Wednesday 8 February 2012

Happy Belated Birthday, Mr. Dickens!

I have a difficult relationship with Charles Dickens. On the one hand, I find his work heavy going and often difficult, and I really really have to psyche myself up to face one of his novels, but on the other hand, the ones that I have stuck with have been incredibly rewarding and I have ended up loving them! It was the 200th anniversary of his birth yesterday, and I saw this survey on Jillian's blog and thought I should mark the occassion by filling it in, as it will be probably at least another 50 years before I'll have as good a reason to feel bad about the lack of Dickens reading I've done again. Hopefully by that point, I'll have read a lot more! Also, I just really enjoy surveys!

How were you first introduced to Charles Dickens?
In terms of knowing the stories, I had a tape of Oliver Twist when I was quite a young child - probably about seven or so. I also don't remember the first time I watched Oliver! (which I still persistently refer to as 'Oliver-exclamation-mark' so as not to get it confused with other, more serious film versions..), so it was probably before I was three, atlhough I know that I was completely unaware (somehow...) of pretty much all of the more sinister undertones until I was about ten or so. Yes, I was a deliberately oblivious child...

Which Charles Dickens novels and stories have you read? Which are your favorites?

 Not as many as I would like...Hard Times (after much debate and forcing myself through the incredibly boring first half of the book... eventually I loved it!), Great Expectations which was awesome, and A Christmas Carol which was even more awesome and so easy to read!

Which Charles Dickens novel(s) do you most want to read?

A Tale of Two Cities
Oliver Twist
Nicholas Nickleby
The Pickwick Papers - mostly because of the references to it in Little Women

What are your favorite Charles Dickens quotes (up to three)?

I am terribly, terribly bad at remembering quotes. I'm trying to start up some kind of system for marking the passages I really like again but so far I'm failing. Any tips are greatly appreciated!!

Who are your Top 3 favorite Dickens heroines? and why?

I don't think she counts as a heroine, but I kind of love Estella from Great Expectations, despite the fact that she's kind of a bitch..

Who are your Top 3 favorite Dickens heroes? and why?

Bob Cratchit!! Also Pip, but only off and on, when he's not being lame...and Fagin, although he's also not a hero, and I'm speaking here strictly of the Ron Moody 'I'm Reviewing the situation' Fagin. Currently I know no other...

Which three Dickens villains do you most love to hate?

Bill Sykes (again, as played by Oliver Reed in Oliver! He terrified me as a child... Still does, if I'm honest) and Miss Havisham although I'm not sure if she's strictly considered a villain. Clearly I'm not too good at this whole categorising of characters thing!

Which Dickens characters (up to three) do you find the most funny?
Funny isn't really a word I'd associate with Dickens from what I've read so far....

If you could authorize a new film adaptation of one of Dickens’s novels, which would it be and why?
To be honest I think any of them aside from Oliver Twist  and A Christmas Carol, as it would help the stories to become better known - especially with children.

If you could have lunch with Charles Dickens today, what question would you most like to ask him?

Why, oh why, did you die without writing down somewhere what your intentions were for the ending of The Mystery of Edwin Drood??

I'm scared to read it now because I know it will frustrate me not knowing how it ends!!
Have you ever read a Dickens biography or watched a biographical film about him?

Not yet, but I'd like to!
How many Dickens adaptations have you seen?

Oliver!, The Muppet Christmas Carol, A Christmas Carol (animated Jim Carrey version), a fairly awful animated version of A Tale of Two Cities, also Oliver! on stage in the West End.

Which Dickens adaptation is your favorite?

Oliver! In case you hadn't guessed from my pretty much continual mentioning of it.

Have you seen multiple versions of A Christmas Carol? Which version is your favorite?

The Muppets of course! Michael Caine is brilliant!

Who is your favorite Dickens villain and (if applicable) who does your favorite portrayal of them?

I don't really have a favourite portrayal yet...

Have you seen any musical adaptations of any of Dickens’ stories? If so, which is your favorite song from it?

Either I'd Do Anything or Oom-Pah-Pah from Oliver!

So this survey has made it abundantly clear that I really, desperately need to actually read Oliver Twist!! It's also clear that when it comes to Dickens I prefer the loud, musical and often irreverant versions to the by the book adaptations... I think I need to work on my levels of classiness.... :-/


  1. You want to read The Pickwick Papers for the same reason I do! :D

  2. That's amazing! :-) so glad I'm not the only one with that level of Little Women love!

  3. You've got a better relationship with Charles Dickens than I do.....I've only tried A Christmas Carol. I did like it, but I've never felt the urge to read any more of his work.

  4. I love/hate Dickens, so I completely understand. :) I actually started David Copperfield a few days ago and LOVE IT.

    And now I really need to read Pickwick Papers...

  5. Aww, I like this survey, it's cute :)

    I have a difficult relationship with him too - one of ultimate favourite books is by Dickens (A Christmas Carol) but I really struggled getting through Oliver Twist last year. I really want to read Great Expectations this year though :) Pretty much just because of the references in the Thursday Next books, but still :)