Dickens Quotes

Quotes tagged as "dickens" Showing 1-30 of 65
Charles Dickens
“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.”
Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

Charles Dickens
“LONDON. Michaelmas Term lately over, and the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincoln’s Inn Hall. Implacable November weather. As much mud in the streets as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth, and it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill. Smoke lowering down from chimney-pots, making a soft black drizzle, with flakes of soot in it as big as full-grown snow-flakes — gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sun. Dogs, undistinguishable in mire. Horses, scarcely better; splashed to their very blinkers. Foot passengers, jostling one another’s umbrellas in a general infection of ill-temper, and losing their foot-hold at street-corners, where tens of thousands of other foot passengers have been slipping and sliding since the day broke (if the day ever broke), adding new deposits to the crust upon crust of mud, sticking at those points tenaciously to the pavement, and accumulating at compound interest.

Fog everywhere. Fog up the river, where it flows among green aits and meadows; fog down the river, where it rolls defiled among the tiers of shipping and the waterside pollutions of a great (and dirty) city. Fog on the Essex marshes, fog on the Kentish heights. Fog creeping into the cabooses of collier-brigs; fog lying out on the yards, and hovering in the rigging of great ships; fog drooping on the gunwales of barges and small boats. Fog in the eyes and throats of ancient Greenwich pensioners, wheezing by the firesides of their wards; fog in the stem and bowl of the afternoon pipe of the wrathful skipper, down in his close cabin; fog cruelly pinching the toes and fingers of his shivering little ’prentice boy on deck. Chance people on the bridges peeping over the parapets into a nether sky of fog, with fog all round them, as if they were up in a balloon, and hanging in the misty clouds.

Gas looming through the fog in divers places in the streets, much as the sun may, from the spongey fields, be seen to loom by husbandman and ploughboy. Most of the shops lighted two hours before their time — as the gas seems to know, for it has a haggard and unwilling look.

The raw afternoon is rawest, and the dense fog is densest, and the muddy streets are muddiest near that leaden-headed old obstruction, appropriate ornament for the threshold of a leaden-headed old corporation, Temple Bar. And hard by Temple Bar, in Lincoln’s Inn Hall, at the very heart of the fog, sits the Lord High Chancellor in his High Court of Chancery.”
Charles Dickens, Bleak House

Charles Dickens
“Mr Lorry asks the witness questions:

Ever been kicked?
Might have been.
Frequently? No. Ever kicked down stairs?
Decidedly not; once received a kick at the top of a staircase, and fell down stairs of his own accord.”
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Oscar Wilde
“One must have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell without laughing.”
Oscar Wilde

Charles Dickens
“I care for no man on earth, and no man on earth cares for me.”
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dickens
“A heart well worth winning, and well won. A heart that, once won, goes through fire and water for the winner, and never changes, and is never daunted.”
Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend

Charles Dickens
“You are hard at work madam ," said the man near her.
Yes," Answered Madam Defarge ; " I have a good deal to do."
What do you make, Madam ?"
Many things."
For instance ---"
For instance," returned Madam Defarge , composedly ,
Shrouds."
The man moved a little further away, as soon as he could, feeling it mightily close and oppressive .”
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Nick Hornby
“Where would David Copperfield be if Dickens had gone to writing classes? Probably about seventy minor characters short, is where. (Did you know that Dickens is estimated to have invented thirteen thousand characters? Thirteen thousand! The population of a small town!)”
Nick Hornby, The Polysyllabic Spree

Charles Dickens
“Good for Christmas-time is the ruddy colour of the cloak in which--the tree making a forest of itself for her to trip through, with her basket--Little Red Riding-Hood comes to me one Christmas Eve to give me information of the cruelty and treachery of that dissembling Wolf who ate her grandmother, without making any impression on his appetite, and then ate her, after making that ferocious joke about his teeth. She was my first love. I felt that if I could have married Little Red Riding-Hood, I should have known perfect bliss. But, it was not to be; and there was nothing for it but to look out the Wolf in the Noah's Ark there, and put him late in the procession on the table, as a monster who was to be degraded.”
Charles Dickens, A Christmas Tree

Charles Dickens
“That, they never could lay their heads upon their pillows; that, they could never tolerate the idea of their wives laying their heads upon their pillows; that, they could never endure the notion of their children laying their heads on their pillows; in short , that there never more could be , for them or theirs , any laying of heads upon pillows at all , unless the prisioner's head was taken off.

The Attorney General during the trial of Mr. Darnay ”
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Philip Larkin
“I sit in my room like Miss Havisham, about whom I have been reading this week. Better the Dickens you know than the Dickens you don't know - on the whole I enjoyed it. But I should like to say something about this 'irrepressible vitality', this 'throwing a fresh handful of characters on the fire when it burns low', in fact the whole Dickens method - it strikes me as being less ebullient, creative, vital, than hectic, nervy, panic-stricken. If he were a person I should say 'You don't have to entertain me, you know. I'm quite happy just sitting here.' This jerking of your attention, with queer names, queer characters, aggressive rhythms, piling on adjectives - seems to me to betray basic insecurity in his relation with the reader. How serenely Trollope, for instance, compares. I say in all seriousness that, say what you like about Dickens as an entertainer, he cannot be considered as a real writer at all; not a real novelist. His is the garish gaslit melodramatic barn (writing that phrase makes me wonder if I'm right!) where the yokels gape: outside is the calm measureless world, where the characters of Eliot, Trollope, Austen, Hardy (most of them) and Lawrence (some of them) have their being.”
Philip Larkin, Philip Larkin: Letters to Monica

Anthony Trollope
“(On Charles Dickens) It has been the peculiarity and the marvel of this man’s power, that he has invested his puppets with a charm that has enabled him to dispense with human nature.”
Anthony Trollope, Autobiography of Anthony Trollope

Charles Dickens
“Mrs. Pocket was at home, and was in a little difficulty, on account of the baby's having been accommodated with a needle case to keep him quiet during the unaccountable absence (with a relative in the Foot Guards) of Millers. And more needles were missing than it could be regarded as quite wholesome for a patient of such tender years either to apply externally or to take as a tonic.”
Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens
“Enough House', said I; 'that's a curious name, miss.' 'Yes,' she replied; 'but it meant more than it said. It meant, when it was given, that whoever had this house could want nothing else.”
Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

Charles Dickens
“You don't know how you haunt and bewilder me. You don't know how the cursed carelessness that is over-officious in helping me at every other turning of my life WON'T help me here. You have struck it dead, I think, and I sometimes wish you had struck me dead along with it.”
Dickens, Charles

Nick Hornby
“(from his random observations after reading David Copperfield by Charles Dickens)

In the Old Curiosity Shop I discovered that in the character of Dick Swiveller, Dickens provided P.G. Wodehouse with pretty much the whole of his oeuvre. In David Copperfield, David's bosses Spenlow and Jorkins are what must be the earliest fictional representations of good cop/bad cop.”
Nick Hornby, The Polysyllabic Spree

George Orwell
“Dickens hardly writes of war, even to denounce it.”
George Orwell, Essays

Charles Dickens
“The year was dying early, the leaves were falling fast, it was a raw cold day when we took possession, and the gloom of the house was most depressing. The cook (an amiable woman, but of a weak turn of intellect) burst into tears on beholding the kitchen, and requested that her silver watch might be delivered over to her sister (2 Tuppintock’s Gardens, Liggs’s Walk, Clapham Rise), in the event of anything happening to her from the damp. Streaker, the housemaid, feigned cheerfulness, but was the greater martyr. The Odd Girl, who had never been in the country, alone was pleased, and made arrangements for sowing an acorn in the garden outside the scullery window, and rearing an oak.”
Charles Dickens, Three Ghost Stories

Charles Dickens
“My flesh and blood...when it rises against me, is not my flesh and blood. I discard it.”
Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

George Orwell
“Dickens seems to have succeeded in attacking everybody and antagonizing nobody.”
George Orwell, Essays

Charles Dickens
“The whelp went home, and went to bed.  If he had had any sense of what he had done that night, and had been less of a whelp and more of a brother, he might have turned short on the road, might have gone down to the ill-smelling river that was dyed black, might have gone to bed in it for good and all, and have curtained his head for ever with its filthy waters.”
Dickens Charles, Hard Times

Charles Dickens
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were going directly to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way- in short, the period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being, received, for good or for evil, in superlative degree of comparison only.”
Charles Dickens

George Bernard Shaw
“I read Dickens and Shakespear without shame or stint; but their pregnant observations and demonstrations of life are not co-ordinated into any philosophy or religion: on the contrary, Dickens's sentimental assumptions are violently contradicted by his observations; and Shakespear's pessimism is only his wounded humanity. Both have the specific genius of the fictionist and the common sympathies of human feeling and thought in pre-eminent degree. They are often saner and shrewder than the philosophers just as Sancho-Panza was often saner and shrewder than Don Quixote. They clear away vast masses of oppressive gravity by their sense of the ridiculous, which is at bottom a combination of sound moral judgment with lighthearted good humor. But they are concerned with the diversities of the world instead of with its unities: they are so irreligious that they exploit popular religion for professional purposes without delicacy or scruple (for example, Sydney Carton and the ghost in Hamlet!): they are anarchical, and cannot balance their exposures of Angelo and Dogberry, Sir Leicester Dedlock and Mr Tite Barnacle, with any portrait of a prophet or a worthy leader: they have no constructive ideas: they regard those who have them as dangerous fanatics: in all their fictions there is no leading thought or inspiration for which any man could conceivably risk the spoiling of his hat in a shower, much less his life. Both are alike forced to borrow motives for the more strenuous actions of their personages from the common stockpot of melodramatic plots; so that Hamlet has to be stimulated by the prejudices of a policeman and Macbeth by the cupidities of a bushranger. Dickens, without the excuse of having to manufacture motives for Hamlets and Macbeths, superfluously punt his crew down the stream of his monthly parts by mechanical devices which I leave you to describe, my own memory being quite baffled by the simplest question as to Monks in Oliver Twist, or the long lost parentage of Smike, or the relations between the Dorrit and Clennam families so inopportunely discovered by Monsieur Rigaud Blandois. The truth is, the world was to Shakespear a great "stage of fools" on which he was utterly bewildered. He could see no sort of sense in living at all; and Dickens saved himself from the despair of the dream in The Chimes by taking the world for granted and busying himself with its details. Neither of them could do anything with a serious positive character: they could place a human figure before you with perfect verisimilitude; but when the moment came for making it live and move, they found, unless it made them laugh, that they had a puppet on their hands, and had to invent some artificial external stimulus to make it work.”
George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman

Dubravka Ugrešić
“Možda pisci poput Dickensa duguju svoju veliku popularnost za života upravo činjenici da je novac u njihovim romanima pokretač svega, s čime se većina čitalaca lako mogla identificirati. S modernizmom je novac nezamjetno nestao iz književnosti. Istina, Virginia Woolf u svome bezbroj puta citiranome eseju "Vlastita soba" tvrdi da se žena ne može baviti pisanjem ukoliko ne posjeduje vlastitu sobu i minimalan dohodak od petsto funti godišnje.”
Dubravka Ugrešić, Lisica

Charles Dickens
“Bless those women; they never do anything by halves. They are always in earnest.”
Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens
“If I felt less, I could do more.”
Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

Stephen Leacock
“All over the world for a hundred years, almost, there have been people reading Dickens. In town and in country, at home and abroad, in winter with the candles lighted and the outside world forgotten; in summer beneath a shadowing tree or in a sheltered corner of the beach; in garret bedrooms, in frontier cabins, in the light of the camp fire and in the long vigil of the sickroom — people reading Dickens.

And everywhere the mind enthralled, absorbed, uplifted; the anxieties of life, the grind of poverty, the loneliness of bereavement, and the longings of exile, forgotten, conjured away, as there arises from the magic page the inner vision of the lanes and fields of England, and on the ear the murmured sounds of London, the tide washing up the Thames, and the fog falling upon Lincoln's Inn.”
Stephen Leacock, The Pursuit of Knowledge: A Discussion of Freedom and Compulsion in Education

Charles Dickens
“Cultivate in them, while there is yet time, the utmost graces of the fancies and affections, to adorn their lives, so much in need of ornament ; or, in the day of your triumph, when romance is utterly driven out of their souls, and they and a bare existence stand face to face, Reality will take a wolfish turn, and make an end of you.”
Charles Dickens

Jen Campbell
“Do you have any old copies of Dickens?

Bookseller: We've got a copy of David Copperfield from 1850 for $150.

Customer: Why is it so expensive if it's that old?”
Jen Campbell, Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops

Nancy Thayer
“Real life was like a plot by Dickens . . .”
Nancy Thayer, Surfside Sisters

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