Bleak House

Bleak House

Book - 2002
Average Rating:
13
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Widely regarded as Dickens's masterpiece, Bleak House centers on the generations-long lawsuit Jarndyce and Jarndyce, through which "whole families have inherited legendary hatreds." Focusing on Esther Summerson, a ward of John Jarndyce, the novel traces Esther's romantic coming-of-age and, in classic Dickensian style, the gradual revelation of long-buried secrets, all set against the foggy backdrop of the Court of Chancery. Mixing romance, mystery, comedy, and satire, Bleak House limns the suffering caused by the intricate inefficiency of the law.

The text of this Modern Library Paperback Classic was set from the first single-volume edition, published by Bradbury & Evans in 1853, and reproduces thirty-nine of H. K. Browne's original illustrations for the book.
Publisher: New York : Modern Library, 2002
Edition: 2002 Modern Library paperback edition
ISBN: 9780375760051
0375760059
Branch Call Number: FICTION Dic
Characteristics: xxxv, 889 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Reading "Tale of Two Cities" in 10th grade made me gun-shy of Victorian novels for years. A common effect when a book is a "hafta read." I later retried Dickens' novels, starting with "Pickwick Papers," and was hooked. "Bleak House" has been called Dickens'... Read More »


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k
KTherese
Sep 24, 2015

I am reading all the Dickens (in order) this year and this is one of my favorites!

r
rswcove
Aug 01, 2015

I have trouble believing that anyone has ever finished this ponderous pendulous pile of detritus. The title is practically a perfect review. It is a bleak novel that spends thousands of pages trying to convince us the lawyers are evil monstrous people. Wow, challenging- I can't imagine that was a surprise even in Dickens' day. Dickens wrote in the newspaper in serialized format- he was paid by the word and it shows. This doesn't belong in the canon, it should be fired from a cannon- preferably into a volcano.

patienceandfortitude Jul 22, 2013

This book all comes together in a truly wonderful fashion at the end. It has all the wonders of good Dickens including humor and empathy for the poor. But it is the most anti-attorney book I've ever read. So lawyers beware! :)

2
221b_GreenPanda
Jan 24, 2013

Bleak House has long been considered one of Dickens' best works. Deservedly so. The intricate plot and vibrant characters make this a great work. Although the number of pages may seem daunting, it is well worth it.

j
jbaglieri
Jul 11, 2012

As with all Dicken's work that I've read, this book has survived for a reason. Filled with drama and intrigue, painted over the backdrop of an emerging industrial world being forced upon the resentful aristocracy. The only criticism I had was that it was a tad predictable. Never-the-less I fell in love with Esther Summerson and I'm sure you will too.

J.

melchep Feb 25, 2012

I have always loved Dickens but have never read bleak house and so am looking forward to this book. With many of the classics, you must make an investment of time and then wait and see. His work is not a not "plug and play."

I agree with the assessment that he is a pretty smart guy but the thing that stands out to me is the way he uses language. To my mind, some writers get the music of prose and some don't. To my mind, Dickens definitely has mad skills.

unreg_90079387 Jul 05, 2011

bleak, to say the least.

ColemanRidge Jul 01, 2011

Stay with it. It pays off big at the end.
Dickens sets up the characters and scene for five hundred pages or so, and then writes a two-hundred page fast-paced thriller, in which you are far more involved with the characters than in any conventional thriller. The scene - Chancery and its environs - is itself a character, a spirit of discord pervading all the other character's lives and the whole city of London.

i
illusions_court
Feb 10, 2011

Personally, I am a Dickens fan so anything he writes I generally like. However, Bleak House is my favorite of his novels and aside from the slower-than-modern pace that is characteristic of most of his novels I love all of the characters. Approach Bleak House as if it is a mystery novel and the manner in which Dickens weaves the numerous sub-plots together begins to look like a work of art. Great novel for any lover of classical literature

g
GailRoger
Jan 23, 2011

@22950006357453:
Dickens can be a challenge for modern readers. We are used to pithier fare. That said, if you compare Dickens to his contemporaries, you may discover that his style is remarkably modern, with a cutting, ironic wit many years ahead of his time.

Might I suggest tackling him with an audio-book version? Sometimes hearing a challenging book (particularly if it's well-read by the performer) is an entryway. I listen to audio-books while doing housework, or I download the CDs one at a time on to my iPod for listening on the bus. I don't drive, but I think most audio-book listeners enjoy hearing these while on the road.

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