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Special Feature: Charles Dickens

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Special Feature: Charles Dickens

Postby briofthesilversea » Sep 27, 2009 4:50 pm

This special feature is for everyone to talk about one of the most popular classic authors: Charles Dickens! Some of his novels include Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, Bleak House, Great Expectations, and also a Christmas novel called A Christmas Carol. So, discuss away! :)



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Re: Special Feature: Charles Dickens

Postby ForeverFan » Sep 27, 2009 5:03 pm

Yay! A Charles Dickens SF! :D

I started reading Dickens about a year ago, with Hard Times. My favourite Dickens' though is Little Dorrit, and I'm currently re-reading it with my sister. Our Mutual Friend and Bleak House are runners up on my list of favourites, although all in all, I've enjoyed almost every one of his works that I've read.

I'm not sure if I really have a favourite mini-series adaptation of his work- Little Dorrit was alright, but for some reason I didn't find it as good as the book. Because the ending of the mini-series was changed slightly, I found it rather weak and very confusing. (Not confusing for myself per se, but for my family and friends.) I've seen different Dickens' versions, but none of them really stand out to me except for Bleak House, which I'd like to watch again soon. :)
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Re: Special Feature: Charles Dickens

Postby narnian1 » Sep 27, 2009 5:33 pm

I own three of his books:

Oliver Twist,
I was sort of confused with some portions of it.
I've only read it once but I did love the book, excellent.

A Tale of Two Cities,
with a classic opening line at the beginning. Yet I haven't read this one yet, even though I have had it for some years now. I started but was not retaining anything so I thought I'd wait for a later date.

Great Expectations,
I also have not read this book, and I have had it for just about the same amount of time. Never attempted, but I am hoping to get to it sometime.


A Christmas Carol,
never read the book but of course I know the story and simply love it.
I'd want to call it his best but how can I if I never read it? Based on the many movies though it has, I do love the story.

Nicholas Nickleby,
Never read the book in itself but I did see the movie version of it.
I wasn't totally intrigued by it either. But I think it was just the movie because from what I saw, the story did have promise.
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Re: Special Feature: Charles Dickens

Postby Kate » Sep 27, 2009 7:28 pm

I have only read one work by Dickens, his comedic and first work The Pickwick Papers. I didn't particularly like it all that much, but I think it was perhaps because I had a hard time catching the humor of a man who lived such a long time ago. It was still pretty funny in parts though. The main reason that I didn't like it was that it really dragged in parts. I also didn't feel all that drawn to any of the characters, though I liked them all ok.

I'd like to start one of his more serious pieces soon; I own a number of his works. I was leaning toward Great Expectations. What is the general consensus on that title?

I've seen a few adaptations of his works including the more recent Bleak House which was incredible and Nicholas Nickleby with James D'Arcy and Charles Dance. I really thought that Nicholas was a compelling main character.

I know that Dickens is a master of story and so I'm looking forward to checking out one of his works that allows him to capitalize on that more.

Does discussion of the new A Christmas Carol belong here? It's animated with Jim Carrey and looks rather far from the book and the trailer didn't even credit Charles Dickens at all. It has a good voice cast though...
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Re: Special Feature: Charles Dickens

Postby coracle » Sep 27, 2009 11:00 pm

Anything which is totally derivative and re-re-written may have lost something of the original ;) ... but it's great to be able to read the original books with Dickens' own words/comments/jokes.

I went through high school in the days when we had to read lots of books, plays, etc and we studied lots of Dickens. Then I did a degree in English, so I studied some more!

Now, let's see:

A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, Hard Times, Our Mutual Friend.

I have also read David Copperfield, The Pickwick Papers, and A Tale of Two Cities, and dipped into one or two others.

What did I like best? It's hard to say; there are likeable characters in most of the books. Perhaps Great Expecations remains a favourite across the years.
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Re: Special Feature: Charles Dickens

Postby lysander » Sep 27, 2009 11:29 pm

Dickens, like Shakespeare, is one of those writers who I've wanted to be a fan of since an absurdly young age. I think it was my love of the musical Oliver! that motivated me, because when I was four years old I goaded my grandmother to buy me a copy of Oliver Twist in a bookstore at the mall, before I even learned to read. I later took the book to my show-and-tell week at preschool, among other distinctly pretentious oddities. :ymblushing: When I was slightly older my dad read A Christmas Carol and Great Expectations aloud to me—only to find out at the last minute that the latter was abridged! :((

On my own, I've since read A Tale of Two Cities for school, reread A Christmas Carol, and just this year finished up David Copperfield. Tale I wasn't too pleased with, though undoubtedly some of that has to do with having it assigned for school. I do love the basic plot line (as is usual with Dickens), not to mention Sydney Carton and Miss Pross, but many of the other characters annoyed me and I didn't think all the subplots were tied together well. David Copperfield solicited a more positive reaction, although there were still some things about it that bothered me; for a more complete reaction, see my full review here.

My favorite so far, then, is A Christmas Carol (I do not count the abridged GE [-( ). Indeed, it ranks among my favorite books of all time. Even if you've seen play and movie versions, read the original. None of the adaptations contain Dickens' simply delicious description of the food market at Christmas. :D

As far as adaptations go, I've seen multiple versions of Oliver Twist (the musical and the '97 Disney production are probably my favorites, although I'm aware the latter in particular is very different from the book), all of the four major David Copperfields (my old favorite was the 2000 TNT miniseries, although I've not yet finished rewatching it), three Christmas Carols (Sim's is the best by far), and a really bad Great Expectations with a totally uncanonical ending. Pip finds Estella in the old house, dressed in Miss Havisham's old clothes, and, not wanting her to relive the old woman's life, tears all the curtains down. The declare their love for each other and run off into the sunset. ~x(

I really do hope to read some more Dickens next year. Either Oliver Twist or the unabridged Great Expectations are up next on my list.
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Re: Special Feature: Charles Dickens

Postby 220chrisTian » Sep 28, 2009 4:00 pm

Books: I own probably half a dozen Dickens novels but I've read only one of his books and it was an abridged version for high school students: Great Expectations. :( Of course, at the time I didn't even understand some of the words! :p I still remember learning "wizened" and "wittles" [and the correct pronunciation =))] from this book. B-) I most want to read David Copperfield, A Christmas Carol, and A Tale of Two Cities. :)

Movies: wow! I've seen Bleak House (2005), Oliver Twist (1999), Oliver! the musical (1968), Our Mutual Friend (1998), Great Expectations (1946, 1974, 1999), David Copperfield (1999), Mickey's A Christmas Carol (1983), and Martin Chuzzlewit (1994). I've also seen Wishbone episodes of Oliver Twist and A Tale of Two Cities. My favorite Great Expectations? The 1974 version. My favorite movie adaptations? Bleak House, Oliver!, and Our Mutual Friend. :)

Favorite characters? John Harmon and Bella Wilfer ;) , Esther Summerson, and Agnes Wickfield. I have a love/hate relationship with Pip. What does he see in Estella? :-\
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Re: Special Feature: Charles Dickens

Postby Silvertongue » Sep 28, 2009 4:57 pm

Books: I only own a couple...namely "Nicholas Nickleby" and "David Copperfield", but my sister and my parents own many of his others, which is how I got to reading them. ;) I have read (besides the two that I own), "Bleak House", "Oliver Twist", "Our Mutual Friend", and am half-way through "Little Dorrit"...I have a feeling that I'm forgetting one of his novels that I've read, but anywho...

Movies: I've seen "Bleak House" (2005), at LEAST 3 versions of Oliver Twist (my favorite being...I think it was the 1999 one...it has Michael Kitchen, Sophia Myles, and Keira Knightley in it...:D), "Our Mutual Friend" (BIG favorite of mine! :D), "Great Expectations" (I believe it's the 1999 version...whichever version that has Justine Waddell and Ioan whats-his-face :P), two versions of "David Copperfield", two versions of "A Tale of Two Cities", two versions of "Nicholas Nickleby" (my favorite would be the BBC version), one "Martin Chuzzlewit" (not sure which adaption...too lazy to look it up right now :P), the newest "Little Dorrit", and oh, oh! "Oliver & Company"! *nods* Not quite sure it counts, but it was a greeeeeeat favorite of mine when I was younger. ;)

My favorite of the books is kind of tied between "Our Mutual Friend", "Bleak House", and "Nicholas Nickleby" right now...though I AM more inclined towards "Our Mutual Friend"...it was my first Dickens (to read) and I love the movie! :D And, unlike all my Dickens' loving friends, I am a great "fan" of Mr. Eugene Rayburn! I don't quite get why nearly all my friends disliked him so much, and they can't understand why I like him. ;)

The only one of Dickens books, that I've read so far, that I didn't care for was "Oliver Twist". Not quite sure why...it rather bored me, which is really strange since I love the 1999 movie version! O_O Never thought I'd live to see the day where I like the movie better than the book. ;) I started to read "Great Expectations" and just could not get through it. The characters felt "weak" and uninteresting to me. So I watched the movie to see if that would help...it didn't! I didn't like the story at all! Pip felt so wimpy and Estella...I have to agree, 220chrisTian, what did he see in Estella?

The storyline in "Bleak House" fascinated me! The whole mystery surrounding the case! And the characters! Dickens' certainly had the knack in writing intriguing characters! I have to admit, I felt sorry for poor Mr. Guppy! :D And I didn't like Richard one single bit! :P
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Re: Special Feature: Charles Dickens

Postby 220chrisTian » Sep 28, 2009 5:09 pm

Silvertongue: it's Ioan Gruffudd [Welsh], pronounced "Griffith." ;) Hornblower... ;;)

Silvertongue wrote: The only one of Dickens books, that I've read so far, that I didn't care for was "Oliver Twist". Not quite sure why...it rather bored me, which is really strange since I love the 1999 movie version! O_O Never thought I'd live to see the day where I like the movie better than the book. ;)
I know! I loved the 1999 version. I thought the background story was really interesting. :) But I also liked the 1970s musical, especially that scene in the courtyard after he wakes up in his grandfather's home. :p
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Re: Special Feature: Charles Dickens

Postby Silvertongue » Sep 28, 2009 5:24 pm

Ah, yes, that's right Ioan Gruffudd...you'd think after ALL the Hornblower, Amazing Grace, AND Fantastic 4 I'd remember his name. ;)

Alot of my favorite scenes from the 1999 OT version were from the background story...though I LOVED Michael Kitchen as Mr. Brownlow!
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Re: Special Feature: Charles Dickens

Postby briofthesilversea » Sep 28, 2009 7:12 pm

So far I've read Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities, and A Christmas Carol. My sister is more of the Dickens fan, although I do love the way he writes, and his storylines are magnificent. I can't get over how incredibly talented he was.
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Re: Special Feature: Charles Dickens

Postby Glenstorm the Great » Sep 28, 2009 7:51 pm

I'm ashamed to say that I've only read one Dickens- Oliver Twist. I have all his books though and most of them are on my reading list (I'll read all of them eventually).
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Re: Special Feature: Charles Dickens

Postby NaiadWaker » Sep 29, 2009 2:47 pm

My favorite is A Christmas Carol. Truly a classic.
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Re: Special Feature: Charles Dickens

Postby Meltintalle » Sep 29, 2009 6:45 pm

I've read Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, David Copperfield and Bleak House. Of the three, Bleak House is my undisputed favourite. (I'd never read an abridged version, you see, and so could enjoy wondering what would happen next and the prose that took you from one event to the next.)

I wanted to like David Copperfield because I loved the abridged version I read when I was little and everyone knows that unabridged is better... except in this case, the abridged had all the good stuff already. :(
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Re: Special Feature: Charles Dickens

Postby lysander » Sep 29, 2009 10:19 pm

Mel wrote:I've read Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, David Copperfield and Bleak House. Of the three, Bleak House is my undisputed favourite.

I'm confused ... GE + OT + DC + BH = three Dickens books? :p But obviously I should be adding Bleak House to my reading list, since so many people here seem to like it. Of course, by those standards, I should be adding many books to my reading list. :p

Why do you like the '74 GE best, 200? It doesn't happen to have the ending I described, does it? I've been trying to discover which version I saw, but haven't figured anything out yet. And I can just see the VHS case in my head too....

For everyone who hasn't read A Christmas Carol yet, I seriously suggest you do so this holiday season. A bunch of us did a group read a couple years back, and it was most rewarding. :D
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Re: Special Feature: Charles Dickens

Postby 220chrisTian » Sep 30, 2009 11:09 am

lysander wrote:Why do you like the '74 GE best, 200? It doesn't happen to have the ending I described, does it? I've been trying to discover which version I saw, but haven't figured anything out yet. And I can just see the VHS case in my head too....
It's been awhile since I saw the '74 version, so I don't remember the ending. And I can't find information on it online. 8-| But for me at least, in the '99 version, Ioan Gruffudd just didn't fit as Pip. I think Justine Waddell played a fairly good Estella. At the same time, I've seen her in warmer roles, so it took some adjustment. I'm not sure she was "cold-hearted" enough. I think the '99 version captured the Victorian era perfectly. My problem was the casting of the two main roles, or at least of Pip. Oh, well. :p

FYI: it's 220, or 220CT. ;)
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