‘Recalled to life’: Bleak House and The Man in Black

I’ve always thought that Bleak House is Dickens’ masterpiece – not just a vast panorama of contemporary London, from the highest to the lowest, but a rich compilation of literary genres from social commentary, to psychological drama, to mystery thriller. You can say something similar of most of his novels, of course, but in BleakContinue reading “‘Recalled to life’: Bleak House and The Man in Black”

The Gothic novel, then and now

One thing you can say about Gothic –whether you’re a reader or a writer – it’s the gift that keeps on giving – from Hammer to The Hunger to the seemingly endless series Frankenstein remakes. And of course we have the vampire vibe that refuses to die – not just Twilight and True Blood, butContinue reading “The Gothic novel, then and now”

Bleak House, Dickens’ masterpiece

I’m sure I’m not the only Dickens fan who’s been both surprised and exhilarated to see how much interest has been generated by his bicentenary. Adaptations, exhibitions, new biographies, special events, and – last October – a poll in the Guardian newspaper asking readers to vote for their favourite novel. The winner, fairly comfortably, was Great Expectations, followed by BleakContinue reading “Bleak House, Dickens’ masterpiece”

‘A Dickensian novel for the 21st century’

An interview for the Foyles blog in 2012, updated 2022 What are the challenges of writing a Dickensian novel for the 21st century? Interesting question! I suppose I would say that there are challenges that I chose not to take up, and challenges I couldn’t avoid. The most obvious example of the first was myContinue reading “‘A Dickensian novel for the 21st century’”

Revisiting Dickens’ London

One thing everyone knows about Dickens – whether they’ve read him or not – is that he is London’s literary patron saint.  Whole generations have grown up seeing Victorian London through his eyes, from  the grime on the streets to the phoney glitter of the Veneering house in Our Mutual Friend, where everything is ‘in aContinue reading “Revisiting Dickens’ London”

Following in Dickens’ footsteps

2012 is a year of Dickens anniversaries – a major one for him, and what’s turned out to be quite a significant one for me.  It’s his bicentenary, of course, but it will also be 30 years since I first read Bleak House. I know that because I wrote an essay on it in my firstContinue reading “Following in Dickens’ footsteps”