Bleak House (Hardcover)

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Product Overview

Specifications

Publisher Penguin Group USA
Mfg Part# 9780141198354
SKU 224988322
Format Hardcover
ISBN10 0141198354
Release Date 11/16/2011
Author Info
Charles Dickens
In the words of George Orwell, "the strongest single impression one carries away" from the novels of Charles Dickens is "a hatred of tyranny"--a passion that began in Dickens's own early life. Son of a navy pay clerk, Dickens had an idyllic childhood until he was 12, when his improvident father was imprisoned for debt and young Charles was sent by his parents to work in a London blacking factory to raise money to pay off his father's creditors. He was there only a few months, but the experience left a harsh impression on him: he not only wrote frequently in his novels about oppressed and victimized children, but, after he became famous, was a tireless crusader against child labor and other social evils. In time, the young Dickens did return to school, and in his teens, he acquired a reader's ticket to the British Museum, where he educated himself further, reading Shakespeare and other classics. He became a law clerk and a shorthand reporter, and then began writing for various periodicals, becoming a successful and sought-after journalist. In 1833, he published his first short story, and his first full-length book, THE PICKWICK PAPERS, was published three years later, when he was 24--the same year he was married to Catherine Hogarth. As he and his wife began to produce children--10 in all--Dickens also produced literature, most of which was published serially, including OLIVER TWIST (1837), NICHOLAS NICKELBY (1839), and A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1843). He wrote according to a rigorous schedule (daily, between breakfast and luncheon), and from the 1840s on, he traveled widely, giving speeches and readings, and lived in Italy and in Paris briefly in the mid-1840s. His marriage was never a happy one; in 1858, he and his wife separated, and from that period until his death Dickens was romantically involved with the young actress Ellen Ternan. Among Dickens's later works are DAVID COPPERFIELD (1850), HARD TIMES (1854), and LITTLE DORRITT (1857), which drew on his own troubled childhood, as well as A TALE OF TWO CITIES (1859) and OUR MUTUAL FRIEND (1865). His last novel, a suspense tale, was THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD, left unfinished at his death in June, 1870, from a stroke that may have been brought on by his strenuous schedule of public appearances. Though he lived to be only 58, Dickens's output was prodigious and varied, both wildly comical and deadly serious, and he remains one of the most enduring and beloved writers in the canon of English literature.
Terry Eagleton is Warton Professor of English literature at the University of Oxford.
Praise
"In the realm of mystery stories there are four books which everyone should read. They are THE LODGER, MALICE AFORETHOUGHT, BLEAK HOUSE, and THE NINE TAILORS."
From the Publisher
Annotation The English legal system is the main object of Dickens's satire in BLEAK HOUSE, perhaps the first legal thriller, which centers on the interminable case of Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce as it makes its tortuous way over the generations through the Court of Chancery. The battle drags on, the litigants are ruined by the legal fees, and the case itself becomes so convoluted that no one--lawyers, judges, plaintiffs--even remembers entirely what is at stake. As Dickens takes us through the case's history, he creates his usual array of vividly realized comic, tragic, and satirical figures, from the corrupt lawyer, Tulkinghorn, to the pathetic crossing-sweeper, little Jo, to the clerk called Nemo, including characters with such wonderful monikers as Krook, Snagsby, Lord Doodle, and the perfectly named Lord and Lady Dedlock. As he does so often, Dickens shows us in BLEAK HOUSE--perhaps his most ambitious novel--that venality, corruption, and vanity have always been a part of human nature. Under the high comedy, he also shows us, very clearly, the anger and indignation these qualities roused in him, and his compassion for the helplessness of the poor in the face of a social and legal system that seems, at times, designed only to destroy them.
Editors Note Bleak House opens in the twilight of foggy London, where fog grips the city most densely in the Court of Chancery. The obscure case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce, in which an inheritance is gradually devoured by legal costs, the romance of Esther Summerson and the secrets of her origin, the sleuthing of Detective Inspector Bucket and the fate of Jo the crossing-sweeper, these are some of the lives Dickens invokes to portray London society, rich and poor, as no other novelist has done. Bleak House, in its atmosphere, symbolism and magnificent bleak comedy, is often regarded as the best of Dickens. A 'great Victorian novel', it is so inventive in its competing plots and styles that it eludes interpretation.
Product Attributes
eBooks Kobo
Book Format Hardcover
Minimum Age 18
Number of Pages 1088
Publisher Penguin Books

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