Tuesday, August 9, 2011

LOL @Dickens

There's something about the "old-fashioned" style of writing that I simply adore. Dated vocabulary, poetic sentence structure, wealth of literary allusions - I have reveled in the "good old books" for as long as I can remember. Only within the last five years or so, however, have I been able to spot the humor seemingly encrypted within these much-beloved volumes. Jane Austen was wonderful - whenever I was having difficulty saying what I meant to say in a paper, a few paragraphs of her novels would send me on my way - but I had to accustom myself to her style before I was able to comprehend and laugh my way through Northanger Abbey, (which is quite the hilarious satire). It's just sad. In a culture where texting vocab is "gr8!" and facebook confines one to incomplete "state of being" expressions, people tend to miss out on the great wealth of literature available to them, because a Dickens is "too hard to understand." (Unless you can watch it in a 10-hour mini-series.)
But you know what? Dickens is another author who is simply too funny to miss out on! See if these quotes don't leave you laughing:

"'In reference,' proceeds the Chancellor, still on Jarndyce and Jarndyce, 'to the young girl - '
'Begludship's pardon - boy,' says Mr. Tangle, prematurely.
'In reference,' proceeds the Chancellor, with extra distinctness, 'to the young girl and boy, the two young people,'
(Mr. Tangle crushed.)"
"The fashion intelligence says so, for the comfort of the Parisians, and it knows all fashionable things. To know things otherwise, were to be unfashionable."
"[Sir Leicester Dedlock] has a general opinion that the world might get on without hills, but would be done up without Dedlocks....He is an honourable, obstinate, truthful, high-spirited, intensely prejudiced, perfectly unreasonable man."
"Ada dimly remembered to have heard her mother tell, when she was a very little child, that [John Jarndyce] had once done her an act of uncommon generosity, and that on her going to his house to thank him, he happened to see her through a window coming to the door, and immediately escaped by the back gate, and was not heard of for three months."
"Sir Leicester is generally in a complacent state, and rarely bored. When he has nothing else to do, he can always contemplate his own greatness. It is a considerable advantage to a man, to have so inexhaustible a subject. After reading his letters, he leans back in his corner of the carriage, and generally reviews his importance to society."

:) All excerpts from Bleak House.


Rachel said...

I love the title. :) I admire the last quote above all.

Lynnae said...

Those are wonderful quotes, Sarah!!! I love Dickens, though I've only read two of his books (And we've watched almost all the movies :) The next one you HAVE to watch is "Little Dorrit"...That is one of the best!

P.S. I liked the quote you posted on my blog. (Though I had to have Jonathon remind me what it was from...I tend to suffer from short term memory loss...It runs in the fam...