Category Archives: Charles Dickens

This Week In My Classes: Lots of Reading

It’s not so much that we are doing a lot of reading this week in particular, but that cumulatively by now, in both classes, we have done a lot of reading. I like this middle phase of term: the logistical confusion of the first couple of weeks is behind us, the frameworks for our class discussions […]

This Week In My Classes: Moving Right Along!

We seem to have passed that tipping point past which we hurtle towards the end of term. I feel as if it was only just the weekend, and tomorrow it will be Friday again! Happily, it will also be the Friday before a long weekend, which will give us all time to catch up, or […]

Weekend Reading: I laughed, I cried, I’d read it again!

And that was just the first book I read this weekend … I was right that David Copperfield not only gave me great pleasure while I was reading it but restored my flagging enthusiasm for reading more generally. I finished it over the weekend and loved almost every minute of it. The big setback for me is always […]

Saved by the Inimitable!

Judging from a few recent blog posts and twitter updates I’ve seen, a lot of us have fallen into reading slumps lately. I blame my own partly on a phase of duty reading: I was sampling books with an eye to assigning them for a course, which means a lot of them were books I […]

From the Archives: The Last Time I Taught Bleak House

For some reason this phrase has been running through my head to the tune of “The Last Time I Saw Paris.” I don’t know why I would be feeling nostalgic about teaching Bleak House, though it was rather a while ago–it was Fall 2008, to be precise. Because we’ve started work on it in my 19th-century […]

This Week in My Classes: Fun with Fiction

In Close Reading we have finished our poetry unit (yay, say the students–no more scansion!) and been working on short stories. The basic idea is the same: our focus is on paying attention to the various ‘technical’ elements in them, to see how they work to support the effects and ideas of the stories overall. The […]

This Week in My Classes: The Morals and the Stories

Though everyone is looking a bit peaked around the department these days–students and faculty alike–and I’m certainly feeling the usual pressures as we move into the term’s final phase, I am also finding myself intellectually invigorated by the novels we’re working through in all of my classes. It is just such a pleasure to be […]

Reading Around: Spinoza, Dickens, and … Ruxton?

Apparently Spinoza’s philosophical “stock” is rising: Another scientist who was passionately Spinozist (going so far as to write him a gushing poem) was Albert Einstein. In Spinoza’s conception of nature, he recognised intuitions matching his own, concerning the elusive unified field theory. Einstein also relied on Spinoza to get him out of trouble when queried […]

Read Better!

I admit, I have some sympathy with Hillary Kelly’s lament about the whole Oprah Does Dickens thing. I don’t share, or like, Kelly’s condescending assumption that Oprah’s readers are incapable of appreciating the novels, that they will have to “scramble about to decipher Dickens’s obscure dialectical styling and his long-lost euphemisms” or that “with no […]

Reading David Copperfield

‘Amateur Reader’ is doing a lovely series of posts on his reading of David Copperfield over at Wuthering Expectations. Up so far: I had seen it somewhere. But I could not remember where. – In David Copperfield, Dickens tames his prose. Dickens had reached a dead end, and he knew it.  Many of his most […]

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