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Preview — The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens
The Old Curiosity Shop
The story of 'Little Nell' gripped the nation when it first appeared. Described as a 'tragedy of sorrows', it tells of Nell uprooted from a secure and innocent childhood and cast into a world where evil takes many shapes, the most fascinating of which is the stunted, lecherous Qui...more
The simple answer is that tastes change. Just as with modern-day fantasy stories the reader has to suspend their disbelief, accepting the basic premise of the magical or dystopian world described, with Dickens one has to "go along with" his unique view of the world. Yes, he was writing about everyday characters and the h ...more
Has he beaten the crap out of another character more than poor little Nell from The Old Curiosity Shop? Certainly Pip and Oliver get theirs. But at least with them there's some sort of happy ending or comeuppance for the villains. Like Little Dorrit without the uplifting ending, Nell is flat out beat down. Time and again she is taken advantage of and there is no redemption, not in my eyes. Sure, ...more
My generic comment about Charles Dickens:
First of all, although I am a partisan of Dickens' writing and have read and relished most his works, I concede to three flaws in his oeuvre that are not insignificant. First, while he seemed to develop an almost endless variety of male social types, his female characters are much less well developed. Second, ...more
A Dickensian "Alice in Wonderland"
"Curiosity Shop" vs. "Alice
This novel, serialized in 1840 and 1841, and published as a book in 1841, reminds me in some respects of "Alice in Wonderland" (published in 1865).
Maybe it's that they're both British Victorian novels. Maybe it's the abundance of eccentric (and even lunatic) characters that seems to be the specialty of British novelists of the time. Maybe it's the original (and quite wonderfully demented) illustrations by George Cattermole and Habl ...more
So far my favourite character is Whiskers the pony. I'm not sure if that bodes well.
I confess: I abandoned Little Nell. In a drawer, in a B&B in Tobermory. I did however finish the book, after lugging it about since March. I'm afraid my initial reservations were confirmed: Nell was insipid, and Whiskers the pony was ace. Especially as it is reported that his final act was to kick his doctor in his last illness. The doctor is nev ...more
The narrative is full of picturesque and amazing characters, vivid images of city life and nature, with the villains plotting cunningly and the honest people coming to rescue, but not always in ti ...more
"...and so do things pass away, like a tale that is told."
When I started this novel I got all excited, thinking it might be even better than Great Expectations, my favorite Dickens novel to date. What always happens to me with Charles Dickens, though, is that my interest starts to fade about 2/3 of the way through the book. He has many sub-plots going all at once, and he abandons some of them for so long in order to focus on just one. Often the one he favors is the one I'm least interested in, ...more
I am strangely fascinated by the story and can easily see why it was so popular in its day. The poverty-stricken Nell and her grandfather escaping the evil Quilp has all the makings of The Fugitive. Everyone suspects that the grandfather is wealthy and it would be worth while to clap him into the insane asylum while ...more
Anton Lesser reads Dickens extremely well, even if his elderly women (thinking more of his reading of Pickwick Papers here) tend to become impersonations of Dame Edith Evans at her most theatrical. In this production his Quilp was outstanding.
I last read the book in 1987 and thoroughly enjoyed it. Returning to it was ...more
Written between the spring of 1840 and the late autumn of 1841 for the weekly serial “Master Humphrey’s Clock”, Dickens’s “The Old Curiosity Shop” is utterly blemished by the constraints on a writer’s imagination such a serial publication demands, for the novel is extremely ill-composed, its plot comes out as threadbare and rather pointless, and some of the characters undergo rather improbable changes. In fact, had this been the first Dickens novel I had ever laid eyes on, I would ...more
As always his wit, humor, and masterful twists come into play as well as his wonderfully weird characters
Little Nell and her grandfather flee London in an attempt to get away from the latter's gambling debts. Through the book we come upon a bizarre medley of people who ultimately come together at the climax of the plot. All these different people are so vividly depicted,some of them made to be loved,some to be hated and some,like Mr Swiveller, stan ...more
It's curious. Usually, I don't mind knowing how a book ends. I read for the pleasure of the telling, more than for the tale. But in this case, I wonder if knowing that (and here comes the spoiler--if you can really say that about a well-known book that's well past its hundredth birthday) Nell dies diminished the ending's emotional impact too much. In a way, I want it to be the fact that I went in knowing it was coming. But, sadly, I don't think that was the case.
It's curious. I just coul ...more
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|2015 Reading Chal...: The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens||3||18||Jan 05, 2015 06:43AM|
|Goodreads Librari...: Different cover||5||27||Jun 24, 2014 11:33AM|
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|Trans-Atlantic Bi...: The Old Curiosity Shop||5||14||Apr 11, 2013 08:23AM|
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