Dickens Challenge – Bleak House Intro Post

Welcome to this year’s Dickens challenge on Bleak House!  I hope you have read the book…  If not, you should still be able to enjoy these posts and perhaps even participate.

I am calling this post my “Main Challenge Post”.  If you have posts you want to include in the challenge, please link them here or to Yvette’s main challenge post. (Don’t worry too much if you link to other posts, I will find them).

Over the course of the week, I will post five short essays and then post a wrap up on Saturday.  I am going to put links at the bottom of this page as they come up.

I had looked into Dickens’ books before this started, but I read absolutely zero about Bleak House beyond that it is many critics’ absolute favorite Dickens’ works, and some feel it is his most important.  In other words, beyond knowing it was the favorite of many, I went into it “blind”, knowing absolutely nothing about the book. 

(Did I use the word “absolutely” enough in that paragraph? 😉)

I read Bleak House for enjoyment, so I wasn’t really trying to analyze while I read, no more than I would with any other book.  It was very much brain candy.  When I finished, I immediately sat down and wrote five short essays to use for the challenge, the ones I will post Monday through Friday.  So the posts I will be putting up this week are very much first impressions.  (I did refer to the book often as I wrote and did correct a few misunderstandings of a first read. Later I did a few small tweaks, but didn’t change that first impression that I expressed on the first draft.)

This is a huge, complex book so, obviously, I missed many details and most likely a few major plot points.  Maybe I will someday go back and try to catch it all, but I doubt it.  At least not soon…  I did read a little about the book more recently (a couple of essays that are included in the front of the edition I have), and did see some of what I missed from my read, but, for the most part, I left those things out of my posts – as I said, they are first impressions of a casual reader.

So, on to the Challenge!

(Reminder – Not only are Yvette and myself going to do a series of posts, we want others to get involved. We would, of course, love to have others do Bleak House posts themselves, but also encourage discussion on our posts. As an incentive, we are going to put the names of the participants into a drawing for two Amazon gift certificates.)


Important posts and such:

Here are my posts for this challenge:

Monday – Bleak House Overview
Tuesday – Just for Fun (PoVs)
Wednesday – Mr. Skimpole
Thursday – Sir Leicester
Friday – Character Sketches
Saturday – Challenge Recap

Here are Yvette’s posts for this challenge:

Yvette’s Bleak House Challenge A-Z – Yvette gives 26 take-aways from the novel in this great post!
Yvette’s Challenge Opening Remind (Besides a reminder, Yvette is keeping track of the challenge on this post)

Here are all of the pre-challenge and reminder posts (some contain good material for discussion!):

Yvette’s opening post
My opening post
Yvette’s reminder post (includes other material)
My Reminder Post
My Month Countdown Post (London Fog…)
My Last Reminder (Lady Dedlock)
Yvette’s Challenge Opening Reminder

And here are your posts (I’ll add links taken from ones I find on both my posts and Yvette’s posts):

First in: derrickjknight – ‘Bleak House’ Comes To The End
Retirement Reflections – What’s on Your Bookshelf? (June Edition, leading off with Bleak House)
Marsha Ingrao – Always Write – Too Early to Have Coffee Today (Coffee share post with a few Bleak House paragraphs)

Charles Dickens at his Desk in 1858 – This was from Wikimedia and I make no claim to ownership

40 thoughts on “Dickens Challenge – Bleak House Intro Post

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  14. Marsha

    This is such a cool challenge, Trent and Yvette. I am glad you have linked it back and forth so we can follow easily. I’ve enjoyed 2 posts, now three of yours and 2 of Yvette’s to get this ball rolling. It took a lot of time for you two to pull this together. I’m super impressed and will get started reading immediately.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      When it all ends, I’d like this to be a kind of table of contents for everyone’s posts. A good place to check to see what everyone is doing (or if anyone else is doing ;) ).

      Liked by 1 person

        1. trentpmcd Post author

          We haven’t really decided yet. In a comment Yvette mentioned starting Great Expectations. I said, “Hey, maybe we can do that next!” But her response was possible do something shorter… The challenge will be for this same time period next year, so a bit of time to decide. We put up the first post on Dickens’ birthday and then I did a few reminders, the last two with a bit about the book.

          Liked by 1 person

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  18. Marilyn Armstrong

    I haven’t read a book by Dickens in many years. I did when I was a lot younger and less demoralized by the state of the world. I did just read a book ABOUT Dickens that was really entertaining. How accurate it was I don’t know, but it was (at least) upbeat. I’m not in a mental space where I can read this stuff, especially stuff that was supposed to change our world and maybe did — but not for long. It’s too depressing. For me, at least.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. trentpmcd Post author

      It is funny, I read a few articles about Dickens visiting mills in Lowell, MA and how excited he was about how well the workers were treated… At that time we were miles ahead of Britain in how we treated (white) workers. Truthfully, if you compare Britain in 1840 to Britain today, there were huge changes and he was partly to thank for the big turn around. America? No, we are closer to the 1890s when a handful of people owned the country lock stock and barrel. They are so far ahead of us in most ways, though they still have that 1 percent of 1 percent running everything, which has been their way since the Normans took over and forced them into a feudal system, a system we have pretty much recreated…



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