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Bleak House
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Supplemental Readings & Context > Supplemental readings about Bleak House

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Kris (krisrabberman) | 57 comments Mod
This folder is for members to post links to supplementary readings and websites about Bleak House.


message 2: by Jennifer (aka EM) (last edited Feb 11, 2013 02:44PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jennifer (aka EM) | 34 comments Mod
I've got one, and it's quite good. ETA: the article contains spoilers!

Bleak House: Public & Private Worlds

There's a great ref list at bottom, too.


Kris (krisrabberman) | 57 comments Mod
That looks great, Jennifer! I've saved it to read.

There's a good current bibliography of Bleak House resources and criticism up at the site for The Dickens Project, which is housed at the University of California, Santa Cruz: http://dickens.ucsc.edu/about/index.html

Here's the bibliography: http://dickens.ucsc.edu/resources/bib...
There are other interesting resources on the site too.


message 4: by Jennifer (aka EM) (last edited Feb 11, 2013 05:42AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jennifer (aka EM) | 34 comments Mod
excellent. Thank you! I'll dig into them greedily later today.


Kalliope | 52 comments Mod
Kris wrote: "That looks great, Jennifer! I've saved it to read.

There's a good current bibliography of Bleak House resources and criticism up at the site for The Dickens Project, which is housed at the Univers..."


These are great...

I posted in the Library a beautifully illustrated general book on Victorian times.


Kris (krisrabberman) | 57 comments Mod
This website on Dickens has many resources on Bleak House specifically, as well as a glossary that could be helpful for some readers: http://charlesdickenspage.com/index.html

The Bleak House section is here: http://charlesdickenspage.com/bleakho... There's a list of characters in case you get confused (be careful -- when you click on the links there are spoilers).


Carol (carollynncrayton) | 34 comments Thanks, Jennifer, for the link to Bleak House: Public and Private Worlds. I just finished reading this and am so glad that I took the time to do so. It was excellent and will definitely influence how I go about reading the novel. Thanks again!


Jennifer (aka EM) | 34 comments Mod
oh darn - I should have put a spoiler warning on that. A quick scan reveals that it reveals certain key plot points!

Sorry about that - but glad you got something out of it in advance of your read!


Carol (carollynncrayton) | 34 comments No problem about spoilers. I could tell ahead if time if one was coming and then just skipped over those few sentences pertaining to the spoiler. Kind of a mental version of plugging my fingers in my ears and saying "lalala lala lalala! I can't hear you!"


message 10: by Jac (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jac (jacobusmaria) | 4 comments http://www.shmoop.com/bleak-house/
i wonder how term papers and book reports were snatched from this site?


message 11: by Jac (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jac (jacobusmaria) | 4 comments Jane wrote: "Interesting blog entry on 'naming and violence' in bleak house, has some MAJOR spoilers though :(

http://estherhawdon.wordpress.com/201..."


bleak house: it gets larger as you chew it.


Jennifer (aka EM) | 34 comments Mod
I just stumbled upon this quote; it's Richard Pullman with a really interesting interpretation of Dickens' dual narrative structure in BH. (Sorry, don't know original source and a quick google search hasn't revealed it yet!):

"Bleak House is told in two voices, as you remember. One is the somewhat trying Esther Summerson, who is a paradigm of every kind of virtue, and the other is a different sort of voice entirely, a voice that tells the story in the present tense, which was unusual for the time, a voice that doesn't seem to have a main character attached to it.

But I think that Dickens is playing a very subtle game here. I've noticed a couple of things about that second narration that make me wonder whether it isn't Esther herself writing the other bits of it. For instance, at the very beginning, she says, "When I come to write my portion of these pages . . ." So she knows that there is another narrative going on, but nobody else does. Nobody else refers to it. The second thing is that she is the only character who never appears in those passages of present-tense narration. The other characters do. She doesn't. Why would that be? There's one point very near the end of the book where she almost does. Inspector Bucket is coming into the house to collect Esther to go and look for Lady Dedlock, who's run away, and we hear that Esther is just coming -- but no, she's turned back and brought her cloak, so we don't quite see her. It's as if she's teasing us and saying, "You're going to see me; no, you're not."

Now, that's Dickens, at the height of his powers, playing around -- in ways that we would now call, I don't know, postmodern, ironic, self-referential, or something -- with the whole notion of narration, characterization, and so on. Yet, it doesn't matter. Those things are there for us to notice and to enjoy and to relish, if we have the taste for that sort of thing. But the events of Bleak House are so thrilling, so perplexing, so exciting that a mere recital of the events themselves is enough to carry a whole television adaptation, a whole play, a whole story. It's so much better with Dickens's narrative playfulness there, but it's pretty good without them.”


Everyman | 5 comments Jennifer (aka EM) wrote: " The second thing is that she is the only character who never appears in those passages of present-tense narration. The other characters do. She doesn't. "

That's a very interesting observation. I had never noticed it before. I'm not sure it's persuasive about Esther being the narrator of the "present tense" passages, but it adds to the question why Dickens chose this dual form of narration.


Wayne | 2 comments I have always LOVED these double narrations.

And one pragmatic reason is:
"How could one survive this huge novel if it was in Esther's voice alone?
Or alternatively endure the constant caustic humour and ironies of the Anonymous Omniscient One?
And how could Esther ever be made into an omniscient narrator? She would never be in that position unless she became the first Victorian Woman Journalist.
Small doses of each narrator makes them bearable , lovable, sad to leave and always welcomed.
It's a brilliant device.

What is also enjoyable is detecting when and where and if ever these two narrative streams start intersecting, impinging on each other, resonating and echoing.
As Jennnifer says, they are there to be enjoyed and relished.

As for the title, "Bleak House", and excuse me if this has already been mentioned, such a sad and dreary name for one's residence, but so apt when it refers to the whole court system and the whole society which is effected and drawn into murky depths because of its infectious corruption. Indeed, a Bleak World, a Bleak House was Merry England revealed to be in so many of Dicken's works.

And thanks for everyone's contributions which I have been greedily devouring from the sidelines.


Jennifer (aka EM) | 34 comments Mod
Wayne wrote: "As Jennnifer says, they are there to be enjoyed and relished."

Thanks for this, but that was actually part of Richard Pullman's quote! I can't take credit :-)

So glad you are enjoying the discussions, Wayne! I am too -- only wish I could comment more regularly on all the wonderful tidbits here!


Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) For an overview of life in Victorian times, see What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to Whist--the Facts of Daily Life in 19th-Century Englandby Daniel Pool. Not only a handy reference for reading any Victorian author, but a generally fun and interesting read.


Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) "Christian Ethics in Bleak House," by Karen Jahn,http://content.ebscohost.com/pdf25_26...

Source:
Studies in the Novel. Winter86, Vol. 18 Issue 4, p367. 14p.


Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) "Narrative Networks: Bleak House and the Affordances of Form"

http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail...

Detail

Authors:
Levine, Caroline
Source:
Novel: A Forum on Fiction. Fall2009, Vol. 42 Issue 3, p517-523. 7p.
Document Type:
Literary Criticism
Subject Terms:
*CRITICISM
*FICTION
*CHARACTERS & characteristics in literature
Reviews & Products:
BLEAK House (Book)
Abstract:
A literary criticism of the novel "Bleak House," by Charles Dickens, is presented. It explores what the long narrative is capable of accomplishing. It asserts that the novel is able to present vast social interconnection by the linking of characters through several elements including the law, disease, and family trees. An overview of the novel is also given.


Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) "John Jarndyce of Bleak House"

http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfvie...

Authors:
Goldfarb, Russell M.
Source:
Studies in the Novel. Summer80, Vol. 12 Issue 2, p144. 9p.
Document Type:
Literary Criticism
Subject Terms:
*CHARACTERS & characteristics in literature
*CRITICISM
Reviews & Products:
BLEAK House (Book)
Abstract:
Presents a critical analysis of the character John Jarndyce in Charles Dickens' novel 'Bleak House.' Complexity of the character; Influence of Jarndyce on two other characters in the novel; Survivor mentality of Jarndyce; Sentimental ending of the novel.
ISSN:
00393827
Accession Number:
7087127
Database:
Academic Search Premier


Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) "The Character of Esther and the Narrative Structure of Bleak House"

http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfvie...

Authors:
Frazee, John P.
Source:
Studies in the Novel. Fall85, Vol. 17 Issue 3, p227. 14p.
Document Type:
Literary Criticism
Subject Terms:
*CHARACTERS & characteristics in literature
*NARRATION (Rhetoric)
Reviews & Products:
BLEAK House (Book)
Abstract:
Critiques the art of characterization and narrative structure with reference to the 'Esther' in Charles Dickens's 'Bleakhouse.' Arguments surrounding the portrayal of the character 'Esther'; Subtle irony of Dickens's attitude toward Esther as narrator; Juxtaposition of the modes of narration; Interest of Dickens in the connections between childhood experience and adult personality; Rhetoric of the omniscient narrator.
ISSN:
00393827
Accession Number:
7118015
Database:
Academic Search Premier


Jennifer (aka EM) | 34 comments Mod
Mike wrote: "For an overview of life in Victorian times, see What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to Whist--the Facts of Daily Life in 19th-Century Englandby Daniel Pool. Not only a h..."

I've had this on my to-read list forEVER. (I actually moved it to the "who am I kidding?" pile!) Thanks for the reminder!

And thanks too for the rest of these amazing-looking links! I am excited to read them....


Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) Jennifer (aka EM) wrote: "Mike wrote: "For an overview of life in Victorian times, see What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to Whist--the Facts of Daily Life in 19th-Century Englandby Daniel Pool...."

Jennifer, You're most welcome. I enjoy contextual reading when exploring a literary work. As I was sucked into the novel and far exceeded our reading schedule, I thought I might do a bit of supplemental reading. *grin*


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