Dickens Quotes


Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six , result happiness.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery

Advice    Copperfield    Debt    Dickens    Frugality    Income    Micawber    Money    Motivational    Pecuniary

LONDON. Michaelmas Term lately over, and the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincoln’s Inn Hall. Implacable November weather. As much mud in the streets as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth, and it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill. Smoke lowering down from chimney-pots, making a soft black drizzle, with flakes of soot in it as big as full-grown snow-flakes — gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sun. Dogs, undistinguishable in mire. Horses, scarcely better; splashed to their very blinkers. Foot passengers, jostling one another’s umbrellas in a general infection of ill-temper, and losing their foot-hold at street-corners, where tens of thousands of other foot passengers have been slipping and sliding since the day broke (if the day ever broke), adding new deposits to the crust upon crust of mud, sticking at those points tenaciously to the pavement, and accumulating at compound interest.
Fog everywhere. Fog up the river, where it flows among green aits and meadows; fog down the river, where it rolls defiled among the tiers of shipping and the waterside pollutions of a great (and dirty) city. Fog on the Essex marshes, fog on the Kentish heights. Fog creeping into the cabooses of collier-brigs; fog lying out on the yards, and hovering in the rigging of great ships; fog drooping on the gunwales of barges and small boats. Fog in the eyes and throats of ancient Greenwich pensioners, wheezing by the firesides of their wards; fog in the stem and bowl of the afternoon pipe of the wrathful skipper, down in his close cabin; fog cruelly pinching the toes and fingers of his shivering little ’prentice boy on deck. Chance people on the bridges peeping over the parapets into a nether sky of fog, with fog all round them, as if they were up in a balloon, and hanging in the misty clouds.
Gas looming through the fog in divers places in the streets, much as the sun may, from the spongey fields, be seen to loom by husbandman and ploughboy. Most of the shops lighted two hours before their time — as the gas seems to know, for it has a haggard and unwilling look.
The raw afternoon is rawest, and the dense fog is densest, and the muddy streets are muddiest near that leaden-headed old obstruction, appropriate ornament for the threshold of a leaden-headed old corporation, Temple Bar. And hard by Temple Bar, in Lincoln’s Inn Hall, at the very heart of the fog, sits the Lord High Chancellor in his High Court of Chancery.

Bleak House

Charles Dickens

Bleak House

Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!

The Pickwick Papers

Charles Dickens

The Pickwick Papers
Childhood    Christmas    Dickens    Home    Youth

Mr Lorry asks the witness questions:
Ever been kicked?
Might have been.
Frequently? No. Ever kicked down stairs?
Decidedly not; once received a kick at the top of a staircase, and fell down stairs of his own accord.

A Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities
Courtroom    Dickens    Humor    Lie    Witness

You are hard at work madam ," said the man near her.
Yes," Answered Madam Defarge ; " I have a good deal to do."
What do you make, Madam ?"
Many things."
For instance ---"
For instance," returned Madam Defarge , composedly ,
Shrouds."
The man moved a little further away, as soon as he could, feeling it mightily close and oppressive .

A Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities
Dickens    France    Funny    Humor    Mob    Revolution    Rude    Shrouds

A heart well worth winning, and well won. A heart that, once won, goes through fire and water for the winner, and never changes, and is never daunted.

Our Mutual Friend

Charles Dickens

Our Mutual Friend

We are now ready to tackle Dickens. We are now ready to embrace Dickens. We are now ready to bask in Dickens. In our dealings with Jane Austen we had to make a certain effort to join the ladies in the drawing room. In the case of Dickens we remain at table with our tawny port. With Dickens we expand. It seems to me that Jane Austen's fiction had been a charming re-arrangement of old-fashioned values. In the case of Dickens, the values are new. Modern authors still get drunk on his vintage. Here, there is no problem of approach as with Austen, no courtship, no dallying. We just surrender ourselves to Dickens' voice--that is all. If it were possible I would like to devote fifty minutes of every class meeting to mute meditation, concentration, and admiration of Dickens. However my job is to direct and rationalize those meditations, that admiration. All we have to do when reading Bleak House is to relax and let our spines take over. Although we read with our minds, the seat of artistic delight is between the shoulder-blades. That little shiver behind is quite certainly the highest form of emotion that humanity has attained when evolving pure art and pure science. Let us worship the spine and its tingle. Let us be proud of being vertebrates, for we are vertebrates tipped at the head with a divine flame. The brain only continues the spine, the wick really runs through the whole length of the candle. If we are not capable of enjoying that shiver, if we cannot enjoy literature, then let us give up the whole thing and concentrate on our comics, our videos, our books-of-the-week. But I think Dickens will prove stronger.

Lectures on Literature

Vladimir Nabokov

Lectures on Literature

Where would David Copperfield be if Dickens had gone to writing classes? Probably about seventy minor characters short, is where. (Did you know that Dickens is estimated to have invented thirteen thousand characters? Thirteen thousand! The population of a small town!)

Good for Christmas-time is the ruddy colour of the cloak in which--the tree making a forest of itself for her to trip through, with her basket--Little Red Riding-Hood comes to me one Christmas Eve to give me information of the cruelty and treachery of that dissembling Wolf who ate her grandmother, without making any impression on his appetite, and then ate her, after making that ferocious joke about his teeth. She was my first love. I felt that if I could have married Little Red Riding-Hood, I should have known perfect bliss. But, it was not to be; and there was nothing for it but to look out the Wolf in the Noah's Ark there, and put him late in the procession on the table, as a monster who was to be degraded.

A Christmas Tree

Charles Dickens

A Christmas Tree

That, they never could lay their heads upon their pillows; that, they could never tolerate the idea of their wives laying their heads upon their pillows; that, they could never endure the notion of their children laying their heads on their pillows; in short , that there never more could be , for them or theirs , any laying of heads upon pillows at all , unless the prisioner's head was taken off.
The Attorney General during the trial of Mr. Darnay

A Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities
Court    Dickens    Funny    Heads    Humor

Scrooge followed to the window: desperate in his curiosity. He looked out.
The air was filled with phantoms, wandering hither and thither in restless haste, and moaning as they went. Every one of them wore chains like Marley's Ghost; some few (they might be guilty governments) were linked together; none were free. Many had been personally known to Scrooge in their lives. He had been quite familiar with one old ghost, in a white waistcoat, with a monstrous iron safe attached to its ankle, who cried piteously at being unable to assist a wretched woman with an infant, whom it saw below, upon a door-step. The misery with them all was, clearly, that they sought to interfere, for good, in human matters, and had lost the power for ever

A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol

A Dickens character to me is a theatrical projection of a character. Not that it isn't real. It's real, but in that removed sense. But Sherlock Holmes is simply there. I would be astonished if I went to 221 1/2 B Baker Street and didn't find him."
[
An Invitation to Learning
, January 1942]

...the cab of the truck heated up nicely, its windows fogging. I felt like a Dickens character. I thought about explaining that to Mouse, just to occupy my thoughts, but he was suffering enough without being forced to endure Dickens, even by proxy.

Small Favor

Jim Butcher

Small Favor

I sit in my room like Miss Havisham, about whom I have been reading this week. Better the Dickens you know than the Dickens you don't know - on the whole I enjoyed it. But I should like to say something about this 'irrepressible vitality', this 'throwing a fresh handful of characters on the fire when it burns low', in fact the whole Dickens method - it strikes me as being less ebullient, creative, vital, than hectic, nervy, panic-stricken. If he were a person I should say 'You don't have to entertain me, you know. I'm quite happy just sitting here.' This jerking of your attention, with queer names, queer characters, aggressive rhythms, piling on adjectives - seems to me to betray basic insecurity in his relation with the reader. How serenely Trollope, for instance, compares. I say in all seriousness that, say what you like about Dickens as an entertainer, he cannot be considered as a real writer at all; not a real novelist. His is the garish gaslit melodramatic barn (writing that phrase makes me wonder if I'm right!) where the yokels gape: outside is the calm measureless world, where the characters of Eliot, Trollope, Austen, Hardy (most of them) and Lawrence (some of them) have their being.

In his novels from beginning to end, Dickens is making the same point always: that to the English governing classes the people they govern are not real.

As I know only too well, anticipation od happiness can sometimes be as gratifying as its consummation. Even during the first months of my separation, every footstep on the pavement would have me racing to the window, and every ring of the doorbell would set my heart beating as fast as a bird's. But as the months went by without even a word, I gradually had to relinquish my hopes of seeing him again. It was not easy to do so, and I am not sure whether I have managed it entirely; however I did stop waking with that thought in my head, imagining what he was doing every hour of the day, and whether his journey would by chance take him past my door. I tried to tell myself instead that I was fortunate in my neglect; that now I needed have no fear that he would arrive and his gimlet eye start to anatomize the cushions, or the curtains, or the state of the fireplace; that now, at last, my life was my own. But truth to tell, I would have given anything to see him walk with his jaunty step up to my front door and rap out a cheerful rhythm with his silver-topped cane.

(On Charles Dickens) It has been the peculiarity and the marvel of this man’s power, that he has invested his puppets with a charm that has enabled him to dispense with human nature.

(from his random observations after reading David Copperfield by Charles Dickens)
In the Old Curiosity Shop I discovered that in the character of Dick Swiveller, Dickens provided P.G. Wodehouse with pretty much the whole of his oeuvre. In David Copperfield, David's bosses Spenlow and Jorkins are what must be the earliest fictional representations of good cop/bad cop.

Mrs. Pocket was at home, and was in a little difficulty, on account of the baby's having been accommodated with a needle case to keep him quiet during the unaccountable absence (with a relative in the Foot Guards) of Millers. And more needles were missing than it could be regarded as quite wholesome for a patient of such tender years either to apply externally or to take as a tonic.

Dad used to read aloud to us from Dickens and Kipling. My tastes were omnivorous. I read anything I could lay my hands on, but the memory that stays with me is that of my father reading the Jungle Books to us when we were young. Beautiful stories!

You don't know how you haunt and bewilder me. You don't know how the cursed carelessness that is over-officious in helping me at every other turning of my life WON'T help me here. You have struck it dead, I think, and I sometimes wish you had struck me dead along with it.

And let us not remember Italy the less regardfully, because, in every fragment of her fallen Temples, and every stone of her deserted palaces and prisons, she helps to inculcate the lesson that the wheel of Time is rolling for an end, and that the world is, in all great essentials, better, gentler, more forbearing, and more hopeful, as it rolls!

Dickens    Italy    Time

Follow those rats! They may lead us back to Muggins!

Dickens' plots are his most discardable properties, and often have to be pushed aside to let the strange poetry of his imagination emerge.

The year was dying early, the leaves were falling fast, it was a raw cold day when we took possession, and the gloom of the house was most depressing. The cook (an amiable woman, but of a weak turn of intellect) burst into tears on beholding the kitchen, and requested that her silver watch might be delivered over to her sister (2 Tuppintock’s Gardens, Liggs’s Walk, Clapham Rise), in the event of anything happening to her from the damp. Streaker, the housemaid, feigned cheerfulness, but was the greater martyr. The Odd Girl, who had never been in the country, alone was pleased, and made arrangements for sowing an acorn in the garden outside the scullery window, and rearing an oak.

The master was the light of her life. And I always says that the ones who quarrels takes the loss the hardest in the end. It's regrets, isn't it? All they didn't say or do. She'll feel it more than the rest, mark my words

Dickens' hypocrites are the prime beneficiaries of his inventive genius. The heroes and heroines have no imagination. We could scrap all the solemn parts of his novels without impairing his status as a writer. But we could not remove Mrs. Gamp or Pecksniff or Bounderby without maiming him irreparably.

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