David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens
when Ham cut a terrible figure against the stormy sea, and said he could see the end of it all
Mr.Pegotty’s Boat House.
I have always had a complicated thing about classics, growing up. I mostly only read them if I liked them enough. I still do actually. or maybe it was just hard to read very small print on thin yellowing pages, falling apart, which is how most of the libraries in my life keep classics.
David Copperfield. I read the abridged version years ago, and after several failed attempts, finally finished the original on kindle. You can zoom in so that was probably why haha. Obviously it was a simply gastflooming flunderwunder experience! (lol Roald Dahl inspiration)
Anyway. The retrospect parts made me think of a river that had a cold grey blue world in it, mixed with dust and bits of soul, kind of like the river of souls that Tanaqui has to pass through in the Spellcoats, by Diana Wynne Jones. Each soul in that river is a dead person. They look as if they want Tanaqui and David to remember.
David’s early life was much more exciting than the rest, which was exciting in bits. But I think that might even have been a cliche that the author wanted to avoid- of a terribly tragic story until the end being worth telling over any other.
The rest was exciting in bits, like when David moves into London for the first time and continues to be beguiled by Steerforth, or the random meetings with the Micawbers, Aunt Betsy’s wonderful wackiness (my favorite character!) And anything really to do with Emily.
I felt that it was overly sentimental at times, especially with Agnes and sometimes Traddles.I felt like it was not a genre that I would normally read if it was a modern book. There were some things that made me wonder about how there will be things in writing today that 100 years from now people will see that we couldn’t see now. For example, the fact that immigrants to Australia of that time would have been taking part in the mass genocide of the original people of that land. (sorrowfully that is something that we still don’t see truly really).
And of course there was the beautiful humanizing way of talking about poorer people, through which Dickens helped to change his world.
That said, David Copperfield is really worth reading (especially on font enlarging Kindle) (and I say this to the those who , like me, have complicated relationships with classics) and not just because of the obvious reasons. It has a sad, wistful, musical quality to it, full of a kind of sorrow that never leaves. Its out of place with its happy ending. And it’s something that expresses …that is timeless.