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Bleak House
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on 3 May 2016
Dickens's Bleak House reminds me of the paintings of the great Flemish painter Rubens, who can paint a picture with numerous persons in it but they are combined together with absolute beauty in each one of them and a perfect coherence among them. In Bleak House Dickens intertwines the lives of so many fictitious characters besides the protagonists' and he does that in such a way as to produce not only a very moving story with an even more moving end, but also through this novel he manages to bring to surface the big problem of contamination of Victorian, industrial London as well as the unjust legal system of the Court of Chancery in Victorian England, before the 1850s, decade in which the first changes in it took place. I had a great time reading it; it is A MUST for all admirers of Charles Dickens and this edition, the Norton Critical Edition, is the very best one because in it you can find all kinds of background information on the novel and academic articles of high quality which complete your understanding of the novel and of the era in which the story takes place.
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on 8 November 2017
For some reason I had never read this novel. I am now not surprised that many scholars consider it to be the greatest of all Dickens' novels. It has a myriad of characters: a complex plot; an impassioned attack upon the whole Chancery system; magnificent descriptive passages - and language which reached the heights of eloquence. Reading this book is a memorable experience!
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on 29 March 2018
Let me direct the beginning of my review to Amazon - Amazon, I love you; great products at a great price. But I cannot understand why reviews cannot be solely for the item listed. I rely on these things when I am purchasing an item because so many people have saved me money on items that were actually crap. It is discouraging to sort through hundreds of reviews when I want to find people's opinion on a specific item/brand/seller.

I am reviewing the DVD with Gillian Anderson, Charles Dance, etc - STELLAR! Cast, costumes, sets, script - everything - captured the essence of the novel amazingly well. I am still ploughing through the novel, mind you, but so far it is a faithful adaptation with only very minor changes which did not affect the story at all.
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on 10 February 2016
I read this book a few years back on paper and was completely enthralled throughout. (The kindle version is just to carry around with me on my travels.) It's Dickens, so be ready for long descriptive sections where he paints a scene without much of anything seeming to happen. But the way he does his descriptive writing! This was, I believe, one of his later works and you really see his mastery of the language coming through. I defy anyone to read the first chapter, set in a Court of Law on a murky autumn day, and not start to experience the lethargy, inertia and coseness of the atmosphere in the room.

If you've seen any of the TV versions (the most recent BBC version was exceptional), you probably know the story - sorry, those spoilers are going to ruin some of the twists and turns of the novel as Dickens presents them. But don't let that put you off. This is a masterpiece, very long but completely worth the effort.
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on 3 March 2014
I had been thoroughly put off Dickens by being made to read David Copperfield all through from begining to end in my first term at secondary school.
Recently, ie forty years later, a friend suggested that I should read Bleak House as a way into Dickens, and she was absolutely right.
I found the begining very atmospheric and felt drawn in, I found the lead character, Esther, a very pleasant companion and although some parts of the plot are a little odd (one of the minor characters spontaneously combusts!) the main thrust of it holds the attention.
Oh, I should mention that this is the novel about the famous case of Jarndyce v Jarndyce, the interminable suit in Chancery that fastens on the Jarndyce family like a greedy leach and sucks away their life blood. Dickens always protests about something, and in this novel the wrongs of legal delays and sharp lawyer's practice are to the fore.
And always, there is London, like a huge beast over which the characters move like insects on its back. Vividly portrayed, I really would pass on my friend's recommendation: if you feel your education is lacking because you have not read through any of Dicken's full length works, try this one.
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on 8 April 2018
Really enjoyable book. 740 pages so takes a while to read. Dickens captures society so well. The characters are still applicable to today's world. Lawyers protecting their own interests through exploiting their clients. Spongers living off the work of others. Individuals dedicating themselves to charitable causes. Individuals quietly getting on with earning their won living. The landed classes trying to protect their interests as they begin to come to terms with the changes facing society. Really good read.
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on 27 February 2016
I watched the BBC's Pride and Prejudice in 1995 and at that time thought that I would see no finer adaptation, production or acting. From that point in time, it was inconceivable that anything could better it. Well, I was premature in that conclusion! The BBC's Bleak House adaptation proved me wrong. I watched Bleak House when it was broadcast.in 2005. Even as I stand now, over ten years after its making, I'm blown away by its excellence in every way. It's just the most extraordinary thing. The uniform level of the acting and production. It's just the best. If you appreciate Dickens in any way at all, this is essential viewing. Surely, it's reference quality material for a whole generation of scholars.
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on 2 October 2014
I love any Dickens book so I'm not impartial. However, the plot twists and turns, and there is a modern resonance within the story with the illegitimate child. Esther sounds a lovely woman who is justly rewarded for her patience, forbearance and integrity. Her mother is a study in aloofness hiding a broken heart behind her high station. Solicitors are not treated kindly by Dickens! as is not the only French character. I found it an easy read after the first couple of chapters when I had really settled down to an uninterrupted read. One does need time to appreciate Dickens's language for though he uses everyday words it is the order and punctuation that is so satisfying. My personal prefence is for long sentences broken by suitable punctuation rather than staccato writing favoured by so many modern writers. Yes, I am old fashioned! I rather like a satisfying ending which is not necessarily a happy one for all concerned.
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on 27 February 2013
I downloaded this for a book group and would not otherwise have read it. Many people think it's wonderful ...I was delighted and interested to read Esther’s chapters but was frustrated whenever it went back to the present tense (which I dislike anyway) and the millions of characters with seriously silly names. A friend said that I’d really start enjoying it about 80% through and she was so right. At that point only the relevant people were left and the story came together. “Needs editing,” I was screaming; and if I had more moral fibre maybe I should go through it, for my own satisfaction, with a red pen.

But then there’s the words. There are some glorious paragraphs and I wish I’d noted them. I love it when he gives lists and lists of related things.
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on 25 May 2016
Devoured this in a couple of sittings; addictive viewing and very enjoyable. Only quibbles - 30 minutes seems overly short for an episode, as each one possesses real depth. Makes the experience a bit staccato. The ending I found slightly rushed; room for being more powerful if allowed to breathe a bit.

None of this takes away from how enjoyable and moving this production is. Completely lives up to the high reputation.
One person found this helpful
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