Literary reviews by Tim Love.
Warning: Rather than reviews, these are often notes in preparation for reviews that were never finished, or pleas for help with understanding pieces. See Litref Reviews - a rationale for details.

Monday, 11 March 2002

"Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens (Everyman's Library - first published 1861)

My first Dickens. First impression was how little visual description there is, how linguistic the analogies are, how hard it would be to put on screen without voice-overs

  • "there was a wilderness of empty casks, which had a certain sour remembrance of better days lingering about them; but it was too sour to be accepted as a sample of the beer that was gone"
  • "blackbeetles ...groped about the hearth in a ponderous way, as if they were short-sighted and hard of hearing, and not on terms with one another"
  • "Joe felt, as I did, that he had made a point there, and he pulled hard at his pipe to keep himself from weaking it by repetition.
    'You see, Pip,' Joe pursued, as soon as he was past that danger

I didn't find the 1st chapter very atmospheric, and Pip isn't overwhelmed by what seems to be his first trip to London (maybe his first trip to a city). Later however, descriptive passages are more common.

Where there could be detail (Pip's age at certain points, dimensions of rooms, etc) analogies are used instead.

I expected characters early in the novel to reappear later, but having them interrelated by marriage is over-closured?

Intrusions like "Whom I can see now, as I write" (p.247) are rare and perhaps expendable.

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