Terry 's Reviews > David Copperfield

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
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Reading Progress

01/27/2012 page 49
5.0% "Ok, part the first for the Serials Serially Group done."
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message 1: by Sean (new) - added it

Sean I gave up on great expectations. good luck with this one.


message 2: by Terry (new) - added it

Terry Yeah, I think I'll need it! This'll be my first Dickens, we'll see if it's my last.


message 3: by Sean (new) - added it

Sean Yeah, he uses alot of words or phrases that i did not understand because i have never lived in victorian england.


message 4: by Terry (new) - added it

Terry I visited once, but the food sucked. :)


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways Chuckles the Dick wrote some awful, lousy prose, and created some deathless images. I avoid him like he's got cooties now, but I'm three novels up on you, D3. Tough it out. Bet you'll end up like me: Anti.


message 6: by Terry (new) - added it

Terry I'm kind of expecting that reaction Richard...though I can't exactly say why I think that. I love some Victorian fiction and wordy/ornate prose styles are something I generally like, but we'll see how Chuck fares with my literary palate (or lack thereof).


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways There's ornate, and then there's overwrought. Not all ormolu is created equal.

Middlemarch : a study of provincial life: ornate; Great Expectations: overwrought.

Those are my pole-stars on the x axis.


message 8: by Terry (new) - added it

Terry *sigh* Are you going to make me add *more* books to my to-read list, Richard? I hate to admit that I have n MA in English and have sooo many classics that I have never read!


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways I don't even have a high school diploma. It's why I had time to read all those books.


message 10: by Terry (new) - added it

Terry Also, thank for the new word Richard! I will now try and use "ormolu" in conversation sometime soon.


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways Depending on your social circles, that's either going to be a doddle or a battle.


message 12: by Terry (new) - added it

Terry Just...can't...do it!


Richard Terry wrote: "Just...can't...do it!"

Terry, what's wrong? Don't give up!


message 14: by Terry (new) - added it

Terry I just can't stand Dickens' prose Richard! One more twee aside and I will throttle myself to escape!


Richard Terry wrote: "I just can't stand Dickens' prose Richard! One more twee aside and I will throttle myself to escape!"

Wow, that bad? What I liked about it was all the eccentric characters, e.g. the Micawbers, Uriah Heep, Aunt Betsey, Peggotty, etc. Okay, Dora's a drip (and so is Agnes actually), but I found it enjoyable.


message 16: by MJ (last edited Aug 20, 2012 06:01AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

MJ Nicholls Richard wrote: "Chuckles the Dick wrote some awful, lousy prose"

AHEM which lousy prose did "Chuckles" produce exactly? I only see one Dickens on your shelf, given the one-star treatment. Is one book enough to merit such a sweeping statement?

Terry: I understand time constraints and personal tastes and all that, but this is one of the greatest novels of the 19th century. It's worth some more effort.


message 17: by Terry (new) - added it

Terry Part of the problem may have been that I was 'reading' an audiobook narrated by a guy with an irish lilt that really emphasized what I considered the twee-ness of David.

I have to admit that I'm not a big fan of the way Dickens' characters are more caricature than character, but I may return someday, but for the time being when I'm in the mood for some Victorian era goodness I think I will be turning to George Eliot.


message 18: by Terry (new) - added it

Terry MJ wrote: "Terry: I understand time constraints and personal tastes and all that, but this is one of the greatest novels of the 19th century. It's worth some more effort. "

Fair enough MJ, but given that I have Bulgakov and Proust on the near horizon and I have been stalled on this book for at least four months I think I will devote my resources elsewhere and wait until another time for a dive into Dickens.


message 19: by MJ (new) - rated it 5 stars

MJ Nicholls Terry wrote: "Part of the problem may have been that I was 'reading' an audiobook narrated by a guy with an irish lilt that really emphasized what I considered the twee-ness of David."

STAY AWAY FROM AUDIO OR VISUAL VERSIONS THEY SPOIL EVERYTHING AND MISS THE POINT, THE PROSE IS WHAT MATTERS!!!!!!!!

Dora is a brilliantly funny character, she's such a caricature of the mollycoddled little wifey, I think people miss the parody there and simply think Dickens likes his women dim playthings.


message 20: by MJ (new) - rated it 5 stars

MJ Nicholls Just missed your last post. Fair enough I suppose. I don't think old Proust is a barrel of laffs like Darles the Chick, but I'll see you there.


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways MJ wrote: "Richard wrote: "Chuckles the Dick wrote some awful, lousy prose"

AHEM which lousy prose did "Chuckles" produce exactly? I only see one Dickens on your shelf, given the one-star treatment. Is one b..."


You presume that Goodreads has my entire catalog, and you also presume that I've cataloged all the books I've read. Neither is a correct assumption.


message 22: by MJ (last edited Aug 20, 2012 06:26AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

MJ Nicholls Richard wrote: "You presume that Goodreads has my entire catalog, and you also presume that I've cataloged all the books I've read. Neither is a correct assumption."

HMM WELL NOW that's one kind of response, another response would be to address the most pressing (and original) question about which Dickenses you consider "lousy," and why, and give examples of passages that demonstrate this subpar writing of which you speak. I only take this schoolmasterish tone since you clearly need the sense beaten into you. INTERNET SMILE


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways "INTERNET SMILE"? Srsly? Too refayned and awwwgust to use :-) or variants thereon? My.

I don't find the question terribly interesting.

A Christmas Carol: Treacly sappy icky-sticky sweet sentimentality cloaking an unsubtle dose of salts clearly meant to make his "greedy motherfuckers, turn loose of the gelt or you'll suffer in hell!" message go down easy. Laudable message, revolting execution.

A Tale of Two Cities: Bog-standard mistaken identity love triangle grafted onto the backdrop of an event close enough in history to make it have that extra frisson of relatability and excitement. This decade's equivalent will be set in the Rwandan genocides; next decade's will be aid workers in Darfur. Prose so humid that the pages mildew before your eyes. "Tis a faaaah, faaaah bettaaah thing..." Ugh.

Great Expectations: Oh dear gawd. Nauseating little pipsqueak turns into disgusting snobby creep. Along the way, he breaks every rule of decent behavior. At least the prose isn't cloying or moist. Dickens at his sharpest, most sarcastic, and keenest to wield the flensing knife on the self-centered and self-important generation of flabby thinkers he so held in contempt.

As for the book Terry's abandoning, however temporarily, I have nothing but infuriated, indignant screeches of loathing to deliver, and that gets old.

Dickens himself was more interesting than his fiction.


message 24: by MJ (last edited Aug 20, 2012 08:07AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

MJ Nicholls Richard wrote: "Dickens himself was more interesting than his fiction."

I hesitate to suggest your beef is with the period rather than Dickens, but it may well be. Plus it's actually a sad symptom of our age that we immediately associate Dickens with words like sentimental or cloying . . . there's no use attacking classic fiction for having properties we consider de trop nowadays. Dickens tried to capture all aspects of human experience in his works, using the full emotional arsenal of humans to do so, including sentiment which is a basic emotion we're no longer allowed to use in books in case we're deemed too schmaltzy or sappy. Because we have an inbuilt contempt for sentiment in art nowadays, why not return to Dickens for an enrichingly, perhaps unapologetically sentimental, experience? Especially if that sentiment is attached to universal, life-enriching moral statements and clues as to how to be a better human being. Especially if that valve of your human emotions gets no work out, and you end up like the other self-satisfied post-ironic insufferable knowing human turds being squeezed out our universities these days. DICKENS IS A HOW-TO GUIDE IN HOW TO BE HUMAN. We live in a world populated by evil people who are evil because their minds are closed and they do not read and they do not think and they do not care about books and by the way Richard this isn't aimed at you, I'm sure you're a thoroughly decent chap. INTERNET GROWL


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways I don't like Dickens. His writing isn't as good as George Eliot's or even Jane Austen's. I don't have an aversion to the period. I have an aversion to Dickens. I don't in the least bit agree that "Dickens tried to capture all aspects of human experience in his works"...he tried to make specific tendentious arguments in each of his books, and as his audience was middle-brow middle-class magazine-buying England, he used the tool most effective to pry open their eyes and their wallets: Sentimentality.

His writing isn't always cloying. Just usually. And it's aged poorly.

Applying the standards of the day to his works, he was the David Foster Wallace of the era. And I think DFW sucks, too. Not because he's sentimental. Because his writing isn't very good, unless it's his brilliant essays we're discussing.


message 26: by MJ (new) - rated it 5 stars

MJ Nicholls I don't like Dickens.

Fair enough.

His writing isn't as good as George Eliot's or even Jane Austen's.

*SLAPS FOREHEAD AND WAILS*

he tried to make specific tendentious arguments in each of his books, and as his audience was middle-brow middle-class magazine-buying England, he used the tool most effective to pry open their eyes and their wallets

Cynical. Incorrect. Far too sweeping. Biased beyond belief. A personal, intentionally fallacious attack, therefore an invalid as an aesthetic criticism. Suggests ex post facto posturing after failure to engage with the work.

And it's aged poorly.

But he's still the most beloved literary figure in Britain. Ergo, people still read his books and adore his work. Your logic = all British readers are severely lacking in the cranial dept and prefer musty, fusty poorly aged prose over the pristine, hypermodern hypertextual digirealm of Austen and Eliot.

And I think DFW sucks, too.

THERE'S GOING TO BE A BURNING.

Because his writing isn't very good, unless it's his brilliant essays we're discussing.

Contradiction. DFW sucks except the essays? Ergo, DFW does not suck because his essays do not suck, therefore DFW does not suck, therefore DFW is exceptional. Also, which portions of his fictions would you consider bad, bearing in mind you'll need to be able to evidence close readings of DFW's fictions to prove that his writing fails aesthetically and emotionally, so you'll need to install that Microsoft Megabrain Pack 9.0 lickety-split.

(PS This thread is all in good humour, no personal whomps against you).


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways But he's still the most beloved literary figure in Britain. Ergo, people still read his books and adore his work.

NOW who's far too sweeping? And, might one inquire, since when are the hoi polloi the best judges of merit?

DFW sucks except the essays? Ergo, DFW does not suck because his essays do not suck, therefore DFW does not suck, therefore DFW is exceptional.

Your caretaker clearly needs to monitor your meds more closely. As I'm not sure which anti-psychotic you're meant to take, I don't know if it's a case of skipping or doubling that's the problem.

The man's essays are reliably interesting and frequently brilliant. His fiction is precious, nauseously self-conscious, and not original enough to get away with its tics and moues. Reading that infinitely long snorefest book was like watching a silent movie in the age of 3D...this wasn't even clever when James Joyce did it, sonny jim, and you ain't no Joyce. Adding footnotes doesn't make it better.

My fire extinguisher and I await your convenience.


message 28: by MJ (last edited Aug 20, 2012 09:58AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

MJ Nicholls And, might one inquire, since when are the hoi polloi the best judges of merit?

Class bias as well? Well, colour me blue!

Your caretaker clearly needs to monitor your meds more closely. As I'm not sure which anti-psychotic you're meant to take, I don't know if it's a case of skipping or doubling that's the problem.

*LOOKS AROUND FOR PERSONAL ATTACKS MADE* Hmm, nope can't find them. *CHECKS UNDER CHAIR* Nope, still not there!

His fiction is precious

= lovingly crafted

nauseously self-conscious

= honest and human

not original enough

compared to . . . ?

tics and moues

as far as I'm aware DFW's prose doesn't grimace *READS INFINITE JEST AGAIN* Nope, no grimacing in there.

Reading that infinitely long snorefest book

which you did not read, you held it in your hands and scanned the words as you mustered up greater levels of contempt for it in your mind

this wasn't even clever when James Joyce did it

yes it was, and DON'T TELL ME ULYSSES IS OVERBLOWN

Adding footnotes doesn't make it better.

I might be in slight agreement there, though some on the IJ thread would contest agin you.

My fire extinguisher and I await your convenience.

ERECT A NEW WICKER MAN! THE HERETIC MUST DIE!


message 29: by Terry (new) - added it

Terry Seems as though Dickens is definitely a generator of great heat, whether pro or contra!


message 30: by MJ (new) - rated it 5 stars

MJ Nicholls Sorry for hijacking your thread, Terry. I should stop before it gets silly.

Oops... twenty comments too late. Drat!

(Still think it's more judicious of people [not Richard exclusively] not to make personal sweeping dismissals against authors, but it can make for fun debates/ argy-bargies).


Richard Terry wrote: "Seems as though Dickens is definitely a generator of great heat, whether pro or contra!"

We need to get David Copperfield (the illusionist) in here to entertain. That would cool things off.


message 32: by Terry (new) - added it

Terry I almost felt as though two titanic forces were battling for my literary soul!


Richard Terry wrote: "I almost felt as though two titanic forces were battling for my literary soul!"

Psychomachia!


Alex I think that it's legitimate to not enjoy Dickens but I think it's a bit strange to make sweeping statements like "revolting execution", "sickly sweet" in the light of 100 years of critical praise for the guy and his work.

I can't say that I ever found Dickens prose cloying or sentimental. I think maybe Richard would do well to get a little bit of perspective and to stand Dickens writings up against maybe modern romance or historical fiction writing before laying into Dickens in quite such a bombastic, impassioned way. It's a little hard to take what he says seriously when it's couched in such rhetoric. Is it actually as bad as Barbara Cartland or simply not the kind of style that you're looking for? is the central narrative of Great Expectations really that nauseating ... i think if one looks at it a little more closely one could find that it's a whole lot more complex than you're dressing it up as whereas you could probably sum up Stephanie Meyer in such derogatory one-liners.

I know it's meant in jest and humour to an extent, but still, I'm surprised that anyone could read a book like Great Expectations and get so little from it other than "bad prose and nauseating storyline" I pity you a little bit ... but then, Dickens is one of my very favourite authors *shrug*


Brian Robbins Can only think you got a bloody awful reader on your audiobook, Terry.

I'm not saying Dickens isn't without his faults, but the strengths make him so worth reading. Hope you aren't put off for life, otherwise you'll miss so much!


message 36: by Terry (new) - added it

Terry I imagine I will try again someday Brian...and not with an audiobook!


Brian Robbins Good man. Dickens would be proud of you.


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