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Monday, April 27, 2009

The History of The Old Curiosity Shop

The novel was first published in 1840 in the weekly periodical Master Humphrey's Clock and was the only novel Dickens began publishing before he finished writing it. Originally planned as a short story, the growing success of the serial caused Dickens to extend the story into novel form. Despite this success, the writing of the novel, particularly the final installment, proved taxing for Dickens, who felt a special attachment to Nell, who was based on his sister-in-law.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Currently reading

Right now I am reading the Dickens novel The Old Curiosity Shop (TOCS). This is Dickens' 4th novel, although the earliest novel of his I have read. It tells the story of Little Nell (LN) and Grandfather Trent (GT) and their attempt to flee the evil Quilp. Like every Dickens novel, TOCS contains memorable minor characters, such as the harsh siblings Sally and Sampson Brass, the honorable Kit Nubbles, and the neglected Marchioness.

One of the redeeming qualities of the book is the difficult journey through the English countryside in which the reader is allowed to participate by trudging through the description of the journey, often coming to periods of rest in which we meet many caricatures before being forced to begin the journey once more. This technique allows the reader to empathize with the fatigue our travelers must endure.


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