The Imagination of Charles Dickens
There may be better novelists in the English language, but there is no greater writer than Charles Dickens (1812-1870). Forget the plots. Dickens’ capacity to explore the gritty underworld of mid-nineteenth century London, his comic genius, his indictments of the British legal system, his sympathy for those exploited or left behind by the industrial revolution, and the sheer exuberance of his use of the English language, make him unique among all writers. His great characters—Pickwick, Uriah Heep, Mr. Micawber, Jaggers, Miss Havisham, Mrs. Jellyby, &c.—have risen out of the pages of his books to become permanent residents in the human imagination.
We’ll read just four of his fifteen novels: The Pickwick Papers, David Copperfield, Great Expectations, and Bleak House. Each of them is magnificent in its own way. The retreat will include a special Dickens feast: potato and leek soup, roast turkey, British Christmas pudding, mince pie with clotted cream, and several types of punch.
Clay writes: “There is, for me, no greater joy than spending an evening in the reading Zone with Dickens. There is something uncanny, brilliantly whimsical, tragicomic, and deeply life affirming in Dickens’ prose. I cannot wait to explore his genius with old friends and new at Lochsa Lodge.”