Autumn has come. And despite the proclivity to be angered by my weather talk, it is incumbent upon me to do so. In fact the sustained endeavour of this article suggests I might be reading another Dickens. If you would wish to expand your love of words than there is no greater starting point than Mr Charles Dickens. But before you mutter that my tone and words sound a might uppity, please be aware that Charles Dickens was not. His origins are from working class England and he is one of the great humanitarian writers of the English Language. Originally he wrote installments of work, little chapters that left you on cliffhangers. Anyway it was good because whilst most people were starving and books were are luxury (and still are) only for the rich his work was more accessible through the paper.
Victorian England was a bit of a ghastly time in terms of disease and poverty and the brutality of man. However, there were some cool inventions, like the electric telegraph, a time of electric madness really, with cars accessible to the rich, trains, the lightbulb– but that didn’t come around to replace those gas lamps on English streets until around 1879, and Dickens died in 1870, so electric lightbulbs are not a feature of his work when he describes the streets of London. Anyway it was pretty grim despite the fashionable nostalgia we may have for steampunk and ladies with lace umbrellas. We are talking about a time where child labour was rife, people died from common colds, and the majority of Londoners lived in abject poverty scraping out an existence. To the end of this century came the Industrial revolution with an expanding middle class and an ever-expanding working class. Anyhoo that’s a bit about the era, because Mr Dickens writes in his era. He is concerned with timeless ideas about the rights and dignity of humans, about the complexity and ridiculousness of the legal system, but he is a man of his time. Words are used to such incredible effect that one page might be used to describe the subtleties of a particular persons countenance. Or to explain the shifts and depths of thinking occuring under the surface of a pock-marked face.
Below is a ghastly Victorian sex toy. Not in popular use. She could use a good Dickens.
If I was to quote this to you, ‘it was the best of times, it was the worst of times…’ most people would recognise this as the beginning of someone’s novel, and if they had any inclination to Dickens they would recognise it as the beginnings to the current novel I am reading, ‘A tale of Two Cities’. But lovers, there is more to this sentence. And if you but hunted down this book, for no more than 3 dollars I am sure, (since there is always a profusion of Dickens in second-hand shops) you would see that this quote leads you into an incredible world, better than any 3D movie, better than any painting. He is the painter of people and places. I time travel when I read Dickens.
‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief,
it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter
of despair, we had everything before s, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the
other way–in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received,
for good or for evil, ion the superlative degree of comparison only.’
From the first page of Chapter one, page 9.
( This is actually a wind-up dildo
invented in the era of Dickens..so
I thought it appropriate to add and
might require it’s own blog me thinks)
So I say to you, read Dickens, fuck the thesauras. I say do not prolong your reading of his work. Be curious but not cautious.Dispense with the dictionary. Extend your inquisitive and adventurious perquisitions into the pages of Charlie. At least, so that when you are drunk you will be more memorable for the few words you say than for the jumble of incoherent twitter none cares to remember.