Big Readers Forum Index


Dickens
Page 1, 2, 3 ... 9, 10, 11  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Big Readers Forum Index -> Author, author! A forum for threads about individual authors.
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Please Register and Login to this forum to stop seeing this advertising.






Posted:     Post subject:



Back to top
Mikeharvey



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 3360


Location: Lancashire

PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 10:02 am    Post subject: Dickens  Reply with quote

I had taken down my copy of Dicken's "Christmas Books" to read "A Christmas Carol" again and guiltily realised that I had read none of the other stories. So I read "THE CHIMES" in a couple of sittings.  
It's about as long as "Carol" and was published the year after (1844). It's a story of the New Year as opposed to Christmas and is subtitled "A Goblin Story"
The story is about Trotty Veck who is a ticket-porter who works near a church and is always hearing voices in the church bells above him. He is a messenger and is very poor, as is his daughter, Meg and her intended, Richard. Trotty meets  an unfotunate vagrant, Will Fearn and Lillian the small child he is looking after.  After several encounters with rich individuals and so-callled philanthropists who condemn the poor for their way of life and their fecklessness and an alderman forsees disaster for Meg's forthcoming marriage. Trotty is filled with gloom and despondency and comes to believe that the poor are naturally ungrateful, are born wicked, and have no place in society.  That night Trotty climbs to the belfry and in a vision conjured up by the Spirit of the Chimes he sees his own death and a future of unmitigated gllom and disaster for all. Trotty is changed by his vision, and rejects his gloomy and negative view of Life.

It's by no means as effective as "A Christmas Carol" and I found its message rather difficult to understand.  It seems odd that D chooses a poor sympathetic character to have a conversion.  Dickens seems to be saying - but I'm sure he's not - that everybody can change their life - even the poor.  I must have that wrong.

It's well written of course, and there are some marvellous passages like the opening of the Third Quarter describing Trotty's climb into the bell-tower and his vision of the Goblins of the Chimes.  The unsympathetic characters like The Alderman, who believes that many things and people should be "put down" are splendidly vivid in Dickens' best manner.  And the dialogue is as always wonderful. But I felt that D overwrites the plight and misery of the poor characters, and sentimentality is never very far off. But even in the midst of the gloom there are lovely touches of humour.
Has anyone else read this? I'd be pleased to read somer other opinions.
I read it in a very nice edition with super pictures by Charles Keeping.


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Marita



Joined: 21 Nov 2008
Posts: 511


Location: Flanders, Belgium

PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I’ve read ‘The Chimes’ several times as I have every story in Dickens' "Christmas Books". I agree that there are some wonderful passages in it. Still it is not a favourite Christmas story.
Quote:

Dickens seems to be saying - but I'm sure he's not - that everybody can change their life - even the poor.  I must have that wrong.

This is how I see it:
Trotty starts of as a happy character. The Chimes are his companions, they talk to him, encourage him, comfort him. After he has met the so-called philanthropists he starts to hear a different message in the chimes – the words of these rich men (put’em down, put’em down, facts and figures, facts and figures). That night, angry that he has put these words into their mouths, the Spirits of the Bells show him a dreadful vision. Trotty has to learn from the misery of his daughter that the poor are not to blame as the ‘philanthropists’ claimed. Having learned his lesson, he can be the old Trotty again, happy even if he is poor.

I’ve read somewhere that ‘The Chimes’ has not got the happy ending of ‘A Christmas Carol’. In the latter Tiny Tim does not die, but in ‘The Chimes’ nothing much has changed at the end of the story (except that Will Fern has found the person he was looking for). All the misery of Trotty’s vision could still happen.
I suppose that is one of the reasons why it doesn’t feel as good as ‘A Christmas Carol’.

Marita


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
TheRejectAmidHair



Joined: 19 Nov 2008
Posts: 3864


Location: Staines, Middlesex

PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Strange you should start this thread Mike ... it occurred to me today that while I read A Christmas Carol every year, and often read The Chimes and The Cricket on the Hearth, I never have ago at the other two. So I just started on The Battle of Life: I'll report nback on it once I've finished.

A Christmas Carol is certainly the best of them. I suppose that, to employ modern parlance, its  ending is "feelgood", but it's by no means facile: the joy has been hard won, and we have glimpsed into the abyss on the way.

I do have a soft spot for The Chimes. It is true that there is no assurance that the tragedy prefigured in the vision will be avoided, but Trotty learns not to be censorious of human behaviour. I find irt oddly moving.

The Cricket on the Hearth is perhaps the warmest of the three.




Last edited by TheRejectAmidHair on Tue Dec 16, 2008 7:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
lunababymoonchild



Joined: 21 Nov 2008
Posts: 447


Location: Glasgow, Scotland

PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm increasingly warming to the idea of postponing Agincourt temporarily in favour of the rest of the Dickens Christmas books.  I've only read A Christmas Carol and that was only last year so I think I'll have a go at t'others this year.

Luna


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
MikeAlx



Joined: 17 Nov 2008
Posts: 2105


Location: Seaford, East Sussex

PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2009 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just listened to The Story of the Goblins who Stole a Sexton on the Classic Tales Podcast. I gather this formed a chapter of The Pickwick Papers - though it sounded pretty much like a standalone story to me (is The Pickwick Papers really a novel, or is it really a bunch of stories loosely strung together?).

Anyway, it struck me how much this story has in common with A Christmas Carol, which came out some 6 years later. There is the core theme of a miserable misanthrope taught the error of his ways by supernatural entities, a vision of the death of a child, the idea of 'poor but happy', the context of Christmas, etc. Did Dickens write a lot of stories in this mode, or are the Goblins and A Christmas Carol more closely related than most?



_________________
Cheers, Mike
quality folder printing online
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
TheRejectAmidHair



Joined: 19 Nov 2008
Posts: 3864


Location: Staines, Middlesex

PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2009 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thre Story of the Goblins certainly foreshadow A Christmas Carol. The themes are more intricately developed in the later work, which, although equally whimsical, seems to me to have a greater depth of feeling.

Much of Pickwick Papers is loosely constructed- it is highly episodic, and often resembles a series of sketches. Indeed, I think that had been Dickens' intention to begin with - to put together a sequence of loosely connected comic sketches. However, in the latter part of the novel, something resembling an extended and coherent narrative does emerge, and in the prison chapters, the tone does darken surprsingly. I get the feeling that Dickens' ambition expanded as work progressed.

I personally find it Dickens' most delightful work. His very idiosyncratic humour does appeal to me (although I appreciate that it leaves many others cold), and he presents a comic world that I love to enter.


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
goldbug



Joined: 23 Nov 2008
Posts: 48



PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2009 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great  Expectations  was written in the first person perhaps that is why it was my favourite, reading it as school.

 Dickens was a human dynamo, writing novels,
writing for his magazine,  lecturing on stage,
he must have had a wonderful imagination.
I wonder if we can put him up there with
Shakespeare ?


 Sadly he seems to have  burnt himself out with
all this frantic activity and he died at  the
early age of 58   (in 1870 )


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Caro



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 2974


Location: Owaka, New Zealand

PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Today in our library I noticed we were ordering A Child's History of England by Dickens.  I don't seem to know this book at all - who has read it?  And is it a picture book or what?  

I am looking forward to seeing it - and seeing who gets it out.

Cheers, Caro.


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
goldbug



Joined: 23 Nov 2008
Posts: 48



PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
goldbug



Joined: 23 Nov 2008
Posts: 48



PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

He had a large family,  he  travelled widely,
he  wrote prolifically, he  lectured,
did  theatre tours where he  read  large sections
of his work to enthusiastic  audiences,  he  acted in amature dramatics....

He was a human dynamo... obviously a lover of the theatre..  I wonder what his opinion was of the
Victorian Music Halls  which he must have known  well.

Maybe the  theatre is a bigger influence than we know, there is so much dialogue in his novels... they are almost  scripts !



Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Big Readers Forum Index -> Author, author! A forum for threads about individual authors. All times are GMT
Page 1, 2, 3 ... 9, 10, 11  Next
Page 1 of 11

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Card File  Gallery  Forum Archive
Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group
Big Readers Theme by Mike Alexander
Based on Artemis by Vjacheslav Trushkin
Create your own free forum | Buy a domain to use with your forum