Miss Laurie's questions
How were you first introduced to Charles Dickens?
I've known the story of A Christmas Carol for as long as I can remember, and my mom read it to us at Christmas several times when I was in elementary school. When I was eleven, I decided it was time to begin reading Big Thick Adult Novels, and so I embarked on Oliver Twist---mostly because I wanted to impress my grandfather, an avid Dickens and Hemingway reader. I don't remember what his reaction was when I proudly told him I was halfway through Oliver Twist, but I do remember a certain sense of accomplishment mixed with exhaustion when I finished the book.
*Edit*: Actually, my first exposure to Dickens' works came when I was about three or four. My grandmother had one of those Shirley Temple fairy tale books, and one of the stories in it was Dickens' The Magic Fishbone, which incidentally was my favorite. :) Of course, little did I know that someday that author would become one of my absolute favorites of all time.
Which Charles Dickens novels and stories have you read? Which are your favorites?
In chronological order, I've read:
- A Christmas Carol
- Oliver Twist
- The Pickwick Papers (well, only about 1/3 of this because I got bored with it)
- Nicholas Nickleby
- David Copperfield
- A Tale of Two Cities
- Great Expectations
- Martin Chuzzlewit
- Little Dorrit
- Bleak House
- Our Mutual Friend
- Great Expectations (again--liked it MUCH better the second time around)
- David Copperfield (currently re-reading because I didn't get much out of it the first time :))
Which Charles Dickens novel(s) do you most want to read?
The Mystery of Edwin Drood... eventually. :) And I want to re-read A Tale of Two Cities. Reading it in seventh grade while studying the French Revolution was fun (first assigned-reading book that ever made me cry... imagine CRYING over SCHOOL!) but I want to read it again and, you know, appreciate it. ;)
What are your favorite Charles Dickens quotes (up to three)?
"There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate." ~Charles Dickens (i.e., not from a book, as far as I know)
"In a word, I was too cowardly to do what I knew to be right, as I had been too cowardly to avoid doing what I knew to be wrong." (Great Expectations, spoken by Pip, the narrator)
"It is a far, far better thing that I do than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known." (A Tale of Two Cities, spoken by Sydney Carton... tearing up...)
Who are your Top 3 favorite Dickens heroines? and why?
-Amy Dorrit (because she's sweet, honorable, gentle, self-effacing and loving)
-Esther Summerson (because she's loyal, strong, generous, unselfish and friendly)
-Bella Wilfer (because she starts out as a spoiled brat and matures into a lovely young woman with a heart for others)
Who are your Top 3 favorite Dickens heroes? and why?
-Arthur Clennam of Little Dorrit (because he's kind, caring and just an all-around Mr. Nice Guy)
-John Jarndyce of Bleak House (because he's self-sacrificial, generous, thoughtful and sympathetic)
-Sydney Carton of A Tale of Two Cities (because... just read A Tale of Two Cities. 'Nuff said.)
Which three Dickens villains do you most love to hate?
-Harold Skimpole of Bleak House (this "child" needs a good spanking)
-Uriah Heep of David Copperfield (this guy seriously creeps me out)
-Mr. Pecksniff of Martin Chuzzlewit (just... ugh. But he's funny. :P)
Which Dickens characters (up to three) do you find the most funny?
-Edmund Sparkler (Little Dorrit)
-Aunt Betsey Trotwood (David Copperfield)
-Mr. F's Aunt (Little Dorrit)
If you could authorize a new film adaptation of one of Dickens's novels, which would it be and why?
A Tale of Two Cities... because as far as I know there isn't one definitive, truly great film adaptation of that book.
If you could have lunch with Charles Dickens today, what question would you most like to ask him?
"What, exactly, do you have against poor John Chivery, pray tell? Why couldn't he have had a happy ending?"
Have you ever read a Dickens biography or watched a biographical film about him?
I've read a biography or two, but they're, erm, juvenile biographies. I've never seen a biographical film about him (those kind of documentaries sadly tend to put me to sleep...)
How many Dickens adaptations have you seen?
Five. Oliver! (1968--yes that counts), Great Expectations (1999--aka the William Wilberforce and Molly Gibson one), Little Dorrit (2008), Bleak House (2005) and The Muppets' Christmas Carol (1992--yep, that counts too :P).
Which Dickens adaptation is your favorite?
Hmm... let me think. For a nanosecond. Little Dorrit, of course!
Have you seen multiple versions of A Christmas Carol? Which version is your favorite?
Only one, the Muppet one--but it's awesome. Really, if you haven't seen it you should. It's faithful to the novel while still being... muppetish.
"Mr. Dickens, don't you think the Ghost of the Christmas Yet To Come is going to be too scary for the kids?"
"Nah, they'll be fine. It's culture."
Who is your favorite Dickens villain and (if applicable) who does your favorite portrayal of them?
Well, this question can be interpreted two ways. It could mean "which Dickens villain do you actually like" or "which villain is the most villainous" and I choose to answer the latter. So, I'd have to say it would be either Mr. Tulkinghorn (Charles Dance) in Bleak House or Rigaud (Andy Serkis) in Little Dorrit.
Have you seen any musical adaptations of any of Dickens’ stories? If so, which is your favorite song from it?
I've only seen Oliver!, but I'd love to see the A Tale of Two Cities musical. My favorite song would probably have to be "As Long as He Needs Me" from Oliver!... but "I'd Do Anything" comes close.