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Bleak House / Edition 1

Bleak House / Edition 1

3.7 247
by Charles Dickens

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ISBN-10: 1551119315

ISBN-13: 9781551119311

Pub. Date: 10/01/2010

Publisher: Broadview Press

The labyrinthine, ingenious plot of Bleak House focuses on the seemingly endless lawsuit Jarndyce and Jarndyce, an inheritance dispute that has been moving through the courts for years. Dozens of characters, including the innocent young narrator Esther Summerson, her friends Richard Carstone and Ada Clare, and the jaded aristocrats Sir Leicester and Lady


The labyrinthine, ingenious plot of Bleak House focuses on the seemingly endless lawsuit Jarndyce and Jarndyce, an inheritance dispute that has been moving through the courts for years. Dozens of characters, including the innocent young narrator Esther Summerson, her friends Richard Carstone and Ada Clare, and the jaded aristocrats Sir Leicester and Lady Honoria Dedlock, are directly or indirectly caught up in the case. Written in bold and inventive language, Bleak House is Dickens’s epic vision of Victorian society.

The critical introduction and extensive appendices to this edition focus on the novel’s social context and reception, Dickens’s treatment of his women characters and the working class, and the inequalities of the Victorian legal system.

Product Details

Broadview Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
New Edition
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Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.40(d)

Table of Contents

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

  1. From The Spectator (September 1853)
  2. From The Illustrated London News (24 September 1853)
  3. From The Athenaeum (17 September 1853)
  4. From The Eclectic Review (December 1853)
  5. From Bentley’s Miscellany (8 October 1853)
  6. From The Examiner (8 October 1853)
  7. From The Rambler (January 1854)
  8. From Charlotte Brontë, Letter to George Smith (11 March 1852)
  9. From J.S. Mill, Letter to Harriet Taylor (20 March 1854)
  10. From G.H. Lewes, Letters to Dickens (1852)

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
    1. From Charles Dickens, “Sucking Pigs,” Household Words (November 1851)
    2. From “The Laws Concerning Women,” Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine (April 1856)
    3. From Margaret Oliphant, “The Condition of Women,” Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine (February 1858)
  3. Opposition to Conventional Views
    1. From the Review in Foreign Quarterly Review of The Education of Mothers of Families (1842)
    2. From Harriet Taylor, “The Enfranchisement of Women,” The Westminster and Foreign Quarterly Review (1851)
    3. From Jessie Boucherett, Endowed Schools (1862)
  4. Personal Testimonies from Women
    1. From Jane Welsh Carlyle, Letter to John Forster (c. February 1844)
    2. From Elizabeth Gaskell, Letter to Eliza Fox (12 February 1850)
    3. From Mary Taylor, Letter to Charlotte Brontë (April 1850)
    4. From Charlotte Brontë, Letter to Elizabeth Gaskell (20 September 1851)
    5. From Florence Nightingale, Cassandra (1860)
  5. Women in Contemporary Fiction
    1. From Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1848)
    2. From Geraldine Jewsbury, The Half Sisters (1848)
    3. From Frances Trollope, The Young Countess or Love and Jealousy (1848)

Appendix D: The Court of Chancery

  1. From “Reform in the Court of Chancery,” The Times (1 April 1850)
  2. From “Delays in Chancery,” The Times (8 August 1850)
  3. From “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
    1. December 1850
    2. February 1851
  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
    1. From “A December Vision” (December 1850)
    2. From “A Walk in a Workhouse” (May 1850)
    3. From “A Nightly Scene in London” (January 1856)
  2. Burial Grounds
    1. From “Spa-Fields Burial Grounds,” The Times (5 March 1845)
    2. From “Heathen and Christian Burial,” Household Words (April 1850)
  3. Disease
    1. From Thomas Carlyle, Past and Present (1843)
    2. From “How Cholera is Spread,” The Lancet (13 October 1849)
    3. [Mortality Among the Working Classes], from The Times (4 September 1851)
  4. Epidemics and Sanitation
    1. From Edwin Chadwick, Report on the Sanitary Conditions of the Labouring Population (1842)
    2. [Sanitary Conditions of the city], from The Times (2 January 1851)
    3. From a Speech by Dickens to the Metropolitan Sanitary Association (10 May 1851)

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Bleak House (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 247 reviews.
jmh23 More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
'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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
TedK More than 1 year ago
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.
Beviereads More than 1 year ago
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.
Brenna Fischer More than 1 year ago
A wonderful version with beautiful pictures. I doubt there is a better version of Bleak House.
Shaday09 More than 1 year ago
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.
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One of the best books I had read. Simply amazing!
raoulOH More than 1 year ago
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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The free one with one 5 star review has very few typos. Very easy to read.
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Bad version cant be read
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