Woolf and Dickens

Since I posted a review of Mrs. Dalloway today I decided to provide a quote by Virginia Woolf about Charles Dickens and his characters for my post for the Charles Dickens Month hosted by Fig and Thistle.

Virginia Woolf wrote, “we remodel our psychological geography when we read Dickens” as he creates “characters who exist not in detail, not accurately or exactly, but abundantly in a cluster of wild yet extraordinarily revealing remarks, bubble climbing on the top of bubble as the breath of the creator fills them. And the fecundity and apparent ineffectiveness have a strange effect. They make creators of us, and not merely readers and spectators.”

I am just starting my year of reading ten novels by Dickens.  When I complete this task I’ll have to revisit this quote.  For those who have read Dickens, what do you think of her quote?

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American living in England. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs, or reading. Not necessarily in that order.
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16 Responses to Woolf and Dickens

  1. Kate Kresse says:

    It is an apt description. It is so true about Dickens that as I read it I nearly shouted “YES! That’s it!”. Tale of Two Cities is on my list of things to read this month. I have read many of his others. I love Charles Dickens’ books. Thank you for the Virginia Woolf quote.

  2. Caroline says:

    I’m about to post a review right now and the main character of that novel was reading one Dickens novel after the other…. I’m so in the mood to read the only one I have at hand which is Great Expectations. But I’m too busy until February. Bah.

    • TBM says:

      I have read Great Expectations and I’ll be reading it again this year. I loved the novel, but I hated the way we read it in high school. For days our teacher would read the book out loud to us. It was so boring and his voice was monotonous. I’ll pop over and read your review soon.

  3. niasunset says:

    http://photographyofnia.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/8872/
    Thank you dear TBM once again, you are my one of “Candle Lighter”. With my love, nia

  4. Fergiemoto says:

    Nice quote. I find “remodel our psychological geography” intriguing.

  5. carlaat says:

    I love the quote. I read Tale of Two Cities in high school and loved it! I haven’t read much other Dickens, though.

    • TBM says:

      I haven’t read a lot of Dickens either but this year is dedicated to reading ten of his novels in honor of his 200th birthday and the fact that I just moved to London. Seemed like the perfect time.

  6. Jillian ♣ says:

    * They make creators of us, and not merely readers and spectators.*

    This is kind of cool, because I wrote this after my first experience with one of Dickens’ novels (Oliver Twist), last year:

    *It’s like [Dickens] gets you started by manipulating your emotions, and then he pulls back and gives you the wheel… Since he’s no longer manipulating you – you, the reader ‘feel’ the freedom Oliver feels. You are thinking your own thoughts; Dickens is no longer playing you.

    For him, it’s a subliminal way to create a sensation in the reader. Rather than leave it at “Oliver felt trapped,” he traps you! Rather than say only, “Oliver felt free,” he frees you!

    That’s brilliant!*

  7. I thought you might be interested in following this link to the Morgan Library. They are in the middle of a Dickens exhibition and apparently have one of the two largest collections of Dickens material in the world (the other being Victoria and Albert in your neck of the woods).

    http://www.themorgan.org/collections/works/dickens/default

  8. TBM says:

    Thanks! Dickens is one of those writers that fascinates me. I’ll have to check out the link. And the V & A museum is a 20 minute walk from my house. I haven’t been yet, but I will and hopefully soon. Thanks again for the link. I hope all is well in NY!

  9. Kristina says:

    I haven’t read Dickens’s novels, yet… 🙂 I am getting there 🙂 But I’ve seen ‘The great expectations series’ last week. It’s a great story and I totally agree with the quote you posted 🙂 He was some extraordinary men, it’s a shame he died too early and didn’t create more 🙂

    • TBM says:

      I missed the Great Expectations series last week. I read that book in High School and loved it. I’m amazed by how much he wrote and yes it is sad that he wasn’t able to write more. I think he was in his 50s when he died. Such a shame.

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