Monday, August 22

What the Deuce is Dickens?

The ancient tower of a church, whose gruff old bell was always peeping slily down at Scrooge out of a Gothic window in the wall, became invisible, and struck the hours and quarters in the clouds, with tremulous vibrations afterwards, as if its teeth were chattering in its frozen head up there.


He lived in chambers which had once belonged to his deceased partner. They were a gloomy suite of rooms, in a lowering pile of building up a yard, where it had so little business to be, that one could scarcely help fancying it must have run there when it was a young house, playing at hide-and-seek with other houses, and have forgotten the way out again.

Stave One: Marley's Ghost, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, 1843.

These are two of the little wonderful Christmas delights Charles Dickens sewed throughout his story.  I listened to the audio book while I was going blind for the 40 Hour Famine, and when the narrator read these parts aloud, I just sat in silence warmly tingling with excitement. Charles Dickens is one of those marvelously underrated, quiet, witty men.  He has a great deal of things to point out, but though his wit is just as vibrant and glorious as other writers, it's many times more discreet, and sensitive, and vital and pulsating with the humanity of a wonderfully authentic person.  What he was like in real life, how the 'deuce' will we ever really know?  The glimpse of his being that peeps unabashedly out of his writing is as lovely a thing to get acquainted with. 


  1. The only book I've listened to being read out entirely as an audiobook was Kafka's The Metamorphosis and that, too, pretty much because the reader was Benedict Cumberbatch whose voice I have fallen in love with.

    I tend to have thoughts wander into my head when listening to audiobooks. That must be force of habit from zoning out in college lectures and long telephonic conversations and such like. :D So, I much prefer to read.

    But I wud like to listen to The Christmas Carol. It's been ages since I read it last!

    And Dickens, he had this incredible ability to be realistic about the lives of the working-classes he wrote about, while simultaneously writing some pretty fantastic endings for his books.

    My absolute favourite is A Tale of Two Cities followed by Great Expectations.

    Loved the post! :) After reading your blog, I really feel torn between wanting to go back and rediscover some books and wanting to go out and buy a new one and reading that!

  2. He is my absolute favourite author, he's just so quirky and talented!!! I love the bits that you chose to share, they reminded me why I love that book so much :)

    Oh and the weird ice-cream flavours I had were peanut-butter cups/marshmallow fudge/cheesecake on one (me and Joel shared two) and Dime bars/cherries/mint-syrup on the other. They were both really good!

  3. Oh wow! Benedict Cumberbatch doing an audio book? That is illegally fantastic! I would adore to read A Tall of Two Cities. For some reason, it just beckons! Have you read Hard Times? It's a more minor one, but I found in enthralling and very moving. 'Moving' is a cliched thing to say, but the only thing that says it right. Thanks for the comment! Gotta get reading, I think!

  4. Oh, he's done more than one. Check this out.

    He's read quite a bit of books, turns out. And I haven't read Hard Times but it's definitely going on my list now. :)

  5. Yes, I much prefer to read too. But woohoo to Benedict Cumberbatch. I followed that link by the way and listened to the first five minutes or so of Metamorphosis. What a great voice! He's a very good ready, quite like the narrator in my Narnia audio books. Thanks for that! That was great.

  6. Yeah, he's got a really rich sonorous voice..and a very cut-glass Harrows accent. This review I read of Sherlock had one reviewer describe his voice quite interestingly like that of 'a jaguar hiding inside a cello' and now every time I see him, I cant get rid of that mental image! :D

  7. Haha! Where did you hear that? I think I've heard that before, too, and it delighted me then, as well. What a great line! It's true, isn't it?

  8. I think it was in The Guardian or The Independent or some place like that, around when I was watching Sherlock for the first time. And yeah, what a perfectly imagined line! So true, too! :D


Please leave a comment to respond to my post or start a new conversation about whatever it is that you're passionate about.

If you don't have a Blogger or Google account, you can always leave an anonymous comment. Thankyou for taking the time!