Bleak House

by Charles Dickens

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One Of The Greatest Novels By Charles Dickens. Equally Gripping, Touching, And Thought-Provoking. Download The Bleak House, READ online FREE or buy:

Charles Dickens is known today as one of the legendary English writers of the XIX century. His novels are very popular and people still get inspiration, motivation, and encouragement from the author more than 150 years later. As for Bleak House, some critics are calling it the master’s best work. It first saw the light of day in 1852 (March, to be exact) in a serialized form.

Bleak House Summary

Esther is the main character of the novel, and, even though the book comes with numerous characters and tiny plots, the events are told mostly by her. There’s also a so-called “omniscient” narrator who tells the other part of the tale. Bleak House is focused on a turbulent legal case that made a lot of noise due to the fact that a gentleman wrote not one, but several wills that didn’t seem to work with each other.

As always, Dickens doesn’t just write a simple story, and this time around, he uses this case to speak up about the corrupt and ridiculous judicial system in the United Kingdom. Back in the day, the writer used to be a law clerk, and that experience allowed him to create an overwhelming picture of all the flaws of the system in the 19th century.

The Case Of All Cases

Sir Dedlock spends his days and nights with his fancy wife in his gorgeous estate. He has no clue that his beloved woman used to be romantically involved with another gentleman. He was a good-looking man, and the two were together before Honoria – the wife – met Dedlock and married him.

They had a child, a little girl, but the woman believes that she’s gone. However, she’s alive and well. The kiddo has grown into a beautiful child. Miss Barbary, her biological mother’s sister, has been raising the girl like her own.

Yet, Esther doesn’t know that she’s living with her aunt. After the kind-hearted woman passes away, Mr. Jarndyce becomes her official guardian. The girl goes to school for 6 straight years and then moves in with the man. Eventually, she learns of her roots and that turns her entire world upside down.

Bleak House Themes

Charles Dickens was a known champion of the poor and the offended and used his books to raise public awareness and to encourage the regular folks to stand up for what they believed in. Now, even though people from the legal circles criticized this book a lot for exaggerating every little thing about the judicial system, after Dickens published this novel, changes followed.

A mighty movement demanding reforms in the system followed and it was successful. That’s one of the greatest things about Charles Dickens. His stories are gripping, moving, heart-warming and heart-wrenching, no doubt about that. But, more importantly, they’re educational, thought-provoking and uplifting for the haggard and the tormented working class.

Charles Dickens Wrote About People Around Him

The critics are still arguing about the exact year when the novel is set. Sir Holdsworth, a renowned historian, claims that the events take place in 1827. Others point to the fact that Dickens mentions the building of a huge railway, which means the story is set during the 1830s.

Dickens was a big fan of writing about real people, places, and events of his time and changing their names to make them look like original characters. That allowed him to draw an extremely accurate picture of the 19th century England.

Criticism For Bleak House By Charles Dickens

The master is known for using questionable writing techniques in his novels. In A Tale Of Two Cities, he used French idioms to make his characters more engaging and memorable. Yet, the readers didn’t appreciate that at all. In Bleak House, he chose a rather unorthodox narrative method, probably hoping to create a complex image of his characters and the events.

The novel is told both by a 1st-person narrator, which is Esther, the heroine of the book, and by a 3rd-person narrator who doesn’t take any sides and simply shares the story in the present tense. Esther, in turn, is only concerned with her own life and her own story (which is told in past tense). She’s a very open, inviting person, and is not afraid to share her own thoughts, hopes, and dreams with the readers.

Nabokov, the famous Russian writer, criticized this “double-vision” narrative and thought that Esther’s presence ruined it all. On the other hand, Mr. Zwerdling, a scholar of Dickens, claimed that this unusual approach allowed the writer to fully express himself and his ideas.

Esther As An Ideal Young Woman Of The 19th Century

During the Victorian days, girls and women were modest and humble. At the same time, they had their opinions and wanted their voices to be heard. Esther is very shy and doesn’t really believe in her own strength. She claims that she’s not particularly clever and that it was probably a mistake to start writing in the first place.

However, she’s got enough skills and wisdom to keep the readers excited and entertained. Her hilarious observations and unbreakable moral compass turn her into one of the greatest characters of her time. Dickens was a champion of equal rights and wanted to help young women accomplish more than society expected from them.

The Real Bleak House

There’s a gorgeous house in Broadstairs that carries the name of the novel, but Dickens didn’t write about it. In fact, he only stayed there with his big, loving family. They really loved it and used to spend 1-2 months there during the 1839-1851 period.

So, did that house inspire the man to write the book? Maybe, but, in all fairness, it was just a place that he loved to relax with his loved ones. It was renamed to Bleak House after his passing. The fictional house is in St Albans. That means if you want a full tour, you’ll have to visit both places to get a full picture.

Bleak House Movie Adaptations

As a monumental novel, Bleak House has inspired countless directors, screenwriters, producers and even people from other industries to follow Dickens’s guidelines and try to capture the very essence of this resonating story. In 1876, there was a highly successful play in London. Another one premiered in 1893.

In 1901, 115 years ago, a short movie came out, and it’s the first film adaptation of the masterpiece (at least among the ones that survived to this day). It was focused on Jo, one of the main characters of Bleak House. Two silent releases hit the theaters in 1920/1922.

As for the TV adaptations, the first one arrived in 1959. The second one came around in 1985. In 2005, a new show aired on BBC’s channel. It received numerous positive reviews both from the critics and the fans and won numerous international awards.

The movie cast included the beautiful Anderson and the legendary Dance, among others. Love, hate, major plot twists, and A-grade acting have turned this show into one of the greatest classic adaptations in history. The first radio version arrived at the end of the 20th century – in 1998. BBC Radio 4 created a 5-hour-long edition with 1-hour episodes.

Summing Up

If you’re a fan of Charles Dickens’s work, then you probably know that his heart was aching for his country and that he wanted people to face the challenges of their time with open minds and loving hearts. Every single grand novel by Dickens talks about at least one major problem.

Religion, inequality, the flaws of the judicial system, the barbaric laws that choke the hard-working men and women, discrimination and hate are among the main themes that the legendary writer includes in his masterpieces. He was never politically correct, and that is why his scholars are calling him a true visionary and a freedom fighter.

Bleak House is a brilliantly written novel with an impeccable style, a huge line-up of charismatic and multi-layered characters (which is not really something Dickens is famous for) and a blood-rushing plot. It will be perfect for the readers who are just getting to know the famed writer.


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