Saturday, February 07, 2009

More Dickens

Today is the 531st birthday of Thomas Morus (Thomas More) and the 197th of Charles Dickens.

There'd be much to tell.

The first an interesting man, the second made my boyhood interesting.

That's why, as I am
presently re-reading a fascinating book and thus want to cut this post short, here's a bit more Dickens:
Lucy's Song

How beautiful at eventide
To see the twilight shadows pale,
Steal o'er the landscape, far and wide,
O'er stream and meadow, mound and dale!

How soft is Nature's calm repose
When ev'ning skies their cool dews weep:
The gentlest wind more gently blows,
As if to soothe her in her sleep!

The gay morn breaks,
Mists roll away,
All Nature awakes
To glorious day.
In my breast alone
Dark shadows remain;
The peace it has known
It can never regain.
Ah, the book I am reading: The Praise of Folly.
Erasmus of Rotterdam, by the way, dedicated it to the beheaded author of 'Utopia'.
So, chin up, Thomas.


  1. When I was a child our neighbor passed away bequeathing his tiny house to my father. He had it moved to our farm a half mile away. On hot afternoons I would play in this old house marveling at its old treasures. One day I climbed to the attic and found an unopened box.
    Inside was the complete works of Charles Dickens... never touched. They were illuminated texts bound in the softest leather, printed on onion skin - the pages tipped with real gold leaf. Even as a child I understood the immenseness of this find. Since my father's recent passing I have been attempting to locate these books to read again.

  2. Utopia and In Pariasse of Folly - two more books I have not read.

    At the moment I'm reading Varlam Shalamov's Kolyma Tales

  3. As a schoolgirl I was forced to read Dickens, more than a few, and did not appreciate him until some years later.

    A great delight for me is to hear his books read aloud, for he was such a good wordsmith.

  4. No one writes effervescent prose like Dickens .

  5. When I think abouy 'Utopia', Plato pops up in my mind, but he was not beheaded, right?.)

  6. Janice,
    what a find!
    So you have been the first to read this bibliophilic treasure?
    Fingers crossed that you will find and enjoy reading it a second time.

    The Folly of Praise at times is slightly a flawed reading pleasure, on the other hand it’s very interesting.
    Shalamov I haven’t read. Somehow, I think with the works of Lev Kopelev and Solshenizyn I have read enough about this topic.

    I remember that I had also to bring myself to struggle through his works, however finally I’d be pleased I did.

    Ha ha. I could not resist.

    such a superlative I’d not set; certainly he was a great author, though.

    Platon seems to have been a bit more lucky, indeed.

  7. Growing up French, I learned to read English at 27, through Dickens. I had to learn the language. I knew only two words: I do. And I had said them to a British-Irish who couldn't speak French.

    A friend told me about Dickens, warning that he was a "Victorian" hypocrite, having led a model family life with a wife and ten children, and a mistress on the side. My curiosity was instantly aroused. Reading him was a bit of a struggle at first, but it became satisfying. The melodrama can be quite gripping. The poor man had such a difficult life. His own fault perhaps? But still a great talent. 'Masterpiece Theatre' really brought Dickens to life.

    Happy Anniversary, Charlie. I owe you a lot...

  8. Claudia,
    only a couple of months ago I re-read his "Sketches by Boz" (German title: "Londoner Skizzen".
    In parts most interesting. Ever tried?

  9. Sean - I didn't. Now I will. Thank you!

  10. Hope you will enjoy the reading, Claude.