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Girl Detective

Oh, Bleak House is great fun. I really like just reading a bit at a time, as the whole thing at once would feel too intimidating.

At the end of Chapter 6 "Quite at Home" Esther sadly gives up her hope that John Jarndyce was her father, though I didn't catch what in the chapter convinced her of this. Anyone?

I am laying odds in my head on who I think Esther's parents are. Great fun to speculate.

I too loved the comment about the rich deserving ghosts, and figure the story about the Dedlocks coming to disgrace might just happen. I do feel very sorry for the elder Rouncewell son, who is obviously not appreciated by his stout mama.


I don't need a Jarndyce to know which way the wind blows. North or east? I have to say, this is the perfect time in the Minnesota weather year to be reading this, because it seems so obsessed on the weather, maybe even more than here in Minnesota.

But the weather sets the scene, and I still think we're in major scene-setting mode, rolling out people and places. And back to the Dedlocks, last seen in Chapter 2, before the years rolled by for Esther's back story.

Chapter 5 seemed the most vividly drawn, perhaps with the crazy shop and lodgings and old woman. But Chapter 7 has some of my favorite lines. Along with the ghost passage, there is this: "It appears to the afflicted Mr. Guppy and his inconsolable friend that there is no end to the Dedlocks, whose family greatness seems to consist of their never having done anything to distinguish themselves for 700 years."

I do not have an annotated version. I do have some supplementary reading bookmarked, but I haven't gotten to it for this reading, mainly aiming to get it read and commented on by today. And soon I'll have to start "36 Arguments for the Existence of God." Although I do have a substantial vacation block to make for much better reading time Nov. 10 to No. 20. But I would appreciate any and all commentaries you and your edition have to offer.


Have to say I rather enjoy Miss Jellyby's attitude.

Girl Detective

H, Isn't Miss Jellyby in many ways like a typical teen girl, sneering at her mother, rejecting her values and being petulant rather than grateful for Esther's kindness?

I loved the title of chapter 4: Telescopic Philanthropy.

V, I have an annotated edition, though I find its footnotes are sometime too obvious and distract me from getting lost in the rich text. Lots of citations of quotes but few things that are actually enlightening. In Ch 5 is says that Dickens worked for a while with blacking bottles as a child, Ch 6: Skimpole is based on an actual person named Leigh Hunt, and Ch 7: a picture being engraved means copied and sold to the public (so Mrs' Dedlock's likeness has not been).

Miss T

Well, before I go check the o'clock, I must say that I found Skimpole quite irritating, and I was stunned no one raised any objection to his demand for what was then a very large sum of cash. Why on earth did they all find him so charming?

Amy Rea

Girl Detective, I didn't catch what caused Esther to not believe John Jarndyce is her father either. Anyone else?

V, I'll add some notes about the Chancery to my next post. It's really interesting stuff. Or I'm a geek. ;-)

Heideland, you like Miss Jellyby's attitude? Why?

Miss T., totally agree about Skimpole. A child at an adult's age is not at all attractive.


Amy: I like what Miss Jellyby says on p. 65 [Penguin] - "O! don't talk of duty as a child, Miss Summerson; where's Ma's duty as a parent? All made over to the public and Africa," ... etc. Just appreciate her moxie; calling out the BS. Bet *she* wouldn't suffer the insufferable Skimpole lightly!

Larry Butler

Just finished it. This is probably the best novel I've read. How striking is the difference between our attitudes, thoughts and depths of cosideration for one another today as compared to the mid nineteenth century?
Yes, this is a book best consumed in small bites, which is easy to manage because the structure of the prose is so demanding. I read it on my kindle, and kept the dictionary page busy learning words that are out of circulation today. It was fun and I learned a lot! As the book moves along, so does one's enjoyment. I found Esther's narratives to be the heart of the novel. I think I fell in love with her myself....again...great of the greatest novels written...Dickens' best and that's saying a whole lot.

Amy Rea

Larry, at the beginning I thought I would tire of Esther, but I'm becoming increasingly attached to her--and worried about her. Glad you enjoyed it! I'm enjoying it a great deal.

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