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Bleak House Week 2: There are chords in the human mind...

Ah, second week! Where we added to the exposition with more exposition, but also some things happened! Some of you are getting more invested, and also discovering the payoff of sticking with Dickens, because after you meet the first 50 characters, later you hear about one of them in a sideways sort of way and go "Oh! oh!!" and it's all very exciting.

So exciting

So Esther as a revision of Jane Eyre has been mentioned. And why not. It was published in 1847, Bleak House was published in 1852-3. The heroines have remarkably similar backgrounds. Sure, Dickens said he'd never read Jane Eyre, but I think we all know rule 1 is


In Lisa Jadwin's "'Caricatured, not faithfully rendered': Bleak House as a Revision of Jane Eyre," she says that between 1849 and 1853 "Dickens devoted considerable space in Household Words and in his letters to putting feminists in their domestic place."

I'm willing to grant that Dickens wrote Esther as a sort of answer to Jane Eyre, but I refuse to call her "his most notorious aesthetic failure."

Jadwin goes on something of a crusade against Dickens and also says that "Dickens recasts Brontë's opening chapters to demonstrate that what Jane perceives as abuse is simply benign and appropriate female conditioning."



Really? Really, Ms Jadwin? You think that Dickens was totally pro-Esther being told she was worthless and should never have been born? YEAH I COULD TOTALLY BUY THAT.

Esther and Jane take different paths, and yes, Jane's is more what can nowadays be termed 'feminist,' but Esther takes her psychological damage and, you know what, doesn't focus it all on a man. BOOM.

Now that THAT'S out of the way, let's discuss how much we love everyone. JO. Jo, Mr Snagsby is so kind to you for no reason other than being kind. And you cared about Nemo. And Mr Turveydrop and Harold Skimpole are so selfish and terrible. And CHARLEY. Oh Charley. And what's up with the passionate Hortense and why is England's relationship with France always hilarious and involve bare feet?

And have we noticed how Dickens is all 'THE ARISTOCRACY IS MOULDERING AND DECAYING' because rain + gout? But Sir Leicester and Lady Dedlock are for reals my favorite and he loves her so much and agghhh. I have many feelings on this score.

so cute

Also Dickens is hilarious and I feel like we forget that sometimes, aside from his amazing naming ability.
"Can we fly, my friends? We cannot. Why can we not fly, my friends?"
Mr. Snagsby, presuming on the success of his last point, ventures to observe in a cheerful and rather knowing tone, "No wings." But is immediately frowned down by Mrs. Snagsby.

We have met Miss Flite. We have met the Man from Shropshire (Gridley). We seem to have met most people connected with Chancery, and all through Esther. It's rather amazing how she keeps running into people she's connected with. WHAT IS KROOK UP TO. And how do we feel about Jobling? And what's going on with Richard? And does anyone else want a crusty twist, because I certainly do.

NEXT WEEK. Through chapter 32. Be there or be square, etc etc.


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