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David Copperfield
by Charles Dickens
Amazon.com:
Hugely admired by Tolstoy, David Copperfield is the novel that draws most closely from Charles Dickens's own life. Its eponymous hero, orphaned as a boy, grows up to discover love and happiness, heartbreak and sorrow amid a cast of eccentrics, innocents, and villains. Praising Dickens's power of invention, Somerset Maugham wrote: "There were never such people as the Micawbers, Peggotty and Barkis, Traddles, Betsey Trotwood and Mr. Dick, Uriah Heep and his mother. They are fantastic inventions of Dickens's exultant imagination... you can never quite forget them."
 
This Modern Library Paperback Classics edition includes a new Introduction by Pulitzer Prize finalist David Gates, in addition to new explanatory notes.

Topic: David Copperfield (23 of 47), Read 66 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) Date: Monday, February 26, 2001 09:03 AM I'm only partway through this one, but it has to be the most engaging and mind-blowing Dickens I've read. Almost surrealistic in its grimness, but always with that dark humor just underneath. And so potent a gallery of odd characters it's amazing they fit between two covers. Could anybody enlighten me about the business of the "caul" Davy was born with? I know it's an extra flap of skin, but apparently the family auctioned it off (?) as a talisman against death by drowning. Either that, or I misread this section badly. My reference books say zip on this; any daylight would be appreciated. Go, Dickens, Go! >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: David Copperfield (24 of 47), Read 61 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Monday, February 26, 2001 11:32 AM I know Dale, how amazing is this!!! IfI am standing here I hold my hand above my eyebrow thats Shakespeare. just by my tip of my nose...thats Dickens. He's the only one who seems at all near to Shakespeare. The characters! My god, at what ever level it is so easy to see that this writer is a people person. I love Peggotty how shes always busting buttons in her excitement and passion! And I cried when he came home for winter holidays and Peggotty and his mum and the baby had the night alone away from the creeps. My god, Uriah Heep is one thing, but those beats the Murdstones just oh it made me inconsolable what he felt when he sees his new family. Isn't it brilliant the open ended views of what makes a family!!! Dickens was way more liberal with what makes a 'family unit' than what we have seen as *family* to politicians and pop culture images of family now-a-days or at least up until 10 yrs ago. And to me, it is a stroke of brilliance all the names...the name changes and WHo IS David Copperfeild!!! His name is so many changed versions. And how delightful when we find out Peggottys first name is the same as his mothers. How frustrating to see the various people who use others....the Murdstones using and sucking the blood from Clara, and the waiter eating up Davids allowance... Page after page is just mind boggling his grasp on different people...and how important the kind gesture is. I also have laughed out loud at some of these characters and his descriptions sometimes start so serious and then boom a punch line the characters are walking humourous anecdotes...
Topic: David Copperfield (25 of 47), Read 64 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Monday, February 26, 2001 12:24 PM Dale, I think a caul is a bit of the amniotic sac, still clinging to the baby, and it was considered to be good luck. DC is a whopping good read, isn't it? Ruth “There ain’t no answer. There ain’t going to be any answer. There never has been an answer. That’s the answer.” Gertrude Stein
Topic: David Copperfield (26 of 47), Read 64 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2001 01:24 PM In days long past, a caul ( a thin membrane completely covering the face) would, now and then, be mistaken for a birth defect and the newborn would be smothered, usually at the hands of the maternal grandmother. But when recognized for what it was, simply a thin membrane, it was often considered an omen of special divine blessing, and would be preserved. My family is from a small town off the east coast of Italy across the Adriatic Sea from Greece. Stories in my family have been handed down through the generations. One such story involved an infant about to be smothered by my great grandmother, when the caul, luckily, slipped off. I know this particular caul was preserved. Beej
Topic: David Copperfield (27 of 47), Read 63 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2001 01:44 PM Beej: Wow! Now, there hangs a tale. Thanks for the great info. >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: David Copperfield (28 of 47), Read 65 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2001 02:06 PM Dale...having been born with this caul affected my great uncle throughout his entire life. He was esteemed as being one step beneath the angels specifically because of the caul..that's how great its divine blessing was regarded...unfortunately, he was a believer of his own publicity and an arrogant, self serving bastard who caused nothing but anguish for many. All because of the caul. Yes, there hangs quite a tale. Beej
Topic: David Copperfield (29 of 47), Read 61 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2001 02:09 PM What a story. So when are you writing this book, Beej? Ruth “There ain’t no answer. There ain’t going to be any answer. There never has been an answer. That’s the answer.” Gertrude Stein
Topic: David Copperfield (30 of 47), Read 60 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2001 02:22 PM Ruth, I have been blessed with a richness of such stories, each story passed from generation to generation to generation with ethereal, hauntingly beautiful feeling. I have written these stories, but only to give to my children so they might continue to relate them to their children, and their children to theirs,, on and on and on. Beej
Topic: David Copperfield (31 of 47), Read 57 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2001 02:32 PM That's very cool. I was terribly moved when David looks back on his mothers grave with the baby and sees his childhoods end there and that part of his life gone and ended. This again is so ahead of the theories we have now about transitions and ends of childhood. He really is remarkable. Notice how Uriah Heep is a red head! He seems so supernatural and clammy like death...
Topic: David Copperfield (32 of 47), Read 58 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2001 03:11 PM Beej, I do think you should write those stories up for others,too, either as a memoir, or turn them into a novel. What a richness! Ruth “There ain’t no answer. There ain’t going to be any answer. There never has been an answer. That’s the answer.” Gertrude Stein
Topic: David Copperfield (33 of 47), Read 58 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2001 03:38 PM Beej, How wonderful to have all that family history. My father's parents were immigrants who both died before he was even married, so we got no family history on that end. My mother's aunt wrote a family history in which she traced back her family to Rollo the Viking. When she got stuck, she reportedly just made things up, so it is difficult to know if there is any truth in it. The rest of them were too busy hiding the skeletons in the closet to hand much down. Your family traditions and stories sound very special to me. Ann
Topic: David Copperfield (34 of 47), Read 60 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2001 03:54 PM They do to me, too, Ann. I come from a background similar to Beej's, first-generation Italian. But my family tried so hard to become American, that many of the stories died with them. Ruth “There ain’t no answer. There ain’t going to be any answer. There never has been an answer. That’s the answer.” Gertrude Stein
Topic: David Copperfield (35 of 47), Read 38 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2001 05:20 PM Ann, Its the skeletons that make the best stories, I do believe. In fact, I am perfectly willing to tell you I had one great-great uncle (but not the one with the caul) who went to prison for killing somebody in a fist fight. (He was never the same after his release, and removed the doors from his house so the donkeys and chickens could wander at will in and out of his kitchen.) Ruth, my family was just the opposite and fought fiercely to hold onto their heritage. In fact, my sisters and I are the only family members who do not speak Italian fluently. Dale, I re-read the section on the caul and have a question. The caul was offered for sale twice, am I correct? The first time it didn't sell, but instead sold at auction 10 years later to an elderly woman. Was your take that his mother tried to sell it the first time, and does this not strike you as odd, considering what we know of her nature and attachment to David? Beej
Topic: David Copperfield (36 of 47), Read 36 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2001 05:35 PM I have decided this is the most perfect novel I have ever read. Perfect. Absolutely flawless. Beej
Topic: David Copperfield (37 of 47), Read 31 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Robert Armstrong (rla@nac.net) Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2001 07:27 PM Beej, I'm 75 pages in and so far it's flawless. Robt
Topic: David Copperfield (38 of 47), Read 29 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2001 07:36 PM I'm so glad you're enjoying DC, Beej and Robt. It's a whale of a novel, isn't it? Ruth “There ain’t no answer. There ain’t going to be any answer. There never has been an answer. That’s the answer.” Gertrude Stein
Topic: David Copperfield (39 of 47), Read 33 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2001 07:43 PM I get such a charge out of all the secondary characters. Its as if an entirely new story could be written around each one of them. Beej
Topic: David Copperfield (40 of 47), Read 29 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2001 08:04 PM Beej & All: That's mighty high praise for a novel, but I'm inclined to agree. I knew that Dickens was a genius at drawing characters, but if anybody had told me he could write a page-turner I'd have been mucho skeptical. Whichever writer/teacher (John Gardner, maybe?) said that good fiction technique lay in creating "a seamless and unbroken dream" was surely talking about DAVID COPPERFIELD. This is one of the most solid pieces of writing I've ever come across. You're right about the caul detail at the very beginning, too. It was auctioned, but the only bid was "two pounds, and the rest in sherry," so the item was withdrawn. It was the source of a community raffle 10 years later, and was won by a lady who lived to be 92. It does seem out of character that Davy's mother would have sold it, but a lot about that time period is a mystery to me. Hell of a novel, though. The characters...large to small, heroes to villains...are real to me. I can see them, and believe them. More later. Gotta get back to the book. (Who nominated this one, by the way? I owe them a sherry.) >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: David Copperfield (41 of 47), Read 27 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2001 08:16 PM "a seamless and unbroken dream"..incredibly well put. Dale, these characters sure do seem real. And even with the secondary characters the reader comes away with a feeling of almost a 'three dimensionality'..a feeling that these characters have a past and a future, unwritten about, but nevertheless, there. Beej
Topic: David Copperfield (42 of 47), Read 25 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2001 08:20 PM Hooray for Barkis and Pegotty! Ruth “There ain’t no answer. There ain’t going to be any answer. There never has been an answer. That’s the answer.” Gertrude Stein
Topic: David Copperfield (43 of 47), Read 25 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2001 09:26 PM Dale, you owe Sherry a sherry. I'll redeem it whenever you're ready. Sherry
Topic: David Copperfield (44 of 47), Read 23 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2001 09:57 PM I've probably said this before around here, but the great middle-aged revelation I experienced (10 years ago or so anyway) was that Dickens was so damned funny! And David Copperfield is one of the pluperfect examples of this. I simply don't have time right now to reread -- but this is absolutely, bar-none, one of the great books I've read in my entire life on any number of levels. But the particular thing that struck me about this book (and Oliver Twist too) was that there is a definite modern sensibility in the humor of it, that is simply not there in so many 19th century novels, and is absolutely absent (I beg to be contradicted with reading suggestions) in the 18th century or before. This modernity of the humor -- of the social commentary -- really interests me about Dickens and makes me believe it is one of the reasons he is regarded as such a great novelist. Dick In The 21st Century
Topic: David Copperfield (45 of 47), Read 24 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2001 10:00 PM I agree with you totally, Dick. I just cackled out loud on about page 550 about Traddle's hair. The man was an absolute genius at finding funny stuff in the mundane. And I just crack up every time I think of "Janet! Donkeys!" Sherry
Topic: David Copperfield (46 of 47), Read 25 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2001 10:11 PM Dick, I agree with you, too...some of his descriptions are simply delightful. Beej
Topic: David Copperfield (47 of 47), Read 12 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2001 12:13 AM The donkeys! Omigawd, I'd forgotten about the donkeys. Ruth “There ain’t no answer. There ain’t going to be any answer. There never has been an answer. That’s the answer.” Gertrude Stein
Topic: David Copperfield (48 of 51), Read 9 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2001 07:35 AM The intro to my book says Mr. Micawber grew out of Dicken's father, Dora out of his old sweetheart Maria Beadnell and Tommy Traddles out of his best friend Thomas Talfourd. I bet Mr. Talfourd had a problem with this 'stick-em-up' hair and its amusing to me that Dickens immortalized his best friend's hair problem. Beej
Topic: David Copperfield (49 of 51), Read 15 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2001 07:59 AM Dick, I have a good friend who is working on his Master's degree in 17th and 18th century literature and asked him about humor in pre 19th century novels. He mentioned JOSEPH ANDREWS by Henry Fielding. I'm trying my damnest to persuade this friend to come into CR...he would be in his glory here... but he is actually working on a double Master's in literature and says he doesn't have the time. I'll get him in here eventually. (He's also an expert on Faulkner...bordering on the fanatical about him.) Beej
Topic: David Copperfield (50 of 51), Read 8 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2001 08:38 AM Sherry! My hat's off to you for nominating this one. One sherry (lower case), redeemable anytime here in Birmingham and/or at CR 2001. Dick: I think you hit two nails on the head, with "so damned funny" and "modern sensibilities." This one keeps blowing me away. I love Aunt Betsey, the good proto-feminist{G}, who tries to train up her long string of protegees/housemaids as good male-haters, but they keep "marrying the baker" and forsaking her. And Betsey's dressing-down of the evil Murdstones over their treatment of David and his mom is a classic "feel-good" scene, for me. Can't remember when I've wanted so strongly to hug a character...Betsey and Mr. Dick both, in fact. Lord, what a story. Janet! The donkeys! >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: David Copperfield (51 of 51), Read 8 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2001 08:46 AM Dale, Have you gotten to the chapter entitled "Dora's Aunts" yet? I won't give too much away, but the description of these two little birdlike ladies, Miss Lavinia and Miss Clarissa, is just great! They remind me so much of the two sisters whose papa 'owned the recipe' on The Waltons, that I wonder if Earl Hamner 'stole' them from DC. (Sherry, what page are you on?) Beej
Topic: David Copperfield (52 of 58), Read 31 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2001 08:54 AM Beej: Dora's aunts haven't appeared yet. I got to page 275 last night (of the 923 in my Modern Library paperback, circa 1950). I hear what you're saying, though. It just dawned on me last night that I have known somebody like nearly all these characters. Oddballs though they be (because they be?) they're nonetheless overwhelmingly familiar and believable to me. Not a cardboard villain or hero in the lot of 'em. >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: David Copperfield (53 of 58), Read 30 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2001 10:27 AM The intensity with which we still react to Dicken's characters 150 years after the fact is interesting. I suspect that this has something to do with how closely we identify with our basic Anglo-American culture -- about which Dickens wrote. In that vein, I wonder if people not steeped in Anglo-American culture respond as strongly and as favorably to Dickens work as do we. Anyone know how the Japanese view Dickens? Or the Russians? Or the French? Dick In The 21st Century
Topic: David Copperfield (54 of 58), Read 29 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2001 10:39 AM Beej, I just turned the corner on p. 600 last night. My edition has a little over 800 pages. So I'm in the home stretch. I love the little bird-aunts too. They even pick up crumbs and bits of sugar in a pecking fashion (with their fingers, of course). I remember loving this when I read it about 25 years ago, and I was really looking forward to a reread. It's not disappointing me a bit. Sherry
Topic: David Copperfield (55 of 58), Read 36 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2001 10:44 AM Dick: Intriguing point, about the Anglo-American angle of Dickens. As old and comparatively formal as the writing is, the sentence constructions and the characters' thoughts seem as natural as breathing, to me. It also just occurred to me that I've run across some "obsolete" word usages (though none comes to mind, at present) that didn't faze me a whit because they were part of the everyday speech of my grandparents and great-grandparents (Scots/Irish/Anglo) and are in my earliest memories. It would indeed be interesting to know how/if this Zeitgeist (gee, had they even invented Zeitgeists, back then?{G}) translates to totally different cultures. >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: David Copperfield (56 of 58), Read 28 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2001 11:27 AM "...characters swarm and life flows into every creek and cranny, some common feeling -youth, gaiety, hope- envelops the tumult, brings the scattered parts together, and invests the most perfect of all Dicken's novels with an atmosphere of beauty." Virginia Woolf (on David Copperfield)from an essay published in 1925. Beej
Topic: David Copperfield (57 of 58), Read 24 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2001 11:42 AM Dale, Since this has been around so long I wonder if we'd any clues as to how this was accepted by different cultures by finding out which languages it *wasn't* translated into? (I'd guess that it'd be very widely translated but I really haven't a clue. How does one find this out?) Bo
Topic: David Copperfield (58 of 58), Read 7 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2001 12:21 PM Bo: Good point. Dick is the Searchmaster Extraordinaire, here. Maybe he can figure out how to do that. In the meantime, I determined with a quick search that the online forum "The Charles Dickens Society" has a branch in Kobe, Japan. >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: David Copperfield (59 of 64), Read 18 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2001 02:51 PM I've really enjoyed all of your notes. I've been busy with tests and grades (we only have 8 week sessions), so I'll be late joining you in the discussion. Hopefully I'll be ready in 10 days or so. I hope the discussion will still be going strong by then. Ann
Topic: David Copperfield (60 of 64), Read 19 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: David Moody (davidmoody@prodigy.net) Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2001 03:26 PM Without putting in too much time on this, I found translations of David Copperfield in: Arabic, Armenian, Basque, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Gaelic, Georgian, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Lettish, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Rumanian, Russian, Serbo-Croatian (both Roman and Cyrillic alphabets), Slovenian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tigrinya, Ukrainian, Yiddish There are undoubtedly others. Richard Armour mentions an 80-volume absorbent edition... David
Topic: David Copperfield (61 of 64), Read 19 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2001 03:30 PM David: Amazing! Pardon my ignorance, but... This "absorbent edition"...it isn't, like, printed on Charmin or something, is it? >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: David Copperfield (62 of 64), Read 21 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2001 03:39 PM Oh, my! Can you just imagine Aunt Betsey in Yiddish? Ann, I was wondering where you were... Beej
Topic: David Copperfield (63 of 64), Read 13 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2001 06:16 PM Ann- I'm tickled you'll be joining late, as I'm in the same boat. I had decided not to go for a re-read, but after reading the posts, I decided to go for the gold. Let's see.... if I read 425 pages tonight, and 425 pages tomorrow night, I'll only be two days late to the discussion. What a joy this book is! I've laughed out loud several times. RE: the caul - apparently, they were considered talismans against drowning (or drowndeading, as Mr. Peggotty says) at sea. The old lady proved its effectiveness when she died at 92 in her own bed. No meandering or drowning for her.:-) I've always loved the way Dickens matches names to his characters. "Murdstone" makes me think of a cold, unfeeling murderer. I enjoyed the contrast between the formidable Aunt Betsy and the steely Miss Murdstone. Aunt Betsy has warmth, movement and vibrancy in her manner (remember that bonnet swinging from her arm?) and Miss Murdstone is a stolid, motionless rock. Even her hobby reflects cold strength - stringing steel beads. Only 375 more pages for tonight...........
Topic: David Copperfield (64 of 64), Read 3 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2001 07:24 PM I'm only in the beginning of the book too. Too many things encroaching on my reading time. I figured David'd find some of these translation. My observation is that it does seem to be pretty Western-oriented. We have Japanese, Chinese and Korean but no Thai, Vietnamese, etc. Bo
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (65 of 68), Read 9 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Trudy Ward (biblolphelia1@aol.com) Date: Thursday, March 01, 2001 08:01 PM Why do you think Dickens wrote this book? I have my thoughts on the subject but just wondered what ideas others might have.
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (66 of 68), Read 10 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Thursday, March 01, 2001 08:06 PM This is not a smart remark: I thought he did it for the money. Dick In The 21st Century
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (67 of 68), Read 9 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Thursday, March 01, 2001 08:15 PM Oh, Dick... Trudy, I'd like to hear your thoughts on this. (though, come to think of it, money is usually a BIG motivator.) Beej
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (68 of 68), Read 5 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Pres Lancaster (plancast@neteze.com) Date: Thursday, March 01, 2001 08:27 PM I have never read that Dickens wrote anything other than for the money. On the other hand, the things he "wrote from his heart" were his most successful, money-making ? products ? works ? creations ? I fervently believe that his place and power are due to his "living" his texts, mostly in reality, sometimes in "real" imagination. FRUMIOUS BANDERSNATCH, FRIEND OF OGDRED WEARY
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (70 of 86), Read 39 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Trudy Ward (biblolphelia1@aol.com) Date: Thursday, March 01, 2001 10:40 PM I am sure that Dickens did write books for the money. But, my question is, why did he write this particular book. He was popular by the time he wrote it and could probably have sold anything he wrote. Because he was writing in installments more was better than less. But, why this subject, why these characters, why the internal monolog?
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (71 of 86), Read 36 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) Date: Friday, March 02, 2001 09:02 AM Trudy: From what I understand, DAVID COPPERFIELD is the most autobiographical novel Dickens wrote, and his own personal favorite. I think I read somewhere that he had written pieces of a traditional memoir off and on, was not satisfied with them, and finally turned to this novel to tell his story, even though the elements and characters are switched around a great deal. After DC was written, he apparently felt no need for an autobiography. I also read a critic who said DC is Dickens' most lasting and enjoyable work because, of all his novels, it isn't topical and has no political agenda, factors that many feel weakened his other books. >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (72 of 86), Read 36 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Robert Armstrong (rla@nac.net) Date: Friday, March 02, 2001 09:11 AM The Murdstones are Dursley prototypes, of the Harry Potter series, don't you think? There's even alliteration in the names. Robt
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (73 of 86), Read 30 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Trudy Ward (biblolphelia1@aol.com) Date: Friday, March 02, 2001 01:10 PM Dale, While I agree that DC is his most autobiographical work and that it is not particularly political,I do think that Dickens had an agenda. He believes that hard work and good moral principles are the best guides to a good life. And DC, the character, is the embodiment of those ideas. While he does not over-congratulate himself on achieving these ideals (always giving much credit to Agnes, Aunt Betsy, Peggarty,Mr. Peggarty, etc.), he expects each individual to take charge and direct his life to a higher plane. These ideals are echoed in Great Expectations and Oliver Twist, tales of young orphan boys thrown upon their own devices and the mercy or malignancy of others. He is, nevertheless, vary generous to those who take the easier way, finding reasons, for both Steerforth's degeneracy and even Uriah Heep's unctuous evil, in the poor influences that molded their behavior. I believe that Dickens is telling his story but that he is also offering it as a guide to others.
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (74 of 86), Read 33 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) Date: Friday, March 02, 2001 01:25 PM Trudy: Very good point. I agree that Dickens is communicating those virtues you mention. It's just that they're hidden so darn well in such an effective story that they don't stick out. More power to him. Speaking of communicating virtues, I had an out-of-town drive yesterday and my radio dial came across a Christian fundamentalist station that was presenting a drama series for children. They made NO attempt to hide the moral of the story. In fact, the announcer began with a voice-over for any young louts who might miss the sledge-hammer "point": "This story is about... THE... MIRACLE... OF... A... CHANGED... LIFE!!!" This was accompanied by (I kid you not) an old-fashioned pipe organ crescendo and an echo chamber (!) for the punch-line. I almost lost my french fries. The first 60 seconds of the actual "play" was so insulting and irritating I had to switch stations. I'm sure the producers are patting themselves on the back, but any self-respecting kid would run from that crap to anything, even Eminem, and I wouldn't blame 'em. >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (75 of 86), Read 25 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Friday, March 02, 2001 03:15 PM I'm only a third of the way through, but what has struck me is how tolerant, naive, and optimistic David is of all he meets. That says a lot for the power of love in a difficult life. And yet, I have no doubt others would grow up cynical. As I was reading the synopsis of A Walk on the Wild Side by Nelson Algren, I was struck by this paragraph, "The book asks why lost people sometimes develop into greater human beings than those who have never been lost in their whole lives. Why men who have suffered at the hands of other men are the natural believers in humanity, while those whose part has been simply to acquire, to take all and give nothing, are the most contemptuous of mankind." He could be describing David and Steelforth.
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (76 of 86), Read 26 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Friday, March 02, 2001 03:31 PM Can you imagine how Dickens' original readers must have anticipated the next installment of this book? It must have been the "Survivor" of its period, with folks chatting about characters, what's happening next, and applying best guesses to how characters are going to react. Dick - I think you are the one that described DC as a "page turner," and commented on its pre-Freudian psychological insights. Now there's a thought - Freud was inspired by Dickens. Ha!
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (77 of 86), Read 30 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) Date: Friday, March 02, 2001 05:56 PM Kay: Amen, as to how Dickens' contemporary readers must have anticipated the next installment of DAVID COPPERFIELD. If memory serves me, I've read that there were occasionally riots at bookstores when the periodical carrying his latest chapter was being delivered. The more rough-and-tumble readers rushing upon the delivery guy before he even got inside the store, etc. I can sure see why. >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (78 of 86), Read 29 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Friday, March 02, 2001 09:23 PM Probably akin to what happens today with the release of the latest Brittany Spears video. At least based on what seems to happen around here, with a teen-age boy underfoot. Dick In The 21st Century
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (79 of 86), Read 23 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Saturday, March 03, 2001 07:12 AM I finished. Oh my. This book is on my all-time best ten list. Probably right at the top. It's rare for a book to engage me to this extent; I felt I was in another world. The scenes are so clear, the people so real (even though they are quite stylized), that I would recognize them if I saw them today. And emotionally I was as engaged as was possible. I never felt he overdid the sentimentality, although I'm pretty tolerant of that kind of thing, and others may disagree. Later with specifics. Sherry
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (80 of 86), Read 20 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Saturday, March 03, 2001 11:22 AM Trudy- I'm intrigued by your comment regarding Dickens' ability to find reasons for Steerforth and Uriah being the way they are. He definitely provides the background for why they turn out the way they do. I think Dickens also provides for David's character as well. Though his early life was far more cruel, he was saved from a life of dissipation and cynicism because of the love and care he received from others. I find it interesting that the most influential people in his male characters' lives are women. Mrs. Heep is slimy and ambitious for her son. Mrs. Steerforth can see nothing BUT her son. Both use their sons to live their lives for them. Aunt Betsy and Peggotty are different in that they love David for himself. I enjoy the way Aunt Betsy is able to step back from him and allow David his own decisions. Peggotty, bless her, throws her heart into every hug she gives him and loves unconditionally. Agnes also has the gift of stepping back and seeing a person for himself. These observations are trite, I know, but I have to wonder if Dickens intentionally tried to demonstrate why some adults spend their lives lost and why others continue to grow and learn. I don't think Dickens wrote with that objective in mind, but it certainly provides fodder for 21st century parents. It's interesting to consider how we read and interpret DC compared to his original readers. I wonder if they spent much time analyzing characters, or if their focus was more on plot.
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (81 of 86), Read 21 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Saturday, March 03, 2001 11:31 AM I particularly enjoyed "My First Dissipation." Was it my imagination, or did the writing actually mimic the longerthanusualdeepthoughtsandanticsofbeing drunk? Ha! Another favorite chapter was the dinner party, with Hamlet's aunt. How I identified with DC's boredom while imprisoned in the power dinner shop talk. The contrast of Traddles' sincere desire to remain unobtrusive and humble with Uriah's struck me. I confess to emitting an "Ugh!" at the thought of Uriah marrying Agnes. My lips curled, and my body shuddered. What a writer!
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (82 of 86), Read 20 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Robert Armstrong (rla@nac.net) Date: Saturday, March 03, 2001 11:49 AM Peter (my partner) tells me that when he was a boy his mother had the frequent habit of spontaneously bursting out laughing while at home and exclaiming: "Barkas is willing!" Robt
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (83 of 86), Read 18 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Saturday, March 03, 2001 11:51 AM Sorry for the 3 in a row here. Question: Barristers try cases in superior courts. Solicitors try cases in lower courts. Are Proctors like paralegals, then, responsible for some research and the daily tasks of seeing to mundane details that keep a legal office rolling? Also: Obviously, Doctors aren't necessarily MD's. Are they the equivalent of PhD's? And what's the deal with being located in Doctor's Commons? Simply a matter of location? Burning questions, all.
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (84 of 86), Read 19 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) Date: Saturday, March 03, 2001 01:06 PM Sherry: I've got several hundred more pages yet to go, but I agree with you on this one. It's already joined my permanent Top 10 list. What a piece of work. >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (85 of 86), Read 21 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Saturday, March 03, 2001 01:12 PM I read DC (and Oliver T.)aloud to my kids when they were about 6 and 10. They loved it. It's just a great story. Ruth “Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book." -Marcus Tullius Cicero
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (89 of 89), Read 6 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) Date: Sunday, March 04, 2001 10:30 AM Because so much of Dickens' writing is in the formal/traditional style of his time period, I'm caught off guard to come across occasional really funky and dazzling things he does stylistically, without calling attention to themselves or breaking the flow of the story. Kay mentioned a chapter on David's getting drunk that's somewhat of a stylistic experiment; I'm not there yet, but I'm blown away by Chapter 18, "A Retrospect," when Dickens condenses some six years of David's life--his school years--into about six pages. He transitions to this condensation with the line, "...and hold me hovering above those days, in a half-sleeping and half-waking dream." Then, WHAM. The flow of events strikes me like an impressionist painting, fragmented and vivid, but the smoothness with which he handles the transitions through time boggles my mind. >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (86 of 101), Read 21 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Trudy Ward (biblolphelia1@aol.com) Date: Sunday, March 04, 2001 06:11 PM Kay, I think very few 19th C readers enjoyed Dickens for anything other than his great stories. And since psychology as we know it had not been "invented" yet, that was not a consideration. Nevertheless I do think that Dickens understood exactly what he was doing. "Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life...." I believe this opening sentence shows his intentions, a hero is a leader, a guide, a role model. While he meant for his stories to sell and entertain, he knew from the classics that he loved that writing was capable of much more. At that time the idea of instructing young minds was just coming into vogue. I am sure that he was aware that more often than not it was done poorly, as Dale pointed out about the story he heard on the radio. That Dickens could morally instruct without getting caught in the act is attributable to his genius. Trudy
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (91 of 101), Read 24 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Sunday, March 04, 2001 11:55 AM I hadn't thought about that, Dale, but you're right. I was comfortable with the transition because David had found a secure place in which to grow up. After all the previous turmoil and cruelty, his adolescence was a haven, and blended into a single sense of well being. As the reader, I was so relieved for him, that the condensing of years into 6 pages didn't bother me a whit.
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (92 of 101), Read 29 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) Date: Sunday, March 04, 2001 12:42 PM Kay: You've shed some light, for me, on why I think the fast-forwarded "Retrospect" chapter about Davy's adolescence works so well. With all the crap he took, growing up, who could begrudge him some halcyon years in secondary school? (Interesting inversion of the norm, though, isn't it? I think most of us felt relatively sheltered and cared for until we reached adolescence, and then all hell broke loose.) For a dramatist, though, the "good years" are not nearly as interesting as the nightmare ones, so he compresses them. The conventional way of doing that is through synopsis and authorial voice-over: This happened, then that happened, then... But Dickens, in a way that I still can't quite puzzle out, writes as if it's a single, extended scene. It's not until afterward, if then, that the reader realizes this "unbroken" scene covered about six years. If you haven't noticed {G}, I'm in flat-out awe of this guy's command of narrative technique. >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (93 of 101), Read 28 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Sunday, March 04, 2001 12:47 PM Dale, I loved that "Retrospect" chapter, too. Just the descriptions of his childish loves alone are priceless. It's such a cinematic approach. If it were a movie, the calendar pages would be flying by, but it works much better here, I think. It is a flawless segue into another part of his life. But you feel as if you know just what happened, even though it was tightly compressed. Sherry
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (94 of 101), Read 25 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) Date: Sunday, March 04, 2001 01:06 PM Sherry: Yes, the love scenes. His crushes on "older" women (meaning, in their 20s) really struck a chord with me. Damn them, to go off dancing with officers and marrying. Women really know how to hurt a guy. {G} >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (95 of 101), Read 28 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Sunday, March 04, 2001 01:21 PM Dickens writes with an 'evenness' that is remarkable. Almost any author seems to have fits and starts in the story -- where things happen too fast, or not fast enough. But Dickens always seems, to me anyway, just right. Dick In The 21st Century
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (96 of 101), Read 24 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Sunday, March 04, 2001 01:27 PM What amazes me about this book, is that there was no revision, or none to speak of. Just wham bam, off to press. My edition has a really good introduction (it should only be read afterwards) by David Gates. In it, he says in a much more vivid way, what I was talking about in one of my earlier posts: "If ever a writer puts words together to create in your mind something like virtual reality--a fictive world you could swear you're inhabiting, teeming with people you could swear you know--Dickens does it in David Copperfield." Isn't that the truth!? Sherry
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (97 of 101), Read 24 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) Date: Sunday, March 04, 2001 02:17 PM Sherry & Dick: Amen, to both your notes. "A remarkable evenness" and a feeling for the reader of "virtual reality." I can't think of another author with a surer sense of pacing. He's also great at walking the line between tragedy and comedy. Just when a situation is so sad and oppressive that you think you're going to have to take a break from the emotional tension, along comes a line like "Janet! The donkeys!" or "Barkis is willing." There's that release of laughter, and it frees up your heart to keep following the story and hurt some more. >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (98 of 101), Read 12 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Sunday, March 04, 2001 08:37 PM RE: Pacing Eddie and I were discussing this last night and our conclusion was that because it was written as a serial, he had to have that pacing--keeping up interest and important catchy things. He didn't have the luxury of going off on some tangent for 200 pages like some authors do with long books like this, because for all practical purposes it was structured by what he had to produce for the serial. The serial also takes a different kind of thinking and discipline. Sounds like he really had a knack for it. :) Bo
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (99 of 101), Read 12 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Sunday, March 04, 2001 08:45 PM I know psychology wasn't in use yet, but nevertheless, Dickens nailed the basics. That's one reason why he's so relevant today. As someone has already noted, I've met all his characters at one time or another in modern garb. His life lessons are obvious, but he writes them so well that I don't feel preached to at all.
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (100 of 101), Read 6 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Monday, March 05, 2001 07:13 AM David Gates, in his Introduction, talks about Dickens and women: "In Dickens's presentation of women, especially, he clearly felt constrained both as a Victorian Englishman in general and as Charles Dickens in particular. Nowadays you need either great sophistication or none at all to endure his heroines as they exhibit their virtue in unearthly patience and floribundant oration (Agnes, Annie Strong), or their sexuality in icky coquettishness (Dora, David's mother). I'm willing to think they played better back then than they do now, but if Shakespeare--and, earlier in Dickens's own century, Jane Austen--could write women who were smart, good, and sexy, what was up with the Inimitable? He writes best about damaged, dark, and dangerous women..." What do you all think about that, and how about that line "Nowadays you need either great sophistication or none at all to endure his heroines"? Sherry
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (101 of 101), Read 6 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) Date: Monday, March 05, 2001 08:06 AM Last night I read the "My First Dissipation" chapter. What a gem. What a hoot. He so well recreates the horror of over-imbibing that I woke up this morning with a headache in sympathy. Sherry: I think Gates doth protest too much about Dickens' difficulties for the "modern" reader. I've never claimed sophistication, but when I'm reading Victorian fiction at least I know I'm reading Victorian fiction and adjust my expectations accordingly. If I wanted to read about modern women, I'd have picked up a Nora Roberts. {G} (By the way, this isn't the same David Gates who used to be lead singer for the group Bread, is it?) >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (104 of 110), Read 34 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Monday, March 05, 2001 10:27 AM All I know is that he is the David Gates who wrote Preston Falls. Sherry
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (105 of 110), Read 35 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Monday, March 05, 2001 10:51 AM Sherry- I thought one of the most believable female characters so far (on p. 500) was Miss Mowcher. The contrast between her interaction with Steerforth and then David shows depth of character and gives insight into why she behaves as she does. We don't get that from the other females. They are beautifully and vividly described, but one dimensional, all the same. Miss Mowcher has an inner life. Otherwise, Dickens seems to write women as one of a category - saints (Agnes, Emily), idiots (his mother, Dora), meaner than hell/manipulative (Miss Mudstone, Mrs. Steerforth, Miss Dartle)or comic (Peggotty, Aunt Betsy, Mrs. Gummidge, Mrs. Crupp). However, that doesn't bother me in this novel, as they are all so lovingly drawn, and are bursting with truisms. There's no doubt as to whom we are to hate and whom we are to love. Like Dale, I accept that I'm reading a Victorian novel, and let that pass. It's interesting to consider how Dickens might have written DC for today's audience and publishers. Would he have been forced to develop more internal insight or would he have let his characters stand in favor of a great plot? Something makes me think I would enjoy a modern Dickens, but an extended explanation of motivations would change the tenor of the plot. I'll stay with the original.
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (106 of 110), Read 28 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ee Lin Kuan (eelin@althor.fsnet.co.uk) Date: Monday, March 05, 2001 05:24 PM Kay, I have to admit that David's naivete annoyed me initially. Of course, I understood that he was a child, but ... I did get just a little impatient with him. I really learned to like David when he became an adult. Maybe it's because he still kept his good nature, yet didn't let others step all over him. And I'm very glad he saw through Uriah from the beginning. It took me some time to warm to this book. I'd initially thought that Dickens was rather long-winded, but did realize that perhaps all 19th-century books were written in that style. The characters grew on me, and by the end of the book I enjoyed it very much, especially because everyone got his just desserts. The most emotional part for me was the scene between Dr Strong and his wife, when she finally explains the reason she has felt obliged to him. To be honest, I had also suspected that she was secretly in love with her cousin. So this revelation was a wonderful and emotional surprise. Ee Lin
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (107 of 110), Read 29 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Monday, March 05, 2001 05:47 PM This was a surprise to me, too, Ee Lin. Dickens set us up to think she had a thing going with her cousin. Remember those ribbons? I bet he may have changed his mind how this was going to end up. I really liked the epiphany David experienced about his "undisciplined heart" during this scene. Sherry
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (108 of 110), Read 27 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Robert Armstrong (rla@nac.net) Date: Monday, March 05, 2001 09:28 PM Oh, I'm so slow. I just said goodbye to the Murdstones. Don't continue to read my note if you haven't yet shaken the Murdstones. How satisfying to get rid of them. Isn't Aunt Betsey the best? Aren't the Murdstones deliciously loathsome? Sneering, veneered vampires. Self venerating respectability at its most hollow. The quintessence of cruelty. A dried up black heart in a box. I'm with you, Davy, all the way. Robt
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (109 of 110), Read 20 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Monday, March 05, 2001 10:43 PM I'm about 100 pages from the end and don't want to be finished. It's been ages since I've said that about a book. I'm hoping that I can find a good audiobook production of it and read it again. Yes, I was delighted that Dickens escaped the Murdstones and was taken in by Aunt Betsy, Robt. I'm trying to remember which book I read recently that made slightly disparaging remarks about Dickens' happy endings. Cider House Rules uses David Copperfield a lot, but I can't remember if that was it. Anyway, I love Dickens happy endings. It's oddly comforting to know that it will all work out. I was glad you noted the quality of the humor, Dick. I commented to my husband that Dickens can almost sound like a modern stand-up comic at some points, especially his political jabs. Did anyone know an answer to Kay's question about Proctors? I'm having a hard time figuring out their role as compared to our court system too. Barb
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (87 of 110), Read 13 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ernest Belden (drernest@pacbell.net) Date: Monday, March 05, 2001 11:28 PM I just now finished reading all the comments made so far and now I wonder if there is anything left for me to say? I do agree with most all you people have said (written). This book is indeed a page turner and when I first looked at its length I figured, well I will be reading until somewhere in 02, but it did not turn out that way. This will not be the case as I have only a bit more than 200 pages to go and it also keeps me from peeking at other books that I have laying around. I must have mentioned a hundred times my bad habit of looking at more than one book at a time plus 6 to 8 magazines and let's not forget the S.F. Chronicle. Well I am retired, the weather is horrible outside and what else is there to do? I don't watch soaps on TV and the amount of running around at this time of the year is limited. My boat may also be living in a dream world as it is too stormy to take her out and the harbor needs dredging. Well, what did I find in this book? Closeness, caring and love impresses me more than the viciousness of some of the characters. This brings me to a strange memory experience. I have no memory of having ever read this book before but still remember Dickens Xmas stories as one of the first things I ever read in my childhood. Now strangely enough I do remember the names and personalities of some, but not all of DC's characters. I vividly remember the Micawbers and Uriah Heep, etc. Perhaps I read parts of DC while in school or someone in the family read it to me. Well, have to agree with one more thing you people have been saying. Namely this book will remain one of the most previous books in my life. Now I have a question that puzzles the heck out of me. Some of the writing seems almost contemporary and the same is true of some of the expressions used. Was this book revised into modern English? David loves the girls and how can one hold that against him? David had a horrible childhood with his step father and step aunt. Yet he turned out to be all right, a genuinely good and decent person. Well he did find his wonderful aunt who rejected him at birth because he did not turn out to be a girl. But his aunt had excellent sense and understood David's fine qualities as did the maid. Well reading this book was a treat I shall never forget. Ernie
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (88 of 110), Read 11 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Tuesday, March 06, 2001 05:34 AM Ernie- Like you, I know I've read Uriah Heep and Dora before, but had lost the story line over the years. I remember them, simply because of my visceral reaction to them. Uriah is the inspiration for "making your skin crawl," and Dora inspires an intense desire to slap someone. Mr. and Miss Murdstone bring out my stubborn, rebellious side, and I can't wait for them to get theirs. :-) Ee Lin - I warmed to David right off. He did the best he could to survive a dismal situation, and my heart ached right along with his. What was it about him that bothered you?
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (110 of 110), Read 9 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Tuesday, March 06, 2001 06:26 AM This is a reply to Ernie's question about the modern sounding English. I don't think a word has been touched since Dickens sent in the manuscript to his publisher. I think the reason he is still so popular is his uncanny ability to span the ages. Towards the end of the book there's a paragraph about writing simply that I want to find. The book is upstairs right now. I'll look for it later today. Sherry
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (89 of 122), Read 20 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ee Lin Kuan (eelin@althor.fsnet.co.uk) Date: Tuesday, March 06, 2001 04:43 PM Kay, I guess I was just a little impatient that he kept being cheated by the waiter and by Steerforth. It's not his fault, I know that, he was so young. I just wish he wised up a little bit. But then, maybe, he would have become too cynical. Sherry, yes, I liked the epiphany, too, but I'd always known that Agnes was more a match for him than Dora. Do you think that it was too convenient that Dora died so young? Ee Lin
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (90 of 122), Read 22 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Tuesday, March 06, 2001 05:01 PM I do think it was a bit convenient, and from the little I've read, that is one of the complaints critics have. But I'm very willing to forgive Dickens. I wonder what she died of. Sherry
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (91 of 122), Read 19 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: David Moody (davidmoody@prodigy.net) Date: Tuesday, March 06, 2001 05:43 PM Sherry: I think she died of plot complications. But that type seems fated to fade early; didn't she remind you of Copperfield's mother? David
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (92 of 122), Read 19 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Tuesday, March 06, 2001 06:35 PM She was the same type as his mother, pretty, helpless, malleable (well, maybe Dora wasn't nearly as malleable as David would have liked). She seemed so absolutely stubborn in her helplessness. Sherry
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (93 of 122), Read 18 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Tuesday, March 06, 2001 06:49 PM Absolutely, David. "Plot complications," indeed. Good one! Let's not forget our dear, dear yipper friend, Jip. DC's comment that he wished "...that Jip had never been encouraged to walk about the tablecloth during dinner" has to be THE understatement of the whole book. Jip spends his time "tumbling over its own growls." He has only one trick - to lie down on the table "like a lion, ... though I cannot say the likeness was striking." This is a so poorly behaved dog that he has to be trussed in the plate warmer to keep him quiet. This is a dog with a Napoleon complex that HAS to go. David expresses his dislike without ever actually saying so. Like the butcher's dog Jip encounters, I wanted to "have taken him like a pill" and been done with the annoying critter. Actually, I'm not sure who annoyed me more - Dora or Jip. I felt for David when he was trying to cope with Dora's unwillingness to deal with the hired help. Paragon was really a case. "We should have been at her mercy, if she had had any." HA! How on earth could any thinking man be attracted to a woman who feels that "reasoning is worse than scolding?" I guess David was trying to re-create his mother, but even she wasn't as much of a boob as Dora. His frustration reaches a peak when he's pacing, "...full of love for my pretty wife, and distracted by self-accusatory inclinations to knock my head against the door." Double "HA!" Unlike Aunt Betsy, who looks at "the qualities she has, and not by the qualities she may not have," I cannot get past my desire to slap some sense into Little Blossom's ringlet tossed empty head. Did Dickens want us to feel this way, or was he trying to get us to see her good qualities, and like her for what she was? She's the kind of woman that makes me want to run screaming from the room.
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (94 of 122), Read 17 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Tuesday, March 06, 2001 07:09 PM Me too, Kay, me too. Every time I've read DC I've wanted to knock the D&D heads together. Hers for being such a ninny. His for putting up with it. Ruth “Times are bad.Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book." - Marcus Tullius Cicero
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (95 of 122), Read 18 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Tuesday, March 06, 2001 07:18 PM Thanks, Ruth. I knew I could count on you. We'll be charter members of the NTFN (No Tolerance For Ninnies) activist group. Who else wants to join? David is a youthful, temporary idiot in love, but he's not a ninny. I give him credit for realizing his mistake, and trying to make the best of it. WHY are intelligent men pulled into such relationships? Oh yeah - To Sex and Protect.
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (96 of 122), Read 16 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ernest Belden (drernest@pacbell.net) Date: Tuesday, March 06, 2001 11:42 PM Kay, David was neither experienced nor sophisticated when it came to women and did not have sense enough to project himself into a long term relationship with an empty headed female. Dora being opposed to reason, well what's wrong with that - if you don't have any brains to speak of and just can't reason on your own. Frankly I have seen people, both male and females like that. Other's may call David self-destructive rather than naive, but I just don't know. He shows good sense much of the time. He is a type I would really enjoy meeting and that may turn into a long term friendship. Ernie
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (97 of 122), Read 17 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ernest Belden (drernest@pacbell.net) Date: Tuesday, March 06, 2001 11:47 PM Sherry, If we were to compare George Eliot's style of wring with Charles Dickens who would come out on top? I recall having some difficulties with the former and believe her use of language does not come close to that of CD. Ernie
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (98 of 122), Read 15 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Wednesday, March 07, 2001 07:53 AM Ernie- I agree. David is a top notch fellow, and I'd like to know him. I know he was young, and if I were his Aunt Betsy, I'd be pacing the floor endlessly as well. "Can't he see this is the girlfriend from hell?!" But then, all I'd hear would be, "You just don't understand our kind of love, you Old Fogey, you." :-)
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (121 of 122), Read 18 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ernest Belden (drernest@pacbell.net) Date: Tuesday, March 06, 2001 11:22 PM Sherry, Thank you for your explanation and going through all the trouble of looking for a quote by Dickens. Take care, Ernie
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (122 of 122), Read 17 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Wednesday, March 07, 2001 07:39 AM It wasn't much trouble, Ernie. I remember that I had marked it. It's on p.700 of the Modern Library edition. It starts about being about Mr. Micawber's wordiness: Again, Mr. Micawber had a relish in this formal piling up of words, which, however ludicrously displayed in his case, was, I must say, not at all peculiar to him. I have observed it, in the course of my life, in numbers of men. It seems to me to be a general rule. In the taking of legal oaths, for instance, deponents seem to enjoy themselves mightily when they come to several good words in succession, for the expression of one idea; as, that they utterly detest, abominate, and abjure, or so forth; and the old anathemas were made relishing on the same principle. We talk about the tyranny of words, but we like to tyrannise over them too; we are fond of having a large superfluous establishment of words to wait upon us on great occasions; we think it looks important, and sounds well. As we are not particular about the meaning of our liveries on state occasions, if they be but fine and numerous enough, so, the meaning or necessity of our words is a secondary consideration, if there be but a great parade of them. And as individuals get into trouble by making too great a show of liveries, or as slaves when they are too numerous rise against their masters, so I think could mention a nation that has got into many great difficulties, and will get into many greater, from maintaining too large a retinue of words. Sherry
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (99 of 140), Read 17 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ee Lin Kuan (eelin@althor.fsnet.co.uk) Date: Thursday, March 08, 2001 12:51 PM Kay and Ruth, I guess, Dora was your favourite character, then? :-) A comment about Dora. Despite her seeming childishness, she could be quite perceptive. The reason I say this is because she knew that she was very child-like and she pointed this out to David to let him know that she would never be able to change despite anything anyone might try. She also foresaw that if she had lived to an old age, eventually David might have become dissatisfied with the marriage. Finally, she, like Aunt Betsey, also knew that Agnes was a good match for David. Aren't most of the characters in this story either good or bad, even the male characters? Uriah, Mr Limiter and the Murdstones were definitely "bad" characters from the get-go, and all the others were good at heart despite their eccentricities. Steerforth is the only one who is just a bit more ambiguous than the rest. Maybe it's because all the characters are viewed through David's eyes, and he only sees them as good or bad. The only ambivalence is regarding Steerforth, and David himself worshipped him until the tragedy with Emily. Ee Lin
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (100 of 140), Read 20 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Thursday, March 08, 2001 01:02 PM When I was in college, Steerforth was alive and well on fraternity row. Ruth “Times are bad.Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book." - Marcus Tullius Cicero
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (101 of 140), Read 19 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) Date: Thursday, March 08, 2001 01:31 PM Ruth: Steerforth as frat boy? Wow! I think you knocked that one out of the park, for sure. What a prototype he is. Brings back very unpleasant memories of my college years, as I was a member of the out-crowd from day one. Question: do you think Davy's deprived upbringing made him particularly vulnerable to a Steerforth, or did the guy just have that effect on people in general? Despite Steerforth's occasional cryptic self-maligning to Davy (I'm still only halfway through the book), he always seemed to be at the center of a worshipful crowd. >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (102 of 140), Read 18 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@starband.net) Date: Thursday, March 08, 2001 01:32 PM I think Dickens' portrayal of Steerforth was one of the best parts of the book. WE knew from the getgo that he was trouble, but David, being so naive and worshipful just couldn't see it. Sherry
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (127 of 140), Read 21 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Thursday, March 08, 2001 01:36 PM Just swinging the queue over to the left. The Steerforths of the world have great charm. Until you scratch the veneer. Davy just wasn't very perceptive about people, was he? Ruth, another member of the out crowd “Times are bad.Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book." - Marcus Tullius Cicero
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (128 of 140), Read 20 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@starband.net) Date: Thursday, March 08, 2001 01:37 PM Last time we swung it to the left, it didn't stay there very long. Sherry
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (129 of 140), Read 20 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Thursday, March 08, 2001 01:40 PM The discussion's too good, and the heading is too long. Ruth “Times are bad.Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book." - Marcus Tullius Cicero
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (130 of 140), Read 19 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) Date: Thursday, March 08, 2001 01:42 PM "You swing it to the left, it swings back to the right..." (Insert hokey-pokey music) >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: David Copperfield (131 of 140), Read 20 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Thursday, March 08, 2001 01:44 PM How about shortening the title? That should slow down the dance. Ruth “Times are bad.Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book." - Marcus Tullius Cicero
Topic: David Copperfield (132 of 140), Read 21 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Pres Lancaster (plancast@neteze.com) Date: Thursday, March 08, 2001 07:34 PM Ruth, It doesn't matter how long the title is. The heading for each message is just one letter to the right of the one before. It's the number of messages until someone (you, kind lady) gives it a new start. FRUMIOUS BANDERSNATCH, FRIEND OF OGDRED WEARY
Topic: David Copperfield (133 of 140), Read 17 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@qwest.net) Date: Thursday, March 08, 2001 09:51 PM Thank you, Sherry, for you extended reference to one of my favorite fictional characters, Mr. Macawber. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. I should have this very famous quotation inscribed as a motto on my stationery. I also love what immediately follows, although it is not well known at all. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the god of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and - and in short you are for ever floored. As I am! That "in short" business is of course Macawber's tag. Every character here has a tag. I do have a suspicion, however, that if more time had been devoted to Mr. Dick so that I could have become as well acquainted with him, Mr. Dick would have supplanted Mr. Macawber in my affections. Steve
Topic: David Copperfield (134 of 140), Read 17 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Thursday, March 08, 2001 10:33 PM I liked Mr. Dick too, Steve. When a character like that is well done, I simply can't resist. It's probably why I became a special ed teacher, just like to see the world through that different lens. I must tell you that one of my favorite characters was Aunt Betsy. That probably doesn't surprise anyone who knows me. I loved her ability to admit her mistakes and her little mutterings. I never quite understood where the donkey fetish came from though. Barb
Topic: David Copperfield (135 of 140), Read 17 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Thursday, March 08, 2001 11:25 PM I think Mr. Dick is my favorite character. Dick In The 21st Century
Topic: David Copperfield (136 of 140), Read 17 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Thursday, March 08, 2001 11:35 PM Aw, gee. Ruth “Times are bad.Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book." - Marcus Tullius Cicero
Topic: David Copperfield (137 of 140), Read 13 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@qwest.net) Date: Friday, March 09, 2001 07:58 AM Janet, go upstairs, give my compliments to Mr. Dick, and say I wish to speak to him. I like that a lot. Something good always follows. Mr. Dick's tag is that habit of rattling the money in his pocket. One of the heartwarming aspects of the story is Mr. Dick's gradual success in being able to keep the troubles that were in Charles I's head out of his own. . .not a complete success, but an improvement. Steve
Topic: David Copperfield (138 of 140), Read 11 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@starband.net) Date: Friday, March 09, 2001 09:06 AM I really like that scene where he earned some money from his ability to copy, and turned over the money to Aunt Betsy (the best woman in the world). Sherry
Topic: David Copperfield (139 of 140), Read 8 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@qwest.net) Date: Friday, March 09, 2001 09:49 AM He stacked up the coins and arranged them in a little heart shape for her or something like that, as I recall. Steve
Topic: David Copperfield (140 of 140), Read 7 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Friday, March 09, 2001 10:16 AM Aunt Betsy is the kind of person I'd like to be. She has learned to step back and let life happen, even when she's worried sick. She knew David and Dora were mis matched, but she was wise to make the best of a bad situation. Her ability to look for the qualities a person had, instead of what he hadn't, is what brought her such a rich home life. Aunt Betsy Trotwood is one class act, and epitomizes the ability to love without judgement.
Topic: David Copperfield (140 of 166), Read 41 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@qwest.net) Date: Friday, March 09, 2001 11:57 AM Really, Kay? This is the way you see Aunt Betsy? Non-judgmental? Steve
Topic: David Copperfield (141 of 166), Read 41 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Friday, March 09, 2001 01:02 PM LOL. Yes, Steve - non-judgmental, at least by the end of the book. Aunt Betsy certainly was opinionated at David's birth. However, over the years, she learned that she couldn't control what others did. She learned to stay out of other people's affairs, and to make the best of a bad situation. A prime example is when David courted Dora. Aunt Betsy spent so many hours pacing, but she never said, "David - that girl is an idiot. Don't marry her." Instead, she looked for Dora's good points and responded to those. Aunt Betsy voices the changes she has made over the years in how she treats others. "Our Housekeeping" chapter: "I look back on my life, child,' said my aunt, 'and I think of some who are in their graves, with whom, I might have been on kinder terms. If I judged harshly of other people's mistakes in marriage, it may have been because I had bitter reason to judge harshly of my own. Let that pass. I have been a grumpy, frumpy, wayward sort of a woman, a good many years. I am, still, and I always shall be. But you and I have done one another some good, Trot - at all events, you have done me good, my dear, and division must not come between us, at this time of day." Of course, she is put out with Uriah, but then, who isn't? Being strong minded is different from being judgmental, and Aunt Betsy has allowed her better side to take precedence by the end of the novel. She's my favorite character. I would classify the Murdstones as judgmental.
Topic: David Copperfield (142 of 166), Read 41 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Friday, March 09, 2001 01:16 PM I just finished this gem, and feel as if I'm a member of David's extended family. What lucky creatures they are, to have formed such a tight, secure ring of love and caring. Yet they remain open to newcomers, like me. :-) Did anyone else think that Mrs. Gummidge was in love with Mr. Peggotty? I was surprised Dickens didn't throw that marriage into his happily ever after conclusion.
Topic: David Copperfield (143 of 166), Read 45 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, March 09, 2001 01:31 PM To address an earlier question Sherry asked in regard to Dora's death..Dora's health began to fail shortly after a stillbirth or miscarriage. In the chapter titled 'DOMESTIC' (XLVIII), David says: "I had hoped that lighter hands than mine would help to mold her character, and that a baby-smile upon her breast might change my child-wife to a woman. It was not to be. The spirit fluttered for a moment on the threshold of its little prison, and unconscious of captivity, took wing." The chapter notes in the back of the book state: 'Dickens, with characteristically Victorian reticence, is describing a stillbirth or a miscarriage.' Beej
Topic: David Copperfield (144 of 166), Read 53 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, March 09, 2001 01:51 PM Mr.Dick was almost complex in his simplicity (talk about an oxymoron). I loved how he would write and write and write, and then go and make kites from the papers he wrote. Aunt Betsey's bonnet interested me. It was always on her head, but either untied or lopsided, slightly askew over one eye..just a touch away from being totally 'proper' ( a bit of Victorian female rebellion perhaps?)...sort of like Aunt Betsey herself. I really liked the way Dickens used little material things, such as the kite and the bonnet, to give the readers an almost subconscious, subtle insight into his characters. Beej
Topic: David Copperfield (145 of 166), Read 42 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Friday, March 09, 2001 02:52 PM "I have been a grumpy, frumpy, wayward sort of a woman," I can relate to that. Ruth “Times are bad.Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book." - Marcus Tullius Cicero
Topic: David Copperfield (146 of 166), Read 42 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dottie Randall (randallj@ix.netcom.com) Date: Friday, March 09, 2001 03:04 PM Ruth -- I'm not even reading David Copperfield again only browsing the comments and smiling a lot as I hear your various voices speaking of one of my favorite reads -- but I can tell you that I too related to that!!! Dottie -- who has always been a bit grumpy, frumpy, and wayward -- but kept it secret for years and years! ID is an oxymoron!
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (102 of 131) (147 of 166), Read 34 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ee Lin Kuan (eelin@althor.fsnet.co.uk) Date: Friday, March 09, 2001 03:45 PM Sherry, when David set down to write his "autobiography", he already knew that Steerforth was trouble beneath all the charm. And, although he presented Steerforth as charming, there was a sense that he wasn't as good as cracked up to be, because David was writing with hindsight. If the book had been written as a diary, then maybe we wouldn't have been able to see through Steerforth either. Anyway, at any rate, I was suspicious about Steerforth from the beginning, especially when he used up all of David's money for luxuries upon meeting him for the first time! Ee Lin
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (102 of 131) (148 of 166), Read 34 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ee Lin Kuan (eelin@althor.fsnet.co.uk) Date: Friday, March 09, 2001 04:30 PM Beej, thanks for that explanation on the stillbirth/miscarriage. I wondered about it and finally concluded that he was talking about Dora dying and that the little spirit was Dora. A miscarriage makes more sense and explains why Dora's health started to deteriorate. Ee Lin
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (102 of 131) (149 of 166), Read 33 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) Date: Friday, March 09, 2001 05:22 PM Ee Lin: Gosh, I had totally forgotten about Steerforth blowing Davy's money on food the first time they met. That was foreshadowing, for sure. I think I overlooked it because Davy was being taken advantage of by so many people in so many settings, at that point, Steerforth didn't particularly stick out. {G} What a master Dickens is at (among so many other things) indirection, giving us information that doesn't fully register at the time but is far more important in retrospect...just like real life! >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (102 of 131) (150 of 166), Read 40 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dottie Randall (randallj@ix.netcom.com) Date: Friday, March 09, 2001 06:14 PM Again -- I haven't reread this but -- Dale, perhaps Dickens was so good at this indirection because he practiced some such in his own life -- wasn't his a rather hand to mouth life and scrambling to make money to keep the family going and maybe even some other households -- hints of mistresses? I am not a Dickens scholar though so may be entirely wrong on this and have info confused from elsewhere. Dottie ID is an oxymoron!
Topic: March Discussion: David Copperfield by Dickens (102 of 131) (151 of 166), Read 38 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, March 09, 2001 11:28 PM I think one of the more heart rendering characters was Mr. Peggotty. Even though he was not of a high social standing, he was such a good and kind and loving man. His long search for Emily and his unwavering love for her touched my heart. And the idea of living in a boat transformed into a house was very appealing, I thought. But, did anyone else get the sense that Dickens didn't develop this character as much as he could have? There was just something missing that I can't put my finger on. Maybe he was just too good. It seems Dickens had more fun writing about the nasty folks and those with the little, endearing peccadillos. Perhaps Mr. Peggotty was just too perfect. Beej
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (152 of 166), Read 36 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@starband.net) Date: Saturday, March 10, 2001 07:00 AM I know what you mean, Beej. It might be harder to write about good, because there seem to be fewer ways to be good than to be bad. I think the reason so many people love Aunt Betsy is because she changed. She started out being of dubious character--didn't get her namesake, so she abandoned Davy's mother and Davy. But then when confronted with the Davy-at-the-door, she made room for him in her heart. One of my favorite parts of the book, was when she asked Mr. Dick what to do with him, and Mr. Dick said "Give him a bath" or "Buy him a set of clothes." I knew he would be all right after that. Sherry
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (153 of 166), Read 34 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Saturday, March 10, 2001 07:50 AM My modern mind was confused when I read that Emily was clinging to Mr. Peggotty. I thought she didn't want to marry Ham, yet wanted to remain in Mr. Peggotty's home. I've seen too many soap operas, I guess. So no one else here thought Mrs. Gummidge was in love with Mr. Peggotty?!
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (154 of 166), Read 38 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Saturday, March 10, 2001 07:56 AM I think she was in love with Mr. Peggotty, too, Kay. Did you get a sense that his feelings for Emily were not entirely paternal? Beej
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (155 of 166), Read 37 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Saturday, March 10, 2001 08:06 AM I did, Beej, I did. But I figured I was reading it with a 21st century mind besieged by all sorts of warped perspectives. In fact, I thought that Emily was perhaps more interested in Mr. Peggotty than Ham. That wasn't Dickens' intention, though. Surely not.
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (156 of 166), Read 38 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Saturday, March 10, 2001 08:07 AM What about Martha..she was so incidental that it was as if Dickens only created her in order to use this very minor character to tie loose ends together. Here is this prostitute who appears briefly, yet is used in such an important way when it comes to finding Emily. (Wasn't it Henry James who also gave incidental characters important 'effects' toward the end of his novels? and yet, I read James was not really a great fan of Dickens, and was actually quite critical of him.) Beej
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (157 of 166), Read 36 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Saturday, March 10, 2001 08:13 AM Kay, I was surprised when Emily became engaged to Ham. She had so much fire to her and Ham, well..Ham was dull. I can understand why she ran off with Steerforth. Beej
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (158 of 166), Read 34 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Saturday, March 10, 2001 08:20 AM Beej- Oh, please, don't get me started on James being critical of Dickens. Perhaps he was simply jealous of the exquisitely simple writing Dickens used to draw vivid characters that find a place in your soul. Perhaps he simply wasn't up to the task of analyzing the human heart as well as Dickens. Oh, CR could have a great debate on this one. :-)
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (159 of 166), Read 37 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Saturday, March 10, 2001 08:30 AM Kay, James was critical of most writers, wasn't he? It must have rankled his bones when Tolstoy gave credit to Dickens for being the most influential writer of that century. ( I really think James saw his own writing as a cross between John Milton's and St. Matthew's.) Beej
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (160 of 166), Read 32 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Saturday, March 10, 2001 09:16 AM It seems the three most interesting female characters, at least to me, were the ones who didn't need a man to support their Victorian 'fluff'n-nutter'...Aunt Betsey, Miss Mowcher and Martha. Beej
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (161 of 166), Read 18 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@qwest.net) Date: Saturday, March 10, 2001 01:12 PM I see better now what you are saying about Aunt Betsy, Kay, and agree that there was development in her character. Steerforth is a classic example of the appeal of the bad boy. There is a downside to those thrifty, loyal, steadfast, hard-working, serious men. They tend to be. . .well. . .boring. Apparently, 'twas so even in Victorian times. This is why it would seem to me that everything would work so much better if women routinely kept two men. Either no men at all or two men, but not the half measure. Steve
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (162 of 166), Read 13 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@starband.net) Date: Saturday, March 10, 2001 02:16 PM What an intriguing idea. And how generous on the (two) men's part. Sherry
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (163 of 166), Read 21 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Saturday, March 10, 2001 02:24 PM Two men? TWO MEN???? You have to be kidding. I have enough dirty underwear to wash as it is..plus you guys are sooo messy. (But I sure do love those bad boys...) Beej
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (164 of 166), Read 10 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Saturday, March 10, 2001 03:28 PM I gave up prolonging my reading of David Copperfield today and finally finished it. I usually hurry to the end of these long books so I can get on to the next one, but I truly didn't want to leave this world. I love modern writing, open endings, etc., but Dickens' world, especially this one, is a very comfortable, endlessly satisfying one. Do those of you who read Cider House Rules remember how David Copperfield was read each night to the orphans? It was the only book that the boy orphans heard. What a perfect thread for John Irving to weave throughout a book set in an orphanage. It makes me appreciate him more. Also, my brother sent me an excerpt some time ago from a biography that Jane Smiley is writing on Charles Dickens. Now, I'm even more interested in reading it. Did you love that Miss Mowcher caught Mr. Littimer? And, how she did it? I didn't, however, quite understand what her motivation would have been to do it. I did understand that her poses with Steerforth were part of her act to make it through the world, that she was no fan of his. However, I didn't understand why she would have felt so strongly about Mr. Littimer. I have a forward in my Oxford Illustrated edition written by R.H. Malden. Have any of you heard of him? It reads like it was written in the 1940's though I could be wrong. In any case, he makes some interesting comments about the relationship between David and Steerforth that bear copying here: It may be urged that Copperfield ought to have seen through Steerforth, and to have recognized him as the vain, selfish egoist which he was. But the fact that he did not is I think a tribute to Dickens insight into character: at any rate into male character. Admiration born at school for an older boy, who seems then to be more than everything which we ourselves could ever hope to become, is extraordinarily powerful and persistent. It may make it almost impossible for a man to recognize that his early idol has feet of clay, and perhaps not much more than sounding brass higher up. This explanation makes a lot of sense to me. And, I can particularly see it fitting with boys in the English educational system of the time. Also, I'm not always sharp at picking up foreshadowing but I did catch Steerforth's taking advantage of David with the buying of the meal at school...and braced myself for further abuse. Also, remember how horrendous he was to Mr. Mell? And, I didn't realize that the Dr. Mell in Australia was the same as the schoolmaster until I went back to look for his name to write this observation. I'm glad that Dickens tied that little knot. Nice to know that a poor, good-hearted teacher turned out okay in the end. Thanks for the information about Dora's miscarriage, Beej. That was all a mystery to me. Barb...thinking that I can never say that something is a mystery without thinking of the Geoffrey Rush character in Shakespeare in Love
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (165 of 166), Read 10 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@qwest.net) Date: Saturday, March 10, 2001 03:38 PM I found it interesting how many of the secondary characters went off to a new life in Australia. I thought we were supposed to be the ones who supply the venue for that. Steve
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (166 of 166), Read 8 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Saturday, March 10, 2001 04:28 PM Barb, Didn't Miss Mowcher feel responsible for Steerforth accomplishing his scheme to whisk Emily away? And Mr. Littimer was his accomplice in this. I think this is why she was so bent on catching Mr. Littimer. (Steerforth was already taken care of..he was dead.) Beej
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (167 of 194), Read 20 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dottie Randall (randallj@ix.netcom.com) Date: Saturday, March 10, 2001 07:11 PM Oh Steve -- come on the British distributed the people they didn't want to both the Americas and to Australia didn't they? And then those who made it go said to others -- this is grand and a lot of others left for both places quite willingly. Dottie -- thinking the state of Georgia and Australia had similar beginning from certain Britishers ID is an oxymoron!
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (168 of 194), Read 22 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Saturday, March 10, 2001 07:49 PM I liked the fact that the Micawbers got a new start. I know Mr. M.'s turn around came from his careful monitoring of Heep's affairs. However, that kind of smarts coming from him didn't quite fit for me. Was anyone else bothered by that? It did fit his kind personality, though. I thought it interesting he never asked to borrow money from David, so I guess he did have some scruples to work from. I just hadn't seen the work ethic or intelligence up to that point.
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (169 of 194), Read 26 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Saturday, March 10, 2001 10:29 PM Right, Beej! Thanks. That does make sense. Barb
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (170 of 194), Read 15 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Saturday, March 10, 2001 11:38 PM I just returned from a week's vacation. I am on page 405--about half way through. I am happy to report that I am enjoying this book far more than the first time I plowed through this book at the age of 13. It was somewhat beyond me then, but I was determined to finish it, so I repeatedly checked it out of the library until I finally reached the last page. Sherry asked a question about Dickens' women awhile back. Much as I love the secondary female characters, I do think the female love interests in his books are all of the same, unappealing (to me at least) type -- pretty, child-like, and almost dimwitted. They are the kind of woman who needs a strong man to take care of her. I think these heroines are a peculiarity of Dickens, rather than 19th century literature as a whole. Still, this is a minor quibble. The other characters are very finely drawn. Mr. Dick is my favorite too. Ann
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (171 of 194), Read 12 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 08:12 AM Ann- David's mother and Dodo, er, I mean, Dora, are the Victorian ideal, for sure. Emily is the fallen Angel type, needing a man to rescue her. At least Dickens balances that out with Women of Sense, like Agnes, Miss Mowcher, and Aunt Betsy. Of course, you'll note that only Agnes ends up a winner of the marriage game. I loved the way Aunt Betsy got herself out of a bad marriage.
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (172 of 194), Read 9 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 09:27 AM speaking of Dodo... Wasn't it irritating how Steerforth kept calling David DAISY? Beej
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (173 of 194), Read 11 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@starband.net) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 11:22 AM In one of the essays at the end of the book, (can't remember by whom, just now), calling David "Daisy" was a manifestation of what some literary critics think is the homoerotic elements of the Steerforth/Copperfield couple. David did seem to love Steerforth in an absolute way. I'm not sure I agree, but it is an interesting take. Sherry
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (174 of 194), Read 11 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 11:35 AM I thought the nickname, Daisy, was half cynical, and half wistful, on Steerforth's part.
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (175 of 194), Read 11 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@starband.net) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 11:40 AM That's a very good description of Steerforth all around, I think. Cynical and wistful. What do you all think about the two parents who were obsessively devoted to their children, Steerforth's mother and Agnes' father? Sherry
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (176 of 194), Read 11 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 11:55 AM I think they were both quite different, and actually an improvement, from David's mother who allowed her jerk of a second husband, and his dried up old bitch of a sister to maltreat David. Beej
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (177 of 194), Read 10 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@qwest.net) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 11:56 AM Actually, a very excellent description of Steerforth, Kay. Clearly, the Daisy reference started out when Steerforth was ribbing David about his innocence and lack of sophistication. Later comes this: He stopped, and, looking in my face, said, 'Daisy, I believe you are in earnest, and are good. I wish we all were!' Next moment he was gaily singing Mr. Peggotty's song, as we walked at a round pace back to Yarmouth. That "I wish we all were" is a wistful reference to himself and a sincere one, I think. Unlike Uriah, Steerforth at least regretted his own nature at times. Steve
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (178 of 194), Read 11 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@qwest.net) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 12:02 PM You may be being a little hard on David's mother, Beej. She was simply a naïve and easily manipulated person. They were able to persuade her that they were acting in David's interest. However, we read of this in a modern context full of horrific stories about the abuse of children by the new boyfriend or new husband. That must color our view of this. Steve
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (179 of 194), Read 12 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 12:03 PM I don't think Steerforth really wished to be good or earnest. I think he was a sham. And I took this Daisy business as a seemingly jocular, but condescending, insult. Beej
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (180 of 194), Read 14 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 12:06 PM A bit hard on David's mother?..maybe..but there are couple things that really REALLY bothered me about her. I guess it started with the realization that she tried to sell David's caul. Yes, she was young and she was easily manipulated, but we are talking of her child, here. And she is a mother. This is her child and she stands and allows all this to happen. Beej
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (181 of 194), Read 9 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 12:15 PM Beej- I got the impression that the selling of David's caul was a kind of tradition in seafaring communities. They supposedly protected seamen from drowning. That didn't bother me. What did get to me was how she allowed the Murdstones to verbally AND physically abuse David. I don't care WHAT century she lived in, or what traditions of a community were, a mother's natural instinct would be to step in, and at least take the blows herself. I don't buy that she truly believed it was for David's benefit. She wasn't that much of an idiot. Phew! This one always pushes my buttons, and no matter how many times I'm told that it's a psychological problem for the mother, I do not understand that kind of cowardice. The natural instinct of a mother is to protect. As far as I know, it's only human females that would allow such an attack on their children.
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (182 of 194), Read 9 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 12:05 PM And, let's not forget Mrs. Heep. Actually, in their own way, Aunt Betsy also doted, as did Mr. Wickham. What was the essential difference, would you say? As to Mrs. Steerforth and Mrs. Heep, I meet their paler versions all the time. How often do we see parents who are always saying "It's not her fault. The other kids did it too. If it hadn't been for them, this never would have happened." or, "Not MY daughter." Perhaps one difference is that Agnes and David were held accountable for their behaviors. Another possibility is that they were treated with compassion and respect, and were taught to extend the same to others. Their home lives included a variety of family and adopted family. And then there's Emily. Though she strayed, she accepted her role in her fate. My heart ached for her perceived loss of family and friends. To a certain extent, I think Steerforth also realized and accepted his role. When he was pleading to David to remember the days of their youth, he was acknowledging his part in Emily's downfall. He knew he had done wrong. I'm not excusing him, especially for leaving her the way he did. Yet Mrs. Steerforth put ALL the blame squarely where it didn't belong - on Emily's seductive shoulders. What, exactly, was the cause of the rift between Steerforth and his mother? Was he so embarrassed that he refused to go back home? His mother wasn't holding him responsible, was she? Also - why the repeated references to the scar on ?'s face? (Can't remember her name.) Was that supposed to represent the permanent kind of damage Steerforth's temper and impulses could cause?
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (183 of 194), Read 13 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 12:09 PM Yes, I think thats the difference Kay. The others didn't accept any wrongdoing on the parts of their children. Mrs. Heep did, at the end, but it was only to save here rotten son. Beej
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (184 of 194), Read 12 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 12:13 PM Steve, do you really think David's mother believed they were acting in his best interests? Really? Or was she just so weak she would let all this happen to him in order to avoid conflict? David is telling this story. He is the narrator. His mother WAS young and WAS sweet, in her youth. And he is telling her story with love. But he is also relating some pretty harsh choices on her part. Beej
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (185 of 194), Read 13 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 12:17 PM Barb- Glad you're enjoying this book. I'm still savoring its pages, and plan on trying another Dickens in the near future.
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (186 of 194), Read 12 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 12:23 PM Kay, I just read your post on David's caul and the bit about his mother allowing her husband and sister-in-law to mistreat David. I am SO glad somebody else sees what I see. It IS a mother's natural instinct to protect her child! It just is. And she didn't. Beej
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (187 of 194), Read 9 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 12:26 PM Okay, I'll back down on the idea that Steeforth's and Heep's mothers were an improvement over David's. They created sons who believed what their mothers taught them..that the world revolved around them ( even if they were 'umble..) But I won't say David's mother was any better, but for other reasons. Beej
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (188 of 194), Read 6 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 12:36 PM Beej- I think David's mother was very different from Mrs. Heep and Mrs. Steerforth. Her mistakes were made with a gentle kind of compassionate love. Theirs were made with a single minded desire to make their own lives worthwhile through their sons. Big difference there.
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (189 of 194), Read 5 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 12:41 PM I agree with that, Kay. Beej
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (190 of 194), Read 8 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 12:33 PM Right, Beej. Even unassuming, meek, conceding Victorian women would be able to rouse the right to defend their children. It's an instinct that supercedes any social restrictions. It would even supercede fear for herself. Nothing would bring the impulse to act like one's child being attacked. If the woman needs an "excuse" to take action, it would certainly be for her child's sake. I think I would have had the same reaction if I were one of Dickens' original audience. I realize I'm a product of modern thinking, but that instinct is so atavistic, and embedded into my psyche, that I think it would carry no matter what era I lived in. Of course, Dickens wouldn't have had the same story, then. :-)
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (191 of 194), Read 10 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 12:37 PM Maybe, too, if his mother had any backbone David would not have been so attracted to 'Dumb Dora'. But, then again, its my experience a lot of men are attracted to these brainless, helpless fluffernutters. Beej
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (192 of 194), Read 14 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 12:39 PM ( and you can translate the word 'fluffernutter' any way you might find appropriate.) Beej
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (193 of 194), Read 17 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 12:49 PM Why, Beej. I am astounded! Ruth “Times are bad.Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book." - Marcus Tullius Cicero
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (194 of 194), Read 15 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 12:52 PM I know, Ruth. I sort of got on a roll, didn't I? Beej
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (195 of 206), Read 24 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 01:52 PM I had the sense that Dora was almost brainwashed, like a Patty Hearst kind of phenomenon (if you're old enough to remember that). A weak personality surrounded by two very strong, dominant personalities could be persuaded that they were doing what was best for her child, I think, at least in the beginning. In the end, she was too ill and weak to intervene. Do any of you have the Modern Library edition of this book with the introduction by David Gates? I was reading the intro at Border's today and it was excellent. He brought up the possible homoerotic connection between Steerforth and David, pointing out that Steerforth said he wished David had a younger, timid sister. I had never heard of Gates before but he's an author with several published novels. I loved the style of his intro. After I read a classic that is out in several editions, I love to just go sit at Border's and check out the other intros. This one also had the article by Virginia Woolf, but I didn't have time to read it. I've also read that Dickens' father fell on financially very hard times when Dickens was 10 or 12. At that time, he was sent out to work in a factory that made boot black and he felt utterly abandoned. His parents were also put in the poorhouse, like the Micawbers, and the family was allowed to stay there with him. The article I read said that Dickens blamed his being sent out to work more on his mother who insisted that they needed him to do it. Maybe in light of that, David's mother's actions didn't seem so outlandish. Barb
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (196 of 206), Read 25 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 02:03 PM That's interesting, Barb. Thanks! I'm a bit surprised Dickens didn't expound more on child labor, now. Beej
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (197 of 206), Read 18 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ee Lin Kuan (eelin@althor.fsnet.co.uk) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 05:33 PM Kay, I thought Mrs Gummidge was secretly in love with Mr Peggotty too. Out of all the characters in the book, it seems that only the Murdstones didn't get their just desserts. In fact, Mr Murdstone remarried, and they ruined yet another girl's life, according to Mr Joram. Ee Lin
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (198 of 206), Read 19 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 06:12 PM Barb - You're right about David's mother being brainwashed. But even if I accept that, I have a hard time reconciling to her acceptance of the abuse. I cannot fathom a mother not reacting. She KNEW how much David was suffering, and how unjustly. She questioned it in her own mind, I think. Your explanation makes sense, though. It's my hang up that keeps me from feeling empathy for her.
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (199 of 206), Read 18 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 08:00 PM I wonder had Mr. Murdstone's infant son survived if he would have treated this child the same way he treated David. I doubt it. Beej
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (200 of 206), Read 17 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 08:04 PM Interesting question, Beej. I don't think he would have been quite as harsh. I think Mr. Murdstone was jealous of David's relationship with his mother.
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (201 of 206), Read 15 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 08:23 PM I was just glancing through DC, and I think Clara Copperfield was afraid of Murdstone. Also this: "They had persuaded (my mother) that I was a wicked fellow." Not an excuse for allowing such horrid treatment, but I think the Murdstones convinced her that unless David's spirit was broken he would come to a bad end. Beej
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (202 of 206), Read 13 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 08:56 PM Ok. I know we're supposed to grant Clara some latitude. It's just very hard for me to do.
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (203 of 206), Read 14 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Sunday, March 11, 2001 08:58 PM It is for me, too, Kay. I think I'm trying to justify it, because I really did feel sorry for her. Beej
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (204 of 206), Read 7 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: David Moody (davidmoody@prodigy.net) Date: Monday, March 12, 2001 07:35 AM I think the Murdstones got what they deserved. They had each other. David
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (205 of 206), Read 8 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Monday, March 12, 2001 07:59 AM I've been thinking about the convenience of Dora's death, and I don't think Dickens had much choice in writing it this way. Do you think Copperfield would have stayed with Dora had she lived? I don't. And if so, do you think Agnes would have married him if he walked out of his marriage? Again, I don't. I don't think Agnes was the sort of woman who would have understood 'irreconcilable differences'..even if those were legal grounds for divorce in this time period. Beej
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (206 of 206), Read 8 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Monday, March 12, 2001 08:00 AM Also, I wonder if the saying "go fly a kite' came from DC and Mr. Dick's kite flying. Beej
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (207 of 214), Read 13 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Monday, March 12, 2001 12:21 PM Reading this discussion reminds me of how often we CRs turn to discussing characters in books as if they were real people. Of course, it's a credit to their creators when we do that, but perhaps before getting carried away on the he-shouldas and she-shouldas we need to remember that poor dumb Dora (is that where that expression comes from?) and poor dumb Mrs. Copperfield were that way because they had no choice in the matter. Dickens wrote them that way. The better question, I think, is why he did. Is it a flaw in Dickens' writing that some of us are unable to fathom Mrs. C's apparent lack of the motherhood gene? Ditto with Dora. Should Dickens have made her more multisided, or at least able to learn a little bit? Should he have made David's attraction to her a little more understandable? Ruth “Times are bad.Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book." - Marcus Tullius Cicero
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (208 of 214), Read 10 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Monday, March 12, 2001 03:07 PM No, it's not Dickens' flaw to write Clara as he did. I think he fully intended her to be an empathetic, blameless creature. That's part of what created the pathos of David's early life. I do think he would have written her differently, in more depth, had he been writing today. As far as Dumb Dora, the only thing I could find for David's attraction was his desire to protect and please her, as he couldn't his mother. Oh, yeah - let's not forget - his undisciplined heart was at the mercy of his hormones. It always amazes me when otherwise intelligent, savvy men go for the dumb bunnies as life partners. Of course, David was young, and didn't know to think about the rest of his life with one woman. I understand your point, Ruth, about looking for the writer's intentions and skills. It's a good one, and I need to keep that in mind. However, though I can read a book analytically, with appreciation for style, I will not enjoy it as much if the characters are foreign to me. Perhaps I read too emotionally, but if I cannot get in a character's skin, I usually have a hard time enjoying the book. Part of the thrill of a good novel is getting to know the characters and finding something about them that makes sense to me. I don't have to like them, or respect them, but by George, I do have to have something in common with them. For me, a good read is an experience of intellectual, analytical, and psychological involvement. One reason I like to discuss the motivations is that I usually learn something new about myself and others, in why they behave and think the way they do.
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (209 of 214), Read 12 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Monday, March 12, 2001 03:13 PM I agree, Kay. I definitely want the characters to come alive, to be real people to me. I want to feel I could look across a room one day and think, "Why that must be Dora Copperfield. I'd know her anywhere." And it's fun to talk about them as if they were real. But don't you think it's a good idea to also discuss on that other level? I just mean that when we criticise a character's actions, or start talking about what they should have done, we should remember they didn't have a choice, and think about why the author did what he did. It's something I have a hard time remembering myself. Ruth “Times are bad.Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book." - Marcus Tullius Cicero
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (210 of 214), Read 12 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Monday, March 12, 2001 03:28 PM Yes, Ruth. I see your point. I think part of an author's skill shows when she writes motivation for her characters. I judge modern authors by another standard than I do authors considered to be classic. But no matter the century an author represents, I still require some point of contact between me and a character. If the character's motivation is flat, or superficial, I am more likely to take issue with it. As I said before, child abuse is a BIG button for me, and I over reacted to the whole abuse scenario. Of course, I did the same thing when reading Justine. I could not find any point where I could relate to her, and I let that interfere with my enjoyment of the prose, which I found exquisite. Believe it or not, I have plans to read the rest of the quartet. Trust me when I say I don't mean to take away from anyone's enjoyment of a novel, just because I don't like the characters. I'm often out of step with other readers. It doesn't really bother me, and sometimes I learn through the ensuing discussion. I'm working on reading more analytically, but I think a novel loses its soul and its impact when I step back too far from it. Characters are what move a plot forward, and they usually take precedence in my personal assessment of a book. If I don't feel anything in common with a character, then I feel the author hasn't done her job. Let me add that though I was distressed with Clara, I still felt empathy towards her. That's a credit to Dickens' skill. When an author can force a reaction from me, in spite of whether I respect the character or not, then that's a good author. Dickens qualifies.
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (211 of 214), Read 13 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Monday, March 12, 2001 04:52 PM I used to immerse myself in a story just the way you do, Kay. But since I started writing myself, my analytic side keeps elbowing in. I'm not sure that's a good thing. But after I'm through reading, it takes nothing from the book for me, if I look at it from both viewpoints. And you're right in using different standards for contemporary literature and the earlier stuff. Different times had different ways of approaching things. That said, do you think if Dickens had made Dora improve just a tad, had made it look as if maybe, just maybe, she and Davy were going to be happy together, that perhaps it would have been more of a tragedy when she died, rather than a rather convenient device to get her out of the way? Ruth “Times are bad.Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book." - Marcus Tullius Cicero
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (212 of 214), Read 10 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Monday, March 12, 2001 05:17 PM Both viewpoints are necessary, for sure, Ruth. I enjoy the analysis, as well, and if the style isn't there, the book doesn't mean much to me. Yes, I think if Dickens had developed Dora as someone with a little more substance, I probably wouldn't have felt such relief when she kicked the bucket. I was saddened by her death, but only for a second, and saw it as a second chance for David and Agnes. Do you think Dickens liked Dora? From the way he wrote David's reaction to her, I'd say he did not. Beej- I don't think David would have divorced Dora. He had so much integrity and honor, and would have figured it was his duty to do his best by her. However, he might have found a mistress, but it wouldn't have been Agnes. How sad that would have been!
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (213 of 214), Read 12 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ee Lin Kuan (eelin@althor.fsnet.co.uk) Date: Monday, March 12, 2001 06:07 PM David, I hadn't looked at the Murdstones from that angle before. As you say, they certainly deserved each other. I just felt sorry for the girl that Mr Murdstone subsequently married. Ee Lin
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (214 of 214), Read 3 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Monday, March 12, 2001 09:54 PM Your point is very well taken, Ruth. My brother, who is a very analytical reader, always reminds me that these are not the people next door. It's usually a lot more fun to figure out how the author did it and why. Personally, I think that Dickens was a little weak in the female love interest area. He can write interesting women. Aunt Betsy, the dwarf, Mrs. Micawber, even Miss Murdstone were characters with texture. But, once his lead character falls in love with them, they're pretty insipid. In the case of DC, he fell in that trap with the mother character as well. I can forgive him this because his other characters are such a delight, but I find it interesting. Barb
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (215 of 215), Read 12 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ee Lin Kuan (eelin@althor.fsnet.co.uk) Date: Tuesday, March 13, 2001 05:05 PM Barb, don't you think that most of the characters, not just the female ones, usually had one or two obvious traits, and these were emphasized over and over again? Ee Lin
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (227 of 237), Read 59 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ee Lin Kuan (eelin@althor.fsnet.co.uk) Date: Wednesday, March 21, 2001 05:58 PM Barb, sorry for the late reply. I enjoy Jane Austen's books too! In comparing the female characters by both authors, my first instinct was that I preferred Austen's female characters to Dora and Clara as well. But then, I disliked Lydia Bennett, Mrs Bennett and they were sort of similar to Dora and Clara in some ways. I wanted to shake Dora and Clara many times. But perhaps they were uninteresting or insipid because Dickens chose to make them so, and not because he was unable to make them more interesting? Ee Lin
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (228 of 237), Read 60 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Wednesday, March 21, 2001 09:28 PM Interesting point, Ee Lin, and one that we totally overlooked! Barb...who is on the trek with David to Aunt Betsy's once again in the audiobook....
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (229 of 237), Read 50 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ian Marks (comfortably_numb@ecosse.net) Date: Thursday, March 22, 2001 06:04 PM >>I would love to read a good biography of Dickens.<< Barbara ~~ Try Peter Ackroyd's 1000-pager. Ian
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (230 of 237), Read 51 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Thursday, March 22, 2001 10:53 PM Have you read it, Ian? Barb
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (231 of 237), Read 50 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ian Marks (comfortably_numb@ecosse.net) Date: Friday, March 23, 2001 03:25 PM Barb ~~ It's on one of the shelves. A friend who's a big Dickens fan raves about it. Ian
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (232 of 237), Read 26 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ernest Belden (drernest@pacbell.net) Date: Monday, March 26, 2001 04:13 PM What interested me in this discussion is the description and analysis of female characters in the book. My own opinion is that they are described as they were or should I say as people who could exist all right. Dickens probably knew and had met such people and his description makes interesting reading As to Dora, I have met similar ladies and felt they could not help being what they are. Is it my imagination or is Dickens less critical or descriptive of the male characters? Well, he describes some of them very well and there seems to be less feeling intensity there. Yes I did like David's aunt. I do understand and respect her. She is a real person and truly decent, generous, etc. I must repeat myself and say once more how much I liked the book though it was very strenuous to read all the 635 pages. I am toying with the idea (not seriously) that I will never again read a book that long. Ernie
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (233 of 237), Read 26 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@yahoo.com) Date: Monday, March 26, 2001 07:34 PM Ernie- Dora did have a certain amount of self awareness. I can't remember who posted it, but someone mentioned that she seemed "willfully and selfishly stubborn." Dora was wise enough to realize that for the marriage to work, it would have to be David who made all the accommodations. I think if she knew that much, she had the beginnings of at least trying to meet some of David's needs as well. Since she had that awareness, I have to wonder if she simply chose not to try to change. Dickens seemed to imply that at points, when David was writing about his marriage. Clara, on the other hand, was written as a weak, gullible, and pliant person.
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (234 of 237), Read 27 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Monday, March 26, 2001 07:41 PM Could it be because both Clara and Dora were 'sweet, pretty young things.' And the 19th c idea of a SPYT involved the kind of character that Dickens gave them. Few brain cells, centered on foolish things, needing a man to tell them what to do. Ruth “Physics is like sex. Sure, it has some practical results, but that's not why we do it." Richard Feynman
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (235 of 237), Read 27 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Monday, March 26, 2001 09:07 PM Ruth, SPYT? I'm assuming that sweet young thing is in there, but what does the P stand for? In my reread in audiobook form, I noticed the detail that Clara was an orphan as well. She was working as a governess when David's father met her and paid her "a lot of attention". Somehow, knowing that she was an orphan makes her personality more understandable to me. Ernie, didn't you love the part where Aunt Betsy tells off Mr. Murdstone when he comes to get David? I just heard that again on the audiobook and loved every minute once again. Barb Barb
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (236 of 237), Read 33 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Monday, March 26, 2001 09:33 PM Sweet Pretty Young Thing. I believe 19th c young women who were not pretty were more commonly allowed to have brains. Ruth “Physics is like sex. Sure, it has some practical results, but that's not why we do it." Richard Feynman
Topic: David Copperfield by Dickens (237 of 237), Read 31 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Tuesday, March 27, 2001 09:35 PM Ah, of course, Ruth. How did I miss that? Barb

 
Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens

 
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