Reading 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.”

This brilliant opening paragraph is from one of the best works of Charles Dickens – A Tale of Two Cities.

Charles Dicken’s writing is so strikingly special that his work has its own adjective – Dickensian. The stories brims with anticipation through brooding settings, plot twists and mysteries. This is what kept his audience wanting more. When first published more than a century ago, his stories were in the form of serials, they were released a few chapters at a time in literary journals, and only much later were printed as books. As the stories reached a wider audience, Dickens became quite popular, the cliffhangers and further revelations in the pieces were often widely discussed among readers. His characters exhibit the sheer absurdity of human behavior, and their names often personify traits and social positions. The protagonists were placed under backdrops that mimicked the society he lived in, the sordid working and living conditions of the lower class, and often his own experiences of hardships as a child when he worked in a factory. Though the story settings are grim, they shed a light on how his society’s most invisible people lived at that time.

Reading Dickens is often considered as the best of times for the readers while being the worst of times for his characters. Today, Dickensian often implies squalid working or living conditions. But to describe a novel as Dickensian is typically high praise, as it suggests a story in which true adventure and discovery occur in the most unexpected places.  


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5 Comments Add yours

  1. JT Twissel says:

    I love Dickens but he did inspire the modern day soap opera!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ken Dowell says:

    Also love to read Dickens. My favorite is Great Expectations.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Neha says:

      i haven’t had the chance to read the entire book yet, but obviously have heard so much about it

      Like

  3. I have always enjoyed reading Dickens. There have been many excellent movies made from his novels. I especially like Oliver Twist and enjoy watching different movie versions of A Christmas Carol at Christmas time.

    Thank you, Neha, for a superbly written article on Dickens. ❤ Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve been reading more Dickens in the past year, including The Pickwick Papers and The Old Curiosity Shop, but reading your post makes me think it’s time to re-visit A Tale of Two Cities. It’s been too many years since I’ve read it.

    Liked by 1 person

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