Monday, February 6, 2012

Charles Dickens Tag

Miss Laurie and Alexandra are both hosting celebrations in honor of Charles Dickens' 200th birthday, and they have both provided tags for us all to fill out.  I wanted to do both, but since their tags contain some of the same questions, I just combined the two into one, taking questions from both.  I love hodgepodges.

Miss Laurie's questions

Old-Fashioned Charm

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 :))
My favorites would have to be Little Dorrit (obviously), Bleak House, Our Mutual Friend and Great Expectations.  David Copperfield is really, really good too though.

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...)

Alexandra's questions

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.


Alexandra said...

Thanks for filling out the tag! Love your answers.

Love the culture line from Muppet Christmas Carol. I also love
"Why are you whispering?"
"It's for dramatic emphasis."


"I knew you weren't suited for literature."

And I'm having a post on the musicals later this week...hope you enjoy it! :-)

Melody said...

About your being bored by documentaries, which is, I assume, why you didn't finish the JA one: you should at least watch the end of it, 'cause I want to see if it makes YOU cry. LIMM

I loved your "That "child" seriously needs a good spanking!" =D
(And a high kick in his silly childish face!)

Julia said...

Oh my word, I love that first Charles Dickens quote!

You know, I've never really been very interested in C.D.'s works. I read Oliver Twist and found it very dark, David Copperfield and found it depressing (I didn't like Dora!) But perhaps I was too young to fully appreciate that story, it was a long time ago...

But I desperately want to see the Little Dorrit and Bleak House film adaptations. :) Maybe someday I will! :D

Miss Laurie of Old-Fashioned Charm said...

Thanks for doing the tags, I found your answers highly entertaining!
And would you mind if I linked to your answers in my conclusion post for this week?

Wow! I didn't know you had read so many of his works!
I'm reading A Tale of Two Cities now and trying to truly appreciate it but there's a lot of history in it so some chapters take me a bit to truly grasp his meaning. Very interesting characters though!

I'm looking forward to finding out more about Sydney Carton. I don't really know the story very well but I have an idea of what happens (think I watched a Wishbone version once).

Haha! Harold Skimpole is just awful! Truly does need a good spanking!

Edmund Sparkler is truly funny and Aunt Betsey Trotwood too!

There definitely should be a new film adaptation of 'Two Cities'. I was hoping to find a good one after I finish reading the book but they all seem to be older and not very well cast or made. :(

Poor John Chivery, his story always makes me cry because he is so sweet!

I love The Muppets too! My family watches Muppet Christmas Carol every Christmastime because it is so wonderful! Like you said it really is quite faithful to the book but still has the silliness Muppets fans expect. :)

I didn't know there's a musical for 'Two Cities', I'll have to check that out.

Loved reading your answers dear! :)

Jillian said...

You've read and seen far more Dickens than I have! I'm reading a biography and three of his novels this month in honor of his birthday. :)

You make me REALLY want to read Little Dorrit! :)

Lorren Lemmons said...

I just found your blog, and it is AWESOME. I am looking forward to following along in the future.

Miss Dashwood said...

Ooh, looking forward to your musicals post! I love Muppets Christmas Carol. I feel a review coming on...

I always cry, as you know. :)
So yes, it will probably make me cry. But I shall watch it just for an experiment and let you know how it goes, 'kay?
Haha, I purposefully refrained from using my high kick line (pun not intended) because I felt I'd been overusing it lately--but nevah fear, you used it for me. :)

Oh, you should see Little Dorrit and Bleak House! On the surface they might look like dark stories but they aren't; they're SO beautiful.

Miss Dashwood said...

Miss Laurie,
Thank you for hosting the tag! Of course you may link to my answers. I'm looking forward to re-reading A Tale of Two Cities. It's been quite a long time, and I don't think I appreciated it the first time around. I remember feeling like I was treading water trying to keep up with all the historical events going on, and trying to keep all the characters straight!
I always cry at the end of Little Dorrit when John and his father are standing in the background at the wedding. Poor John!
I think I may post a review of Muppets Christmas Carol this week even if it's not technically a "real" Dickens adaptation.

Oh, you should read Little Dorrit! It's so good!

Thank you for your comment, how nice of you to stop by! Are you a fellow Dickens fan?

Melody said...

Well, you know, when Mouse doesn't use a quote, Nonsensical Girl must. ;-)

Well, let me know if you do watch it.

Ms. Kathleen said...

We have several similar answers! That's a nice surprise. I need to watch Little Dorrit asap. Have a great week :)

Miss Dashwood said...

Ms. Kathleen,
I hope you enjoy Little Dorrit! Thanks for stopping by!

jessica prescott said...

I really enjoyed this post. Sorry to be commenting so late--just wanted to tell you, I've read all of the Pickwick Papers, and the last 2/3 of the book are much, MUCH better (at least I think so). I would highly recommend it, starting with the part where Sam Weller makes his 1st appearance. Don't remember the chapter numbers. Sam Weller and his dad both have an endless stock of hilarious quotes, and I'm betting you'll get a big kick out of them. "if you valley my precious life don't upset me, as the gentleman said to the driver when they was a-carryin' him to Tyburn." (This, as he's being carted off to jail!!)