Monday, February 7, 2011

You're a Good Man, Charles Dickens!

Today is the anniversary of Charles Dickens, one of my dearest literary loves. There's not much that I could say that would appropriately commemorate this momentous day, so I will leave you with a passage about one of my favorite characters (Arthur Clennam) from one of my favorite Dickens novels (Little Dorrit).

He was a dreamer in such wise, because he was a man who had deep-rooted in his nature, a belief in all the gentle and good things his life had been without. Bred in meanness and hard dealing, this had rescued him to be a man of honorable mind and open hand. Bred in coldness and severity, this had rescued him to have a warm and sympathetic heart. Bred in a creed too darkly audacious to pursue, through its process of reversing the making of man in the image of his Creator to the making of his Creator in the image of an erring man, this had rescued him to judge not, and in humility to be merciful, and have hope and charity.

And this saved him still from the shimpering weakness and cruel selfishness of holding that because such a happiness or such a virtue had not come into his little path, or worked well for him, therefore it was not in the great scheme, but was reducible, when found in appearance, to the basest elements. A disappointed mind he had, but a mind too firm and healthy for such unwholesome air. Leaving himself in the dark, it could rise into the light, seeing it shine on others and hailing it.

6 comments:

JoAnn said...

I saw it was Dicken's birthday in my Writer's Almanac e-mail this morning. Since conquering Bleak House, I've been trying to decide which Dickens will be next ...David Copperfield? Little Dorrit?

Read the Book said...

They are both wonderful, but I do love Little Dorrit!

Stacy said...

JoAnn - I say Little Dorrit:)

Read the Book - I was thinking about his birthday yesterday and just how grateful I am for his coming into the world. His books are a true source of happiness in my life:)

Read the Book said...

Stacy, I know! Charles Dickens = instant happiness! And without Charles Dickens, there would be no Arthur Clennam....and it would be a dark world, indeed, without Arthur Clennam!

LifetimeReader said...

What a nice birthday tribute. I've never read Little Dorrit but it sounds like one to add to my list.

Read the Book said...

Lifetime, you should definitely read Little Dorrit ASAP!