Bleak House

Bleak House

Book - 1991
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The complex story of a notorious law-suit in which love and inheritance are set against the classic urban background of 19th-century London, where fog on the river, seeping into the very bones of the characters, symbolizes the corruption of the legal system and the society which supports it.

"Jarndyce and Jarndyce" is an infamous lawsuit that has been in process for generations. Nobody can remember exactly how the case started but many different individuals have found their fortunes caught up in it. Esther Summerson watches as her friends and neighbours are consumed by their hopes and disappointments with the proceedings. But while the intricate puzzles of the lawsuit are being debated by lawyers, other more dramatic mysteries are unfolding that involve heartbreak, lost children, blackmail and murder.

The fog and cold that permeate Bleak House mirror a Victorian England mired in spiritual insolvency. Dickens brought all his passion, brilliance, and narrative verve to this huge novel of lives entangled in a multi-generational lawsuit--and through it, he achieved, at age 41, a stature almost Shakespearean.

Introduction by Barbara Hardy
Publisher: New York : A.A. Knopf, c1991
ISBN: 9780679405689
Branch Call Number: CLASSICS F DIC
Characteristics: xlix, 891 p. : ill. ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Browne, Hablot Knight 1815-1882


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Jul 09, 2018

My second reading. There are a few bleak things about Bleak House. The poor crossing sweeper boy, the horrible Tulkinghorn, the deaths...

I've read several Dickens works and Bleak House is on the top of my list, Jarndyce and Jarndyce notwithstanding.

Jan 14, 2018

The work is a classic. The story unfolds virtually seamlessly. The characters are introduced and then maintained throughout the narrative. They are all part of a cohesive whole. They all have a role to play, and are integral to the development of the story. I would have liked to read more about DC's European sojourn, but that is a minor complaint. DC is a great story, with great characters, well drawn, with each contributing his/her personalities to the overall picture of the book. If you haven't read it, read it. If you have, read it again.

Sep 24, 2015

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

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! :)

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.

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.


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.

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