Classic Lit: Reading David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Contributor Angela Vincent | The Black Lion Journal | The Black Lion
by Angela Vincent
After taking a mid-way break to read two other books, I completed David Copperfield, with a heartfelt sigh of relief, 1 month after I started it. Not because I didn’t enjoy it; it was just very long (a little shy of 1000 pages) and quite heavy to hold when balancing it with one hand while reading on a packed tube.

Now that I’ve come to review it I barely know where to start. It such an epic tome with so much packed into those 1000 pages that I’m actually a little lost for words. I didn’t come to David Copperfield as a Dickens newbie. I’m not an extensive reader of Dickens but I’ve read Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol (often) and Great Expectations, which I love. I did come to it, though, as some one who is used to whizzing through books quite quickly; but David Copperfield is not a book to whizz through. Much earlier in the year — January to be exact — after realizing that I hadn’t read too many classics, I set myself the task of reading 5 classics of literature before the end of 2016. David Copperfield was one of those 5. I chose it because it was Dickens’s personal favorite of all his novels. This seemed like a good recommendation to me.

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As the title might suggest, this is the story of David Copperfield. It spans his journey through life from orphan to doting husband to successful author. It chronicles his adventures and the myriad of characters he meets along the way. All told in his own words.

“I have elsewhere said, this narrative is my written memory. I have desired to keep the most secret current of my mind apart and to the last I enter it now”

As with all of Dickens’s stories the characters are key and there are some truly awful characters here. The wicked stepfather Mr Murdstone; the abhorrent Uriah Heep; and dare I say it — I struggled to feel any affection for the simpering child-bride Dora, and felt none at all for her dreadful yappy dog Jip. However as an antidote, there are also characters such as Mr and Mrs Micawber of whom I could not get enough of, specifically his particular eccentricities, which were particularly endearing.

“He had provided himself among other things with a complete suit of oil-skin, and a straw-hat with a very low crown pitched or caulked on the outside. In this rough clothing, with a common mariners telescope under his arm, and a shrewd trick of casting up his eye at the sky s looking out for dirty weather, he was far more nautical, after his manner than Mr Peggotty. His whole family, if I may so express it were cleared for action”

There are so many events and characters in this novel that I sometimes found it hard to keep track of what had gone before, but that is more my issue with attention span and amnesia than it is with Dickens’s ability to write in an engaging way. David Copperfield was engaging and I got to the end of it feeling very pleased to have read it and to have been immersed in Dickensian England, with its poverty, excesses, and complicated things going on. I’m not sure what my next Dickens read will be but I may go for something a little shorter.

Classic Lit: Reading David Copperfield by Charles Dickens | Angela Vincent Of Changing Pages | The Black Lion Journal | The Black Lion | Black Lion
“David Copperfield was engaging and I got to the end of it feeling very pleased to have read it”

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¡PSST! © 2016 Angela Vincent of Changing Pages. Repost © 2016 The Black Lion Journal. Book cover image found on Pinterest. Header image from Changing Pages.

A Contributor Submission Shared With Permission. Visit The Submissions page to learn about submitting to individual sections or to The Wire’s Dream. P.S. Use the social media links below to share with others.

 

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