Bleak House – Another Unread Book On My Bookshelf


This evening’s post is another in my series of unread books on my bookshelf.  Tonight I’m going to talk about Charles Dickens’ Bleak House.  I purchased this book at the same time as I purchased The Aeneid, mentioned in this post.

I’m kind of iffy with my reading of Charles Dickens.  I read Great Expectations in college and really enjoyed the book.  Late in the summer last year, I began reading David Copperfield, as I detail in this post.  I began to tackle this work while on vacation, and while I was going through it at a really good pace, upon my return home, I found that I had lost my interest in the book.  I was a bit disappointed in that outcome, and have been debating ever since about whether to pick it up again or not.  With that experience with David Copperfield, I’ve been kind of hesitant to begin any sort of journey with Bleak House.

Of course, I purchased the Barnes and Noble version of this classic work, and here’s what the back of the book says:

Often considered Charles Dickens’s masterpiece, Bleak House blends together several literary genres-detective fiction, romance, melodrama, and satire-to create an unforgettable portrait of the decay and corruption at the heart of law and society in Victorian England.

Opening in the swirling mists of London, the novel revolves around a court case that has dragged on for decades-the infamous Jarndyce and Jarndyce lawsuit, in which an inheritance is gradually devoured by legal costs.  As Dickens takes us through the case’s history, he presents a cast of characters as idiosyncratic and memorable as any he ever created, including the beautiful lady Dedlock, who hides a shocking secret about an illegitimate child and a long-lost love; Mr. Bucket, one of the first detectives to appear in English fiction; and the hilarious Mrs. Jellyby, whose endless philanthropy has left her utterly unconcerned about her own family.  As a question of inheritance becomes a question of murder, the novel’s heroine, Esther Summerson, struggles to discover the truth about her birth and her unknown mother’s tragic life.  Can the resilience of her love transform a bleak house?  And-more devastatingly-will justice prevail?

Have you had this love-hate relationship with Charles Dickens?  Have you let your experience with one work of an author influence your decision to read another book by that person?

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About Jeremy

Husband, book lover, Civil War Buff. If I could read for a living I would, but unfortunately, it doesn't pay the bills!

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