52 in 52 Week 9: David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Happy 200th Birthday,
I'm a bit giddy about finishing this most satisfying read. It took me 10 days, and I did a combination of reading it on my Kindle and listening to the Frederick Davidson narration (which was excellent) as I worked out and read.
Yes, it is very long (because he wrote it in serialized form, maybe?), but Dicken's is so melodic in his prose. That man just knew how to write. He makes effortless similes (unlike most contemporary writers who make it very obvious that they are trying to accomplish that feat and overdo it).
It stuck me just how funny Dickens is too. Yes, the story has some tragic twists and turns, but David also brings out the joy and laughter in life (Aunt Betsy and the donkeys is one example) too!
I read this on the heals of four American tragedies in the Naturalist/Realistic era of literature, and I ran back to Victorian Britain for a good old story where the good guys are really good, and the bad guys are really bad, and good triumphs over evil and true love wins!
Some people have criticized David as being too good a character, but I disagree. He has his weakness, and he grows and matures through the book.
This is often quoted through the book:
“There can be no disparity in marriage like unsuitability of mind and purpose.”
"Annie Strong makes this remark to her husband, Doctor Strong, in Chapter XLV, when Mr. Dick brings the couple together again after Uriah Heep’s deviousness has torn them apart. Annie’s words haunt David in his new marriage to Dora, as he slowly realizes that his and Dora’s characters are irreconcilably different. Dickens indicates that true love must rest on an equality between souls, while equality of age and class is less significant. Equality of purpose is essential for two people to join their lives, fortunes, and futures. Without equality there can be only misunderstanding, and with it a dynamic in which one partner dominates and the other suffers. The most prominent examples of good marriage in David Copperfield are the Strongs’ marriage and David’s marriage to Agnes, both of which exemplify marital bliss in that both couples yearn for mutual happiness and act generously toward each other" (From Sparknotes: David Copperfield).
My husband's favorite quote is:
"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."
- Mr. Micawber, esquire from Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, Ch. 12
Too bad our congress can't take Mr. Micawber's advice!