Bleak House

Bleak House

by Charles Dickens
4.0 42

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Overview

Bleak House by Charles Dickens

First published in monthly parts from March, 1852, to September, 1853, this novel follows the fortunes of three pedestrian charactersEsther Summerson, Ada Clare and Richard Carstone. The story they tell embodies Dickens’ merciless indictment of the Court of Chancery and its bungling, morally corrupt handling of the endless case of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce, giving the novel its scope and meaning. Starting with Esther’s account of her lonely, unhappy childhood, her role as protégée of the worthy John Jarndyce, Richard and Ada’s guardian, the tale develops the relations between the three young people in the Jarndyce household. Numerous other characters contribute to the complex portrait of society which emerges from the novel. They include the romantic, effusive and unworldly Harold Skimpole (based on Leigh Hunt, poet, journalist, and critic, who published The Examiner in which he introduced the public to Keats and Shelley); the boisterous, short-tempered Boythorn (based on Walter Savage Landor, poet and essayist, mentor to Robert Browning); Krook, the rag-and-bottle shopkeeper who dies a hideous death by spontaneous combustion; Gridley and the crazed Miss Flite, both ruined by Chancery; Mrs. Jellyby, neglectful of domestic responsibilities in favor of telescopic philanthropy; the greasy Mr. Chadband, a parson of no particular denomination; and Conversation Kenge and Mr. Vholes, lawyers both.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780582030930
Publisher: Moonbeam Publications, Incorporated
Series: Casebook Series
Pages: 104
Product dimensions: 5.71(w) x 8.27(h) x (d)

About the Author

Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Landport, Portsea, England. He died in Kent on June 9, 1870. The second of eight children of a family continually plagued by debt, the young Dickens came to know not only hunger and privation,but also the horror of the infamous debtors’ prison and the evils of child labor. A turn of fortune in the shape of a legacy brought release from the nightmare of prison and “slave” factories and afforded Dickens the opportunity of two years’ formal schooling at Wellington House Academy. He worked as an attorney’s clerk and newspaper reporter until his Sketches by Boz (1836) and The Pickwick Papers (1837) brought him the amazing and instant success that was to be his for the remainder of his life. In later years, the pressure of serial writing, editorial duties, lectures, and social commitments led to his separation from Catherine Hogarth after twenty-three years of marriage. It also hastened his death at the age of fifty-eight, when he was characteristically engaged in a multitude of work.

Michael Slater is an emeritus professor at Birkbeck College, London, and past president of the Dickens Fellowship and the Dickens Society of America.

Date of Birth:

February 7, 1812

Date of Death:

June 18, 1870

Place of Birth:

Portsmouth, England

Place of Death:

Gad's Hill, Kent, England

Education:

Home-schooling; attended Dame School at Chatham briefly and Wellington

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Bleak House 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I never read Dickens in school or college and since have felt that perhaps I missed out on something. Recently I have sought to make up for the lack in my education. I find that I am glad I waited this long to read him. I doubt I would have appreciated him as much in my more impatient years. Bleak House is the second Dickens novel I have read. It's a complex story with a very large cast of characters. At first the indidents seemed unrelated but further reading reveals a carefully constructed tale with surprising turns. This is a book for the patient reader and not one to be hurried through. The writing style does not lend itself to a rushed reading. The payoff is high however, as there are some fabulous turns of phrase and characterizations. In some places I was moved to tears -not something that happens often with me- and in others I was indignant. There is a reason that Dickens has been referred to as the greatest English novelist of all time. Bleak House is one of them. The original Nonesuch edition was the ultimate Dickens but sadly was out of reach for most collectors. This edition is a finely made reproduction. The printing and pictures are exceptionally fine. Some of the intricate detail can only be seen with a magnifying glass. The spine is beautifuly textured bonded leather with cloth boards and embossing on the front cover. The cover is protected by a clear plastic dust jacket. The binding is sewn and the book lays open nicely. I don't think you could find a more beautiful Dickens anywhere, yet these are easily affordable for the collector. I sincerely hope to see the other 17 Nonesuch volumes produced by Barnes and Noble.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm a big Dickens fan, and this is probably my favorite of his novels. Unlike a lot of other Dickens books where the story is a little disjointed, jumping from location to location and sub-plot to sub-plot, this book stays very much on point and very little is extraneous to the ultimate ending. Although the characters are perhaps not as memorable as those in some of Dickens' more well known novels, they are extremely well developed and perhaps more relatable to the reader. What separates this book from many of DIckens' other novels, for me at least, is the non-storybook endings that many of the characters encounter, and the struggles that nearly every character in the book faces throughout. Altogether, it makes for a really enjoyable read. I couldn't recommend this book more; it is a must read for Dickens lovers and anyone with the patience to read an 800+ page book. 
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He runs in and straps ss to a chair then leaves
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LadyPJC More than 1 year ago
Tried it on my Nook Touch, Dell Streak with Nook for Android and my laptop with Nook for PC. Nook Touch and PC both just show a blank screen when I open the sample. Streak Tablet gives message that the book cannot be opened at this time. If I can't sample it, I won't buy it. I don't trust it. Too bad. Was looking forward to this one.
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