sun may, from the spongey fields, be seen to loom by husbandman and ploughboy. Most of the shops lighted two hours before their time-as the gas seems to know, for it has a haggard and unwilling look.

The raw afternoon is rawest, and the dense fog is densest, and the muddy streets are muddiest, near that leaden-headed old obstruction, appropriate ornament for the threshold of a leaden-headed old corporation: Temple Bar. And hard by Temple Bar, in Lincoln's Inn Hall, at the very heart of the fog, sits the Lord High Chancellor in his High Court of Chancery.

Never can there come fog too thick, never can there come mud and mire too deep, to assort with the groping and floundering condition which this High Court of Chancery, most pestilent of hoary sinners, holds, this day, in the sight of heaven and earth.

On such an afternoon, if ever, the Lord High Chancellor ought to be sitting here-as here he is-with a foggy glory round his head, softly fenced in with crimson cloth and curtains, addressed by a large advocate with great whiskers, a little voice, and an interminable brief, and outwardly directing his contemplation to the lantern in the roof, where he can see nothing but fog. On such an afternoon, some score of members of the High Court of Chancery bar ought to be-as here they are-mistily engaged in one of the ten thousand stages of an endless cause, tripping one another up on slippery precedents, groping knee-deep in technicalities, running their goat-hair and horse-hair warded heads against walls of words, and making a pretence of equity with serious faces, as players might. On such an afternoon, the various solicitors in the cause, some two or three of whom have inherited it from their fathers, who made a fortune by it, ought to be-as are they not?-ranged in a line, in a long matted well (but you might look in vain for Truth at the bottom of it), between the registrar's red table and the silk gowns, with bills, cross-bills, answers, rejoinders, injunctions, affidavits, issues, references to masters, masters' reports, mountains of costly nonsense, piled before them. Well may the court be dim, with wasting candles here and there; well may the fog hang heavy in it, as if it would never get out; well may the stained glass windows lose their color, and admit no light of day into the place; well may the uninitiated from the streets, who peep in through the glass panes in the door, be deterred from entrance by its owlish aspect, and by the drawl languidly echoing to the roof from the padded dais where the Lord High Chancellor looks into the lantern that has no light in it, and where the attendant wigs are all stuck in a fog-bank! This is the Court of Chancery; which has its decaying houses and its blighted lands in every shire; which has its worn-out lunatic in every madhouse, and its dead in every churchyard; which has its ruined suitor, with his slipshod heels and threadbare dress, borrowing and begging through the round of every man's acquaintance; which gives to monied might the means abundantly of wearying out the right; which so exhausts finances, patience, courage, hope; so overthrows the brain and breaks the heart; that there is not an honorable man among its practitioners who would not give-who does not often give-the warning, "Suffer any wrong that can be done you, rather than come here!"

Who happen to be in the Lord Chancellor's court this murky afternoon besides the Lord Chancellor, the counsel in the cause, two or three counsel who are never in any cause, and the well of solicitors before mentioned? There is the registrar below the Judge, in wig and gown; and there are two or three maces, or petty-bags, or privy-purses, or whatever they may be, in legal court suits. These are all yawning; for no crumb of amusement ever falls from Jarndyce and Jarndyce (the cause in hand), which was squeezed dry years upon years ago. The short-hand writers, the reporters of the court, and the reporters of the newspapers, invariably decamp with the rest of the regulars when Jarndyce and Jarndyce comes on. Their places are a blank. Standing on a seat at the side of the hall, the better to peer into the curtained sanctuary, is a little mad old woman in a squeezed bonnet, who is always in court, from its sitting to its rising, and always expecting some incomprehensible judgment to be given in her favor. Some say she really is, or was, a party to a suit; but no one knows for certain, because no one cares. She carries some small litter in a reti-cule which she calls her documents; principally consisting of paper matches and dry lavender. A sallow prisoner has come up, in custody, for the half-dozenth time, to make a personal application "to purge himself of his contempt;" which, being a solitary surviving executor who has fallen into a state of conglomeration about accounts of which it is not pretended that he had ever any knowledge, he is not at all likely ever to do. In the meantime his prospects in life are ended. Another ruined suitor, who periodically appears from Shropshire, and breaks out into efforts to address the Chancellor at the close of the day's business, and who can by no means be made to understand that the Chancellor is legally ignorant of his existence after making it desolate for a quarter of a century, plants himself in a good place and keeps an eye on the Judge, ready to call out "My lord!" in a voice of sonorous complaint, on the instant of his rising. A few lawyers' clerks and others who know this suitor by sight, linger, on the chance of his furnishing some fun, and enlivening the dismal weather a little.

Jarndyce and Jarndyce drones on. This scarecrow of a suit has, in course of time, become so complicated, that no man alive knows what it means. The parties to it understand it least; but it has been observed that no two Chancery lawyers can talk about it for five minutes, without coming to a total disagreement as to all the premises. Innumerable children have been born into the cause; innumerable young people have married into it; innumerable old people have died out of it. Scores of persons have deliriously found themselves made parties in Jarndyce and Jarndyce, without knowing how or why; whole families have inherited legendary hatreds with the suit. The little plaintiff or defendant, who was promised a new rocking-horse when Jarndyce and Jarndyce should be settled, has grown up, possessed himself of a real horse, and trotted away into the other world. Fair wards of court have faded into mothers and grandmothers; a long procession of Chancellors has come in and gone out; the legion of bills in the suit have been transformed into mere bills of mortality; there are not three Jarndyces left upon the earth perhaps, since old Tom Jarndyce in despair blew his brains out at a coffee-house in Chancery-lane; but Jarndyce and Jarndyce still drags its dreary length before the Court, perennially hopeless.

Jarndyce and Jarndyce has passed into a joke. That is the only good that has ever come of it. It has been death to many, but it is a joke in the profession. Every master in Chancery has had a reference out of it. Every Chancellor was "in it," for somebody or other, when he was counsel at the bar. Good things have been said about it by blue-nosed, bulbous-shoed old benchers, in select port-wine committee after dinner in hall. Articled clerks have been in the habit of fleshing their legal wit upon it. The last Lord Chancellor handled it neatly, when, correcting Mr. Blowers the eminent silk gown who said that such a thing might happen when the sky rained potatoes, he observed, "or when we get through Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Mr. Blowers;"-a pleasantry that particularly tickled the maces, bags, and purses.

How many people out of the suit, Jarndyce and Jarndyce has stretched forth its unwholesome hand to spoil and corrupt, would be a very wide question. From the master, upon whose impaling files reams of dusty warrants in Jarndyce and Jarndyce have grimly writhed into many shapes; down to the copying clerk in the Six Clerks' Office, who has copied his tens of thousands of Chancery-folio-pages under that eternal heading; no man's nature has been made the better by it. In trickery, evasion, procrastination, spoliation, botheration, under false pretences of all sorts, there are influences that can never come to good. The very solicitors' boys who have kept the wretched suitors at bay, by protesting time out of mind that Mr. Chizzle, Mizzle, or otherwise, was particularly engaged and had appointments until dinner, may have got an extra moral twist and shuffle into themselves out of Jarndyce and Jarndyce. The receiver in the cause has acquired a goodly sum of money by it, but has acquired too a distrust of his own mother, and a contempt for his own kind. Chizzle, Mizzle, and otherwise, have lapsed into a habit of vaguely promising themselves that they will look into that outstanding little matter, and see what can be done for Drizzle-who was not well used-when Jarndyce and Jarndyce shall be got out of the office. Shirking and sharking, in all their many varieties, have been sown broadcast by the ill-fated cause; and even those who have contemplated its history from the outermost circle of such evil, have been insensibly tempted into a loose way of letting bad things alone to take their own bad course, and a loose belief that if the world go wrong, it was, in some off-hand manner, never meant to go right.

Thus, in the midst of the mud and at the heart of the fog, sits the Lord High Chancellor in his High Court of Chancery.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Charles Dickens: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text
Bleak House
Appendix A: Dickens's Working Notes for Bleak House
Appendix B: The Reception of Bleak House
Appendix C: The Role and Status of Women
1. Marriage and the Law: From William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765-69)
2. Support for Conventional Views
3. Opposition to Conventional Views
4. Personal Testimonies From Women
5. Women in Contemporary Fiction
Appendix D: The Court of Chancery
1. "Reform in the Court of Chancery," The Times (1 April 1850)
2. "Delays in Chancery," The Times (8 August 1850)
3. "Court of Chancery," The Times (25 December 1850)
4. Leading Article, The Times (1 January 1851)
5. From Alfred Cole and W.H. Wills, "The Martyrs of Chancery," Household Words
6. From Edward B. Sugden, "Prisoners for Contempt of the Court of Chancery," The Times (7 January 1851)
7. From "A Chancery Bone of Contention," Punch (June 1852)
Appendix E: Attitudes to Religious and Other Proselytizing
1. From Charles Dickens, "Whole Hogs," Household Words (August 1851)
2. From Clare Lucas Balfour, "Stopping Half Way," The Temperance Offering (1852)
3. Charles Dickens, Letter to the Reverend H. Christopherson (9 July 1852)
4. From R.W. Vanderkiste, Notes and Narratives of a Six Years' Mission Principally among the Dens of London (1852)
5. From the London Quarterly Review (January 1871)
Appendix F: Contemporary Attitudes to Class Inequality
1. From Thomas Carlyle, Chartism (1839)
2. From Arthur Helps, The Claims of Labour (1844)
3. From Jessie Boucherett, "Endowed Schools" (1852)
4. From J.S. Mill, Principles of Political Economy (1859)
Appendix G: Conditions of the Working Class
1. Living Conditions as Described in Dickens's Household Words
2. From "A December Vision" (December 1850)
3. Burial Grounds
4. Disease
5. Epidemics and Sanitation
Select Bibliography

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Reading Group Guide

1. 1. Critics have long regarded Bleak House as Dickens’s most formally complex novel, since it blends together a number of different genres: detective fiction, romance, melodrama, satire. Compare the way the novel conforms to each of these genres. Do you consider Bleak House more a mystery than a satire, or vice versa? In what ways does the novel transcend these categories altogether?

2. 2. Examine Dickens’s use of irony in Bleak House. Which characters find themselves in ironic moments or situations? How might we read the Court of Chancery’s obstruction of justice as the supreme irony of the book?

3. 3. Consider the narrator’s remark in Chapter XXXIX that “The one great principle of the English law is, to make business for itself.” How, precisely, does Chancery “make business for itself”? What instruments, rituals, and/or actors does it employ to create a great chain of inefficiency?

4. 4. Discuss Dickens’s representation of charity in Bleak House. Are philanthropists generally portrayed in a favorable light? You might compare the work of Mrs. Jellyby, Mrs. Pardiggle, and Mr. Quale with the quieter charitable work of Esther. What type of charity do you think Dickens values?

5. 5. Do you think Bleak House is successful in its attempt to criticize the English legal system? If so, how do you reconcile the novel’s happy ending with Dickens’s critique?

6. 6. Examine Dickens’s use of mud and pollution imagery throughout Bleak House. What different meanings do images of mud, dirt, disease attach themselves to? Which characters become closely identified with pollution?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 254 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(106)

4 Star

(56)

3 Star

(34)

2 Star

(22)

1 Star

(36)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 256 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 20, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    "Bleak House" is truly Dicken's masterpiece!

    Take it from a person who has read alot of Dickens: "Bleak House" is Dickens at his finest. From the sweeping Chancery case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce and the epic struggle of all of those blighted by the case's corrupting touch to the shocking revelation of Esther's true pedigree, this novel entertains, enlightens, engrosses, and enriches the reader. Deeply evocative, this hefty novel, like so many other gargantuan tomes (e.g. War and Peace, Atlas Shrugged, The Brothers Karamazov, etc) has wisely been kept, surviving the ages for new generations to enjoy and revere. I highly recommend "Bleak House!"

    P.S. My review was kind enough to leave out major plot points - why can't other people do that? - but this is really a slammer towards Barnes and Noble. To my great dismay, the back cover of your edition ruined the climax and denouement of several major plot lines in this book. Maybe next time you should actually increase intrigue in the book - like a good cover synopsis is supposed to do - instead of telling the story. Everyone who reads this novel has read books before, and I think 99% of the population can pretty much figure out one major plot line given away by the synopsis - or should I say spoiler - you have so fittingly placed on the back cover. If I wanted to find the plot line to "Bleak House" in three seconds, I would have bought your Sparknotes product for this book and not spent 4 weeks arduously reading, yet savoring, every one of Dickens well-placed, well-selected words!

    14 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2011

    Unreadable

    Bleak house is a masterful mystery but this version has nonsense words not in the original. I will delete it because it is unreadable in this format.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2008

    A most 'Dickensian' Dickens novel

    'Bleak House' is, alas, one of those books by Dickens that few people ever read because of its great length, which is certainly a metaphor for the interminable estate lawsuit that forms one of the major themes. However, Dickens' fluid writing style makes it quite an easy read (one day I was able to cover almost 100 pages), full of rich description, wonderful humor, pointed opinion about the English social and legal systems, and of course a myriad of those dotty denizens with imaginatively colorful names that Dickens is so famous for (Lord and Lady Dedlock, Mr. Krook, Mr. Turveydrop, Miss Flite). There are elements of a number of his other works here -- the distressed 'Oliver Twist' children, the 'David Copperfield' transplanted orphans, the hopes for good fortune of 'Great Expectations'. The reader also needs to be patient with the atmosphere of fog and murk, both within the setting in the Court of Chancery (among other places) and also concealing the secrets of plot and character that lurk in shadow for a while (shadows, some with symbolic color, play a role all their own) and pop up suddenly into the light at different times throughout the book. If you would know the mature Dickens, this is a definitive book. This fine Barnes & Noble edition is a great advantage to modern American readers because of the many excerpts of early newpaper reviews and of literary criticism, as well as a large number of footnotes and endnotes, so the reader should have at least two bookmarks handy. The average reader who is not a proofreader (as this reviewer is) should be able to overlook the numerous typos and loose periods scattered about in the middle of sentences.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2006

    An Excellent Edition of a Timeless Classic

    There are many editions of this classic Dickensian work, but if you're interested in reading BLEAK HOUSE¿in fact, if you're interested in reading any of the classics of the 18th and 19th centuries¿I strongly recommend looking at the Barnes & Noble Classics Series. Physically, the covers are heavy with a satin finish for a good grip, the bindings are strong, the paper is of a good weight, and the quality of the typesetting is excellent (no noted typos in 800+ pages). For editorial content, I give them top marks the introduction was educational, the footnotes provide immediate explanation of the odd Victorian word or phrase, the end-notes add a great deal of context for the more curious reader, the period woodcuts are clear and often humorous, and this title also has a London map, a Dickensian timeline, and a Dramatis Personae. My only wish is that it had a couple of ribbon bookmarks, though I've supplied my own without trouble. As for the novel itself, it's one of Dickens' darkest books, if not the darkest. The satire is sharp, the humor is dry, the characters are exceedingly memorable. Some might find the character of Esther Summerson a bit too Pollyannish, but I think her first-person narrative brings a welcome change from the starker tone of the third-person/present-tense omniscient who relates the other parts of the story. Moreover, I find that while Esther starts out quite too good to be true, she undergoes a subtle but consistently discernable transformation from girl to woman, precipitated by her situation, an illness, and the discovery of her own personal history. Long? Yes, it's a long book. And if you haven't read any Victorian fiction, you might want to start with something a little shorter. However, though there is a good bit of bleakness in Bleak House, it's far and away a brighter, more cheerful book than Thomas Hardy's works, so take that into account.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2012

    Wonderful story!

    This is a wonderful book - not as slow as some other Dickens stories. It is acutally my favorite Dickens book - great story line.
    Warning - this is a DRM book, so it cannot be saved to Calibre on a computer so that it will open. I like to back up my favorite books after I purchase them, and you are unable to with this version.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    One of Dickens' Finest

    This is one of my favorite books of all time! It tells the incredible story of a lawsuit hung up for so long in the Victorian English court system that in the end - well, you will have to read it to find out! The characters are beautifully conveyed, and the writing is so rich it's like a literary dessert. Highly recommended.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 3, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    I highly recommend this outstanding work of fiction

    I have acquired the habit of reading a classic every third or fourth novel I read. Bleak House was the best novel that I have read in a long time, beating out Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner which I liked immensely. I liked the subtle humor in it as well as the outrageous depiction of some of the key characters that were undoubtedly based on people that Dickens knew. The original illustrations were marvelous.
    My only negative comment has to do with the introduction written by a scholar who is an expert in Victorian literature, and I would recommend skipping it because it is largley incoherent.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2000

    An Excellent Novel--But Not Dickens Best

    I've undertaken to read all of Dickens' major works, from 'Oliver Twist' to 'Our Mutual Friend'. Having recently finished 'Bleak House' I can give it a hardy recommendation with one caveat: the character of Esther is the best example of the worst aspects of Victorian morality. The intrigue, the murder, and the mysteries, are all examples of Dickens at his best; but how can one be sympathetic with a heroine whose annoying, self-effacing, yet self-aggrandizing, modesty causes the novel to continually grind to a halt? If not for this highly disagreeable character this would be Dickens' best. When there are hidden and underrated treasures like 'Barnaby Rudge' in the Dickens canon, I think 'Bleak House' can be put aside and read another day.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 26, 2012

    Riveting!!!!!!!!!!

    Could not lay this book down....Dickens was a writing genius!!!!!!! Not for the faint of heart.... a pretty accurate depiction of humanity......not to far off the mark of life in todays world....just the fashions have changed...and some of the living conditions.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 16, 2011

    Amazing book!!!!!!!!!

    A wonderful version with beautiful pictures. I doubt there is a better version of Bleak House.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2011

    OCR terrible

    From the first page this is unreadable

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    My first Dickens

    Bleak House by Charles Dickens is one of the BBC's top 100 books to read.I am glad I waited till now to read this novel, because I think I would have been lost if I attempted this book in middle school or high school. There are many major characters; Harold Skimpole is my favorite. However, there are many more minor characters throughout the novel; therefore, it can be difficult for a reader to keep a grasp on everyone. Esther Summerson is the main character of the novel and the mystery that surrounds her life and identity is the meat of this story. Definitely another long book that I had to put down and pick up again several times while I was reading this novel. Readers are thrown into copious amounts of storylines that link together to main conflict of the book whicj is the investigation into Lady Dedlock's past. This is a novel that has a combination of murder, compassion and mystery that can keep readers engaged for the 880 pages of the story (with only a few lulls). I probably would never read this book again, but would definitely recommend it to those whom can appreciate tons of foreshadowing that makes a reader postulate about the storylines and the characters past and their futures.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2000

    Great Novel

    Dickens greatest novel. In this novel Dickens uses many levels of meaning and mixed melodrama to attack the false beliefs of humanitarianism as he does in most all of his novels. definitely buy this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 13, 2014

    Great reading. Don't miss it.

    Intricately nuanced characters, poignant descriptions, narration from two points of view, and a plot covering a broad sweep of Victorian England. Dickens' greatness comes through on every page.
    Barnes and Noble Classics annotation in Nook Book is thorough, with easy one touch assess to each note, and invaluable to the reading experience.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2014

    Sorry

    It was not really a good book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2014

    Download the one...

    The free one with one 5 star review has very few typos. Very easy to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2013

    Hard to read

    Bad version cant be read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2012

    Another boring one.

    Too many footnotes.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2012

    Version has so many errors it looks like another language

    I love this book. This version is unreadable. I literally thought it was in Rusian when I first opened it. Then I thought, possibly Old English... but no, it was just THAT packed with errors. I can be pretty tolerant with a book I have already read and know, but this translation is awful. It should be pulled. It is not worth "free"

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2012

    Dont bother with the sample.But the book is great!!!!!

    This is a great book.I realy enjoyed it!Defanetly one of my favorites!!!!!!!I wish Mr.Dickens was still alive so he can write even more great novels:(

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