Thursday, 26 January 2012

Caution-contains spoilers!

aagh- too much to do & say, too little time, what with work and life and Facebook and reading David Copperfield! Every spare moment over the last month has been absorbed by reading aforementioned DC. But I'm so glad I did, as I've never read it before. As I read, flashes came into my memory of a b&w film version I must have seen a very very long time ago- young DC up on a horse & cart next to "is willin'" Barkis. I also seem to remember crying over a BBC version as Dora died with her Doady by her bedside. But memory is fickle. I would have sworn Dora died early on in the story leaving David free to discover who he really ought to be married to for much of the novel. But its not like that at all. Dora dies towards the end and his second marriage seems short-changed, even though we've seen it coming for a very long time.

I'm glad I read this early in Dickens' bi-centenary year as it was so jolly and fast-moving and entertaining, despite the serious themes and extreme length. It has made me keen to read more. Just as well, as I have undertaken to assemble a reading group of Dickens' champions which will read 5 novels this year. We will meet to talk about them and share our thoughts on a website . So its The Old Curiosity Shop next which I don't think I know anything about, except isn't it the one in which Little Nell.....shhhhh.

Can't finish without mentioning Robert Burns' birthday yesterday. I was so pleased to read a Guardian column by Paul Kingsnorth [Gaurdian 25.1.12] comparing Robert Burns with Dorset poet William Barnes. This also took me back, to my own Dorset days and to digging out my "Selected Poems of WB, edited by Geoffrey Grigson". Tucked inside was a newspaper column dated 28.1.84- a comment piece by Roy Hattersley talking about Philip Larkin, and William Barnes ( & briefly Thos. Hardy and E.M. Forster). This column flagged up Barnes' extraordinary facility with language- knowing some of at least 60 and conversing regularly in Persian & Hindusthani with a local neighbour. Seems extraordinary in the Dorset I remember.

For those of you who don't know him, here's a link to enable you to download one of his collections for free.

So there we have it: I have read and remembered 3 extraordinarily energetic & influential writers this week- Robert Burns, William Barnes and Charles Dickens. I wonder who fits their mould today?

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