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30 mars 2012 5 30 /03 /mars /2012 04:09

DEVELOPMENT

After 2001: A Space Odyssey, Kubrick made plans for a film about Napoleon Bonaparte. During pre-production, however, Sergei Bondarchuk and Dino De Laurentiis' Waterloowas released and subsequently failed at the box office. As a result, Sony VGN-CS17H Battery

Kubrick's financiers pulled their funding for the film. He was furious, having put considerable time and effort into the development of the Napoleon project. Left with no alternative, he turned his attention to his next film, A Clockwork Orange. Subsequently, Sony VGN-CS17H/B Battery

Kubrick showed an interest in Thackeray's Vanity Fair but dropped the project when a serialised version for television was produced. He told an interviewer, "At one time, Vanity Fair interested me as a possible film but, in the end, I decided the story could not be successfully compressed into the relatively short time-span of a feature film...as soon as I read Barry Lyndon I became very excited about it."[6] Sony VGN-CS17H/W Battery

 

Having garnered Oscar nominations for Dr Strangelove2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange, Kubrick's reputation in the early 1970s was that of "a perfectionistauteur who loomed larger over his movies than any concept or star."[5] Sony VGN-CS19 Battery

His studio—Warner Bros.—was therefore "eager to bankroll" his next project, which Kubrick kept "shrouded in secrecy" from the press partly due to the furor surrounding the controversially violent A Clockwork Orange (particularly in the UK) and partly due to his "long-standingparanoia about the tabloid press."[5] Sony VGN-CS19/B Battery

 

Having felt compelled to set aside his plans for a film about Napoleon Bonaparte, Kubrick set his sights on Thackeray's 1844 "satirical picaresque about the fortune-hunting of an Irish rogue," Barry Lyndon, the setting of which allowed Kubrick to take advantage of the copious period research Kubrick had done for the now-aborted Napoleon.[5] Sony VGN-CS25H/B Battery

At the time, Kubrick merely announced only that his next film would star Ryan O'Neal (deemed "a seemingly un-Kubricky choice of leading man"[5]) and Marisa Berenson, a former Vogueand Time magazine cover model, and be shot largely in Ireland.[5] Sony VGN-FW17 Battery

 So heightened was the secrecy surrounding the film that "Even Berenson, when Kubrick first approached her, was told only that it was to be an 18th-century costume piece [and] she was instructed to keep out of the sun in the months before production, to achieve the period-specific pallor he required."[5] Sony VGN-FW17/B Battery

 

PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY

Principal photography took 300 days, from spring 1973 through early 1974, with a break for Christmas.

Many of the film's exteriors were shot in Ireland, playing "itself, England, and Prussiaduring the Seven Years' War."[5] Sony VGN-FW17/W Battery

Drawing inspiration from "the landscapes of Watteau andGainsborough," Kubrick and cinematographer Alcott also relied on the "scrupulously researched art direction" of Ken Adam and Roy Walker.[5] Alcott, Adam and Walker would be among those who would win Oscars for their "amazing work" on the film.[5] Sony VGN-FW19 Battery

 

Several of the interior scenes were filmed in Powerscourt House, a famous 18th century mansion in County Wicklow, Republic of Ireland. The house was destroyed in an accidental fire several months after filming (November 1974), Sony VGN-FW19/B Battery

so the film serves as a record of the lost interiors, particularly the "Saloon" which was used for more than one scene. The Wicklow Mountains are visible, for example, through the window of the Saloon during a scene set in Berlin. Other locations included Blenheim Palace, Sony VGN-FW27 Battery

 Castle Howard(exteriors of the Lyndon estate), Corsham Court (various interiors and the music room scene), Petworth House (chapel, and so on.), Stourhead (lake and temple), Longleat, andWilton House (interior and exterior) in England,Sony VGN-FW29 Battery

 Dunrobin Castle (exterior and garden asSpa) in Scotland, Dublin Castle in Ireland (the chevalier's home), Ludwigsburg Palacenear Stuttgart and Frederick the Great's Neues Palais at Potsdam near Berlin Sony VGN-FW48J Battery

 (suggesting Berlin's main street Unter den Linden as construction in Potsdam had just begun in 1763). Some exterior shots were also filmed at Waterford Castle (now a luxury hotel and golf course) and Island. Moorstown Castle in Tipperary also featured. Sony VGN-FW48J/B Battery

The film—as with "almost every Kubrick film"—is a "showcase for [a] major innovation in technique."[5] While 2001: A Space Odyssey had featured "revolutionary effects," and The Shining would later feature heavy use of the Steadicam, Sony VGN-FW58F Battery

Barry Lyndon saw a considerable number of sequences shot "without recourse to electric light."[5] Cinematography was overseen by director of photography John Alcott (who won an Oscar for his work), and is particularly noted for the technical innovations that made some of its most spectacular images possible. Sony VGN-FW58F/B Battery

To achieve photography without electric lighting "[f]or the many densely furnished interior scenes... meant shooting by candlelight," which is known to be difficult instill photography, "let alone with moving images."[5] Sony VGN-NS15H Battery

 

Kubrick was "determined not to reproduce the set-bound, artificially lit look of othercostume dramas from that time."[5] After "tinker[ing] with different combinations of lensesand film stock," the production got hold of three "super-fast 50mm" f/0.7 lenses "developed by Zeiss for use by NASA in the Apollo moon landings," Sony VGN-NW18H Battery

which Kubrick had discovered in his search for low-light solutions.[5][7] These super-fast lenses "with their huge aperture(the film actually features the lowest f/stop in film history) and fixed focal length" were problematic to mount, Sony VGN-NW25E Battery

and were extensively modified into three versions by Cinema Products Corp. for Kubrick so to gain a wider angle of view, with input from optics expert Richard Vetter of Todd-AO.[5][7] This allowed Kubrick and Alcott to shoot scenes lit with actual candles to an average lighting volume of only three candela, "recreating the huddle and glow of a pre-electrical age."[5] Sony VGN-NW25E/B Battery

 

Although Kubrick's express desire was to avoid electric lighting where possible, most shots were achieved with conventional lenses and lighting, but were lit to deliberately mimic natural light rather than for compositional reasons.Sony VGN-NW25E/P Battery

In addition to potentially seeming more realistic, these methods also gave a particular period look to the film which has often been likened to 18th century paintings (which were, of course, depicting a world devoid of electric lighting), in particular owing "a lot to William Hogarth, with whom Thackeray had always been fascinated."[5] Sony VGN-NW28E Battery

 

According to critic Tim Robey, the film has a "stately, painterly, often determinedly static quality."[5] For example, to help light some interior scenes, lights were placed outside and aimed through the windows, which were covered in a diffuse material to scatter the light evenly through the room rather than being placed inside for maximum use as most conventional films do. Sony VGN-NW28E/N Battery

A sign of this method occurs in the scene where Barry duels Lord Bullingdon. Though it appears to be lit entirely with natural light, one can see that the light coming in through the cross-shaped windows in the barn appears blue in color,Sony VGN-SR13 Battery

while the main lighting of the scene coming in from the side is not. This is because the light through the cross-shaped windows is daylight from the sun, which when recorded on the film stock used by Kubrick showed up as blue-tinted compared to the incandescent electric light coming in from the side. Sony VGN-SR13/B Battery

Despite such slight tinting effects, this method of lighting not only gave the look of natural daylight coming in through the windows, but it also protected the historic locations from the damage caused by mounting the lights on walls or ceilings and the heat from the lights. Sony VGN-SR16 Battery

This helped the film "fit... perfectly with Kubrick's gilded-cage aesthetic - the film is consciously a museum piece, its characters pinned to the frame like butterflies."[5] Sony VGN-SR16/B Battery

 

MUSIC

The film's period setting allowed Kubrick to indulge his penchant for classical music, and the film score uses pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach (an arrangement of the Concerto for violin and oboe in C minor), Frederick the Great (Hohenfriedberger Marsch), Sony VGN-SR16/P Battery

Antonio Vivaldi (Cello Concerto in E-Minor, a transcription of the Cello Sonata in E Minor RV 40),Giovanni Paisiello, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Franz Schubert (German Dance No. 1 in C major, Piano Trio in E-Flat, Opus 100 and Impromptu No. 1 in C minor). Sony VGN-SR16/S Battery

The piece most associated with the film, however, is the main title music: George Frideric Handel's stately Sarabande from the Suite in D minor HWV 437. Originally for solo harpsichord, the versions for the main and end titles are performed very romantically with orchestral strings, harpsichord, and timpani. It is used at various points in the film, in various arrangements, to indicate the implacable working of impersonal fate.[citation needed] Sony VGN-SR18 Battery

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The score also includes Irish folk music arranged by Paddy Moloney and performed byThe Chieftains. Another very famous piece in the soundtrack is called Women of Ireland, by Seán Ó Riada, played by The Chieftains. Sony VGN-SR18/Q Battery

 

The film "was not the commercial success Warner Bros. had been hoping for" within the United States,[5] although it fared better in Europe. This mixed reaction saw the film (in the words of one retrospective review) "greeted, Sony VGN-SR1CW Battery

on its release, with dutiful admiration – but not love. Critics... rail[ed] against the perceived coldness of Kubrick's style, the film's self-conscious artistry and slow pace. Audiences, on the whole, rather agreed..."[5] This "air of disappointment"[5] Sony VGN-SR23H/B Battery

 factored into Kubrick's decision to next film Stephen King's The Shining– a project that would not only please him artistically, but also be more likely to succeed financially. Still, several other critics, including Gene Siskel, praised the film's technical quality and strong narrative, and Siskel himself counted it as one of the five best films of the year. Sony VGN-SR26 Battery

 

Roger Ebert added this film to his 'Great Movies' list on September 9, 2009, writing, "It defies us to care, it asks us to remain only observers of its stately elegance", and it "must be one of the most beautiful films ever made."[8] Sony VGN-SR28 Battery

 

Source novel

Stanley Kubrick based his original screenplay on William Makepeace Thackeray's The Luck of Barry Lyndon (republished as the novel Memoirs of Barry Lyndon, Esq.), apicaresque tale written and published in serial form in 1844. Sony VGN-SR3CW Battery

The serial, which is told in the first person and "edited" by the fictional George Savage FitzBoodle, concerns a member of the Irish gentry trying to become a member of the English aristocracy. Sony VGN-SR55E Battery

 

The source novel is written by Lyndon while imprisoned looking back on his life. Lyndon is a notable example of the literary device of the unreliable narrator – throughout the novel the reader is constantly asked to question the veracity of the events described by him. Although later editions dropped the frame device of FitzBoodle's (Thackeray's pseudonym) editions, Sony VGN-SR55E/B Battery

it is crucial in unmasking Lyndon's narcissism through occasional notes inserted at the bottom of the page noting information that is contradictory or inconsistent in relation to what Lyndon writes elsewhere. As Andrew Sanders argues in his introduction for the Oxford Classics edition, these annotations were relevant to the novel as an ingenious narrative device as Thackeray constantly invites the reader to question Lyndon's version of the events. Sony VGN-SR55E/N Battery

 

Kubrick however felt that using a first-person narrative would not be useful in a film adaptation:

"I believe Thackeray used Redmond Barry to tell his own story in a deliberately distorted way because it made it more interesting. Sony VGN-SR55E/P Battery

Instead of the omniscient author, Thackeray used the imperfect observer, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say the dishonest observer, thus allowing the reader to judge for himself, with little difficulty, the probable truth in Redmond Barry's view of his life. Sony VGN-SR58F Battery

This technique worked extremely well in the novel but, of course, in a film you have objective reality in front of you all of the time, so the effect of Thackeray's first-person story-teller could not be repeated on the screen. It might have worked as comedy by the juxtaposition of Barry's version of the truth with the reality on the screen, but I don't think that Barry Lyndon should have been done as a comedy."[11] Sony VGN-SR58F/B Battery

 

As in the case of most literary adaptations, Kubrick shortens or in some cases omits characters who were significant in the novel. The time period constituting his escape from the Prussian army to his marriage is given greater detail in the novel than the film. Sony VGN-SR58F/J Battery

 

It is also interesting to note that the film ends much before the novel's ending. At the end of the film, Barry Lyndon survives with an amputated leg from a duel (an incident absent in the novel) and returns to his gambling lifestyle with lesser success while Lady Lyndon pays the debts accumulated during her marriage to Barry, Sony VGN-SR59G Battery

including the sum promised to Redmond in return for leaving the country. Though these events occur in the novel as well, Thackeray also writes that upon Lady Lyndon's death, Sony VGN-SR59G/J Battery

the sum promised to Barry is cancelled and he becomes destitute eventually winding up in prison for his confidence schemes. It is at this place where Barry writes his memoirs, which end noting that he has to 'eke out a miserable existence, quite unworthy of the famous and fashionable Barry Lyndon'. Sony VGN-SR59G/B Battery

 

At this point Fitz-Boodle writes an epilogue of sorts about Barry's final days, where his only visitor is his mother. He dies after spending 19 years in prison. Sony VPCCW152C Battery

 

Thackeray based the novel on the life and exploits of the Irish rakehell and fortunehunterAndrew Robinson Stoney, who married (and subsequently was divorced by) Mary Eleanor Bowes, the Countess of Strathmore, who became known as "The Unhappy Countess" due to the tempestuous liaison. Sony VPCCW152C/BU Battery

 

The revised version, which is the novel that the world generally knows as Barry Lyndon, was shorter and tighter than the original serialization, and dropped the FitzBoodle, Ed. device. It generally is considered the first "novel without a hero" or novel with an antihero in the English language. Sony VPCCW152C/WU Battery

Upon its publication in 1856, it was entitled by Thackeray's publisherThe Memoirs of Barry Lyndon, Esq. Of The Kingdom Of Ireland Containing An Account of His Extraordinary Adventures; Misfortunes; Sony VPCCW15EC/BU Battery

His Sufferings In The Service Of His Late Prussian Majesty; His Visits To Many Courts of Europe; His Marriage and Splendid Establishments in England And Ireland; And The Many Cruel Persecutions, Conspiracies And Slanders Of Which He Has Been A Victim.[12] Sony VPCCW15EC Battery

 

Barry Lyndon departs from its source novel in several ways. In Thackeray's writings, events are related in the first person by Barry himself. A comic tone pervades the work, as Barry proves both a raconteur and an unreliable narrator. Kubrick's film, by contrast, presents the story objectively. Though the film contains voice-over (by actor Michael Hordern),Sony VPCCW15EC/WU Battery

the comments expressed are not Barry's, but those of an omniscient, although not entirely impartial, narrator. This change in perspective alters the tone of the story; Thackeray tells a jaunty, humorous tale, but Kubrick's telling is essentially tragic, albeit with a satirical tone. Sony VPCCW16EC Battery

 

Kubrick also changed the plot. The novel does not include a final duel. By adding this episode, Kubrick establishes dueling as the film's central motif: the film begins with a duel where Barry's father is shot dead, and duels recur throughout the film. Sony VPCCW16EC/B Battery

Also, in Thackeray's novel, the Chevalier de Balibari (played by Patrick Magee in the film) is Barry's long-lost uncle ("Balibari" being a gentrified version of "Bally Barry," the family's home), and by marrying into the Lyndons, Barry intends to regain his family fortune (his ancestors were dispossessed by the Lyndons). In the film, Kubrick eliminated these familial connections from the story. Sony VPCCW16EC/L Battery

 

Names: 'Dickens' and 'Boz'

Charles Dickens had, as a contemporary critic put it, a "queer name".[77] The name Dickens was used in interjective exclamations like "What the Dickens!" as a substitute for "devil". It was recorded in the OED as originating from Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor. It was also used in the phrase "to play the Dickens" in the meaning "to play havoc/mischief".[78] Sony VPCCW16EC/P Battery

 

'Boz' was Dickens's occasional pen-name, but was a familiar name in the Dickens household long before Charles became a famous author. It was actually taken from his youngest brother Augustus Dickens' family nickname 'Moses',Sony VPCCW16EC/R Battery

given to him in honour of one of the brothers in The Vicar of Wakefield (one of the most widely read novels during the early 19th century). When playfully pronounced through the nose 'Moses' became 'Boses', and was later shortened to 'Boz' – pronounced through the nose with a long vowel'o'.[79] Sony VPCCW16EC/W Battery

 

The Charles Dickens Museum, in Doughty Street, Holborn is the only one of Dickens's London homes to survive. He lived there only two years but in that time wrote The Pickwick PapersOliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby. It contains a major collection of manuscripts, original furniture and memorabilia. Sony VPCCW18FC Battery

 

Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum in Portsmouth is the house in which Dickens was born. It has been re-furnished in the likely style of 1812 and contains Dickens memorabilia. Sony VPCCW18FC/B Battery

 

The Dickens House Museum in Broadstairs, Kent is the house of Miss Mary Pearson Strong, the basis for Miss Betsey Trotwood in David Copperfield. It is visible across the bay from the original Bleak House (also a museum until 2005) where David Copperfieldwas written. The museum contains memorabilia, general Victoriana and some of Dickens's letters. Broadstairs has held a Dickens Festival annually since 1937. Sony VPCCW18FC/L Battery

 

The Victoria and Albert Museum holds the original manuscripts for many of his novels, plus printers' proofs, first editions, and illustrations. At least one of the manuscripts is usually on display in the Museum's British Galleries.[80]Sony VPCCW18FC/P Battery

 

The Charles Dickens Centre in Eastgate House, Rochester, closed in 2004, but the garden containing the author's Swiss chalet is still open. The 16th century house, which appeared as Westgate House in The Pickwick Papers and the Nun's House in Edwin DroodSony VPCCW18FC/R Battery

is now used for art and historical exhibitions, wedding and civil ceremonies, and the city's annual Dickens Festival (summer) and Dickensian Christmascelebrations.[81] Summer Dickens is held at the end of May or in the first few days of June, Sony VPCCW18FC/W Battery

it commences with an invitation-only ball on the Thursday and then continues with street entertainment, and many costumed characters, on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday.Christmas Dickens is the first weekend in December - Saturday and Sunday only. Sony VPCCW26EC Battery

 

Dickens World themed attraction, covering 71,500 square feet (6,643 m2), and including a cinema and restaurants, opened in Chatham on 25 May 2007.[82] It stands on a small part of the site of the former naval dockyard where Dickens's father had once worked in the Navy Pay Office. Sony VPCCW26EC/B Battery

 

To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens in 2012, the Museum of London hosts the UK's first major exhibition on the author in 40 years. Dickens and London opens on 9 December 2011 and is on until 10 June 2012.[83] Sony VPCCW26EC/P Battery

 

A child, dressed in appropriate attire, at the Dickensian Festival in Ulverston, Cumbria.

Dickens festivals are also held across the world. Four notable ones in the United States are: Sony VPCCW26EC/W Battery

 

The Riverside Dickens Festival in Riverside, California, includes literary studies as well as entertainments.

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair has been held in San Francisco, California, since the 1970s. During the four or five weekends before Christmas, Sony VPCCW28EC Battery

over 500 costumed performers mingle with and entertain thousands of visitors amidst the recreated full-scale blocks of Dickensian London in over 90,000 square feet (8,000 m2) of public area. Sony VPCCW28EC/B Battery

This is the oldest, largest, and most successful of the modern Dickens festivals outside England. Many (including the Martin Harris who acts in the Rochester festival and flies out from London to play Scrooge every year in SF) say it is the most impressive in the world.[84] Sony VPCCW28EC/L Battery

Dickens on The Strand in Galveston, Texas, is a holiday festival held on the first weekend in December since 1974, where bobbies, Beefeaters and the "Queen" herself are on hand to recreate the Victorian London of Charles Dickens. Many festival volunteers and attendees dress in Victorian attire and bring the world of Dickens to life. Sony VPCCW28EC/P Battery

 

The Greater Port Jefferson-Northern Brookhaven Arts Council[85] holds a Dickens Festival in the Village of Port Jefferson, New York each year. In 2009, the Dickens Festival was 4 December, 5 and 6 December. It includes many events, along with a troupe of street performers who bring an authentic Dickensian atmosphere to the town. Sony VPCCW28EC/R Battery

 

Other memorials

There have been several performances of Dickens readings by Emlyn Williams, Bransby Williams, Clive Francis performing the John Mortimer adaptation of A Christmas Carol and also Simon Callow in the Mystery of Charles Dickens by Peter Ackroyd. Sony VPCCW28EC/W Battery

Entertainer Mike Randall re-enacts Dickens's readings (in character as Dickens) for a series of shows known as "Charles Dickens Presents A Christmas Carol," primarily in his home region inWestern New York. Sony VPCF119FC/BI Battery

 

AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL ELEMENTS

All authors might be said to incorporate autobiographical elements in their fiction, but with Dickens this is very noticeable, even though he took pains to mask what he considered his shameful, lowly past. David Copperfield is one of the most clearly autobiographical but the scenes from Bleak House of interminable court cases and legal arguments are drawn from the author's brief career as a court reporter. Sony VPCF138FC Battery

Dickens's own father was sent to prison for debt, and this became a common theme in many of his books, with the detailed depiction of life in the Marshalsea prison in Little Dorrit resulting from Dickens's own experiences of the institution. Sony VPCF219FC Battery

Childhood sweethearts in many of his books (such as Little Em'ly in David Copperfield) may have been based on Dickens's own childhood infatuation with Lucy Stroughill.[47][48] The character of Fagin is believed to be based upon Ikey Solomon, a 19th century Jewish criminal of London and later Australia. Sony VPCM125JC Battery

It is reported that Dickens, during his time as a journalist, interviewed Solomon after a court appearance and that he was the inspiration for the gang leader in Oliver Twist. When the work was published in 1838 the unpleasant, to modern eyes,[49] Sony VPCM125JC/L Battery

stereotype of the Jewish character "Fagin" as fence and corrupter of children perpetuated prejudices of the times, the characterisation meanwhile aroused no indignation, or even comment at the time of publication.[50] Sony VPCM125JC/P Battery

Eliza Davis, whose husband had purchased Dickens's home in 1860 when he had put it up for sale, wrote to Dickens in 1963 in protest at his portrayal of Fagin, arguing that he had "encouraged a vile prejudice against the despised Hebrew". Sony VPCM125JC/W Battery

While Dickens pointed out that "all the rest of the wicked dramatis personae are Christians", and that he had "no feeling towards the jews but a friendly one", he took her complaint seriously.[49] He halted the printing of Oliver TwistSony VPCM128JC Battery

and changed the text for the parts of the book that had not been set. In his novel, Our Mutual Friend, he created the character of Riah (meaning "friend" in Hebrew). Riah says in the novel: "Men say, 'This is a bad Greek, but there are good Greeks. This is a bad Turk, but there are good Turks.' Not so with the Jews ... they take the worst of us as samples of the best ..." Davis sent Dickens a copy of the Hebrew bible in gratitude.[49] Sony VPCM128JC/L Battery

 

Dickens may have drawn on his childhood experiences, but he was also ashamed of them and would not reveal that this was where he gathered his realistic accounts of squalor. Very few knew the details of his early life until six years after his death when John Forster published a biography on which Dickens had collaborated. Sony VPCM128JC/P Battery

 

EPISODIC WRITING

As noted above, most of Dickens's major novels were first written in monthly or weekly instalments in journals such as Master Humphrey's Clock and Household Words, later reprinted in book form. These instalments made the stories cheap, Sony VPCM128JC/W Battery

accessible and the series of regular cliff-hangers made each new episode widely anticipated. American fans even waited at the docks in New York, shouting out to the crew of an incoming ship, "Is little Nell dead?"[51][52][53] Sony VPCS115EC Battery

 Part of Dickens's great talent was to incorporate this episodic writing style but still end up with a coherent novel at the end. Sony VPCS115EC/G Battery

The monthly numbers were illustrated by, amongst others, "Phiz" (a pseudonym for Hablot Browne). Among his[who?]best-known works are Great ExpectationsDavid CopperfieldOliver TwistA Tale of Two CitiesBleak HouseNicholas NicklebyThe Pickwick Papers, and A Christmas CarolSony VPCS115EC/B Battery

Dickens's technique of writing in monthly or weekly instalments (depending on the work) can be understood by analysing his relationship with his illustrators. The several artists who filled this role were privy to the contents and intentions of Dickens's instalments before the general public. Sony VPCS115EC/P Battery

Thus, by reading these correspondences between author and illustrator, the intentions behind Dickens's work can be better understood. These also reveal how the interests of the reader and author do not coincide. A great example of that appears in the monthly novel Oliver TwistSony VPCS118EC Battery

At one point in this work, Dickens had Oliver become embroiled in a robbery. That particular monthly instalment concludes with young Oliver being shot. Readers expected that they would be forced to wait only a month to find out the outcome of that gunshot. In fact, Dickens did not reveal what became of young Oliver in the succeeding number. Rather, the reading public was forced to wait two months to discover if the boy lived. Sony VPCS118EC/B Battery

 

Another important impact of Dickens's episodic writing style resulted from his exposure to the opinions of his readers. Since Dickens did not write the chapters very far ahead of their publication, he was allowed to witness the public reaction and alter the story depending on those public reactions. Sony VPCS118EC/G Battery

A fine example of this process can be seen in his weekly serial The Old Curiosity Shop, which is a chase story. In this novel, Nell and her grandfather are fleeing the villain Quilp. The progress of the novel follows the gradual success of that pursuit. Sony VPCS118EC/P Battery

As Dickens wrote and published the weekly instalments, his friend John Forster pointed out: "You know you're going to have to kill her, don't you?" Why this end was necessary can be explained by a brief analysis of the difference between the structures of a comedy versus a tragedy. Sony VPCS119GC Battery

In a comedy, the action covers a sequence "You think they're going to lose, you think they're going to lose, they win". In tragedy, it is: "You think they're going to win, you think they're going to win, they lose". The dramatic conclusion of the story is implicit throughout the novel. Sony VPCS119GC/B Battery

So, as Dickens wrote the novel in the form of a tragedy, the sad outcome of the novel was a foregone conclusion. If he had not caused his heroine to lose, he would not have completed his dramatic structure. Dickens admitted that his friend Forster was right and, in the end, Nell died.[54] Sony VPCS119GC/P Battery

 

SOCIAL COMMENTARY

Dickens's novels were, among other things, works of social commentary. He was a fierce critic of the poverty and social stratification of Victorian society. Dickens's second novel,Oliver Twist (1839), shocked readers with its images of poverty and crime and was responsible for the clearing of the actual London slum, Sony VPCS125EC Battery

Jacob's Island, that was the basis of the story. In addition, with the character of the tragic prostitute, Nancy, Dickens "humanised" such women for the reading public; women who were regarded as "unfortunates", Sony VPCS125EC/B Battery

inherently immoral casualties of the Victorian class/economic system.Bleak House and Little Dorrit elaborated expansive critiques of the Victorian institutional apparatus: the interminable lawsuits of the Court of Chancery that destroyed people's lives in Bleak House and a dual attack in Little Dorrit on inefficient, corrupt patent offices and unregulated market speculation. Sony VPCS125EC/G Battery

 

LITERARY TECHNIQUES

Dickens is often described as using 'idealised' characters and highly sentimental scenes to contrast with his caricatures and the ugly social truths he reveals. The story of Nell Trent in The Old Curiosity Shop (1841) was received as incredibly moving by contemporary readers but viewed as ludicrously sentimental by Oscar Wilde. Sony VPCS125EC/P Battery

"You would need to have a heart of stone", he declared in one of his famous witticisms, "not to laugh at the death of little Nell."[55] (although her death actually takes place off-stage). In 1903 G. K. Chesterton said, "It is not the death of little Nell, but the life of little Nell, that I object to."[56] Sony VPCS128EC Battery

 

In Oliver Twist Dickens provides readers with an idealised portrait of a boy so inherently and unrealistically 'good' that his values are never subverted by either brutal orphanages or coerced involvement in a gang of young pickpockets.Sony VPCS128EC/B Battery

While later novels also centre on idealised characters (Esther Summerson in Bleak House and Amy Dorrit in Little Dorrit), this idealism serves only to highlight Dickens's goal of poignant social commentary. Many of his novels are concerned with social realism, Sony VPCS128EC/G Battery

focusing on mechanisms of social control that direct people's lives (for instance, factory networks in Hard Times and hypocritical exclusionary class codes in Our Mutual Friend).[citation needed]Dickens also employs incredible coincidences (e.g., Oliver Twist turns out to be the lost nephew of the upper class family that randomly rescues him from the dangers of the pickpocket group). Sony VPCS128EC/P Battery

Such coincidences are a staple of eighteenth-century picaresque novels such as Henry Fielding's Tom Jones that Dickens enjoyed so much. But, to Dickens, these were not justplot devices, but an index of the humanism that led him to believe that good wins out in the end and often in unexpected ways.[citation needed] Sony VPCS129GC Battery

 

Legacy

Dickens continues to be one of the best known and most read of English authors, and his works have never gone out of print.[3] At least 180 motion pictures and TV adaptations based on Dickens's works help confirm his success.[57] Sony VPCS129GC/G Battery

 Many of his works were adapted for the stage during his own lifetime and as early as 1913, a silent film of The Pickwick Papers was made. His characters were often so memorable that they took on a life of their own outside his books. Gamp became a slang expression for an umbrella from the character Mrs. Gamp and Pickwickian, Pecksniffian, Sony VPCS135EC Battery

and Gradgrind all entered dictionaries due to Dickens's original portraits of such characters who were quixotic, hypocritical, or emotionlessly logical. Sam Weller, the carefree and irreverent valet of The Pickwick Papers, was an early superstar, perhaps better known than his author at first. Sony VPCS136EC Battery

 

It is likely that A Christmas Carol stands as his best-known story, with new adaptations almost every year. It is also the most-filmed of Dickens's stories, with many versions dating from the early years of cinema. This simple morality tale with both pathos and its theme of redemption, sums up (for many) the true meaning of Christmas. Sony VPCS138EC Battery

Indeed, it eclipses all other Yuletide stories in not only popularity, but also adding archetypal figures (Scrooge, Tiny Tim, the Christmas ghosts) to the Western cultural consciousness. A prominent phrase from the tale, 'Merry Christmas',Sony VPCS139GC Battery

was popularised following the appearance of the story.[58] The term Scrooge became a synonym for miser, with 'Bah! Humbug!' dismissive of the festive spirit.[59] Novelist William Makepeace Thackeray called the book "a national benefit, and to every man and woman who reads it a personal kindness".[60] Sony VPCY118EC Battery

Some historians claim the book significantly redefined the "spirit" and importance of Christmas,[61][62] and initiated a rebirth of seasonal merriment after Puritan authorities in 17th-century England and America suppressed pagan rituals associated with the holiday.[63] Sony VPCY118EC/B Battery

According to the historian Ronald Hutton, the current state of the observance of Christmas is largely the result of a mid-Victorian revival of the holiday spearheaded by A Christmas Carol. Dickens sought to construct Christmas as a family-centred festival of generosity, Sony VPCY218EC Battery

in contrast to the community-based and church-centred observations, the observance of which had dwindled during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.[64] Superimposing his secular vision of the holiday, Dickens influenced many aspects of Christmas that are celebrated today among Western nations, Sony VPCY218EC/BI Battery

such as family gatherings, seasonal food and drink, dancing, games, and a festive generosity of spirit.[65] A Christmas Carol rejuvenated his career as a renowned author. A Tale of Two Cities is Dickens best-selling novel. Since its inaugural publication in 1859, the novel has sold over 200 million copies, and is among the most famous works of fiction.[66] Sony VPCY218EC/G Battery

 

At a time when Britain was the major economic and political power of the world, Dickens highlighted the life of the forgotten poor and disadvantaged within society. Through his journalism he campaigned on specific issues—such as sanitation and the workhouse—but his fiction probably demonstrated its greatest prowess in changing public opinion in regard to class inequalities. Sony VPCY218EC/L Battery

He often depicted the exploitation and oppression of the poor and condemned the public officials and institutions that not only allowed such abuses to exist, but flourished as a result. His most strident indictment of this condition is in Hard Times (1854), Sony VPCY218EC/P Battery

Dickens's only novel-length treatment of the industrial working class. In this work, he uses both vitriol and satire to illustrate how this marginalised social stratum was termed "Hands" by the factory owners; that is, not really "people" but rather only appendages of the machines that they operated. His writings inspired others, Sony VPCY218EC/R Battery

in particular journalists and political figures, to address such problems of class oppression. For example, the prison scenes in The Pickwick Papers are claimed to have been influential in having the Fleet Prison shut down. As Karl Marx said, Sony VPCYA15EC Battery

Dickens, and the other novelists of Victorian England, "...issued to the world more political and social truths than have been uttered by all the professional politicians, publicists and moralists put together...".[67] The exceptional popularity of his novels, Sony VPCYA16EC Battery

even those with socially oppositional themes (Bleak House, 1853; Little Dorrit, 1857; Our Mutual Friend, 1865) underscored not only his almost preternatural ability to create compelling storylines and unforgettable characters, but also ensured that the Victorian public confronted issues of social justice that had commonly been ignored. Sony VPCYA25EC Battery

 

His fiction, with often vivid descriptions of life in nineteenth-century England, has inaccurately and anachronistically come to symbolise on a global level Victorian society (1837 – 1901) as uniformly "Dickensian", when in fact, his novels' time scope spanned from the 1770s to the 1860s. Sony VPCYA26EC Battery

In the decade following his death in 1870, a more intense degree of socially and philosophically pessimistic perspectives invested British fiction; such themes stood in marked contrast to the religious faith that ultimately held together even the bleakest of Dickens's novels. Sony VPCYB15JC Battery

Dickens clearly influenced later Victorian novelists such as Thomas Hardy and George Gissing; their works display a greater willingness to confront and challenge the Victorian institution of religion. They also portray characters caught up by social forces (primarily via lower-class conditions), but they usually steered them to tragic ends beyond their control.Sony VGN-AR47G/E1 Battery

 

Novelists continue to be influenced by his books; for instance, such disparate current writers as Anne Rice, Tom Wolfe, and John Irving evidence direct Dickensian connections. Humorist James Finn Garner even wrote a tongue-in-cheek "politically correct" version of A Christmas CarolSony VGN-AR520 Battery

and other affectionate parodies include the Radio 4comedy Bleak Expectations. Matthew Pearl's novel The Last Dickens is a thriller about how Charles Dickens would have ended The Mystery of Edwin Drood. In the UK survey entitled The Big Read carried out by the BBC in 2003, five of Dickens's books were named in the Top 100, featuring alongside Terry Pratchett with the most.[68] Sony VGN-AR520E Battery

Although Dickens's life has been the subject of at least two TV miniseries, a television filmThe Great Inimitable Mr. Dickens in which he was portrayed by Anthony Hopkins, and two famous one-man shows,[clarification needed] he has never been the subject of a Hollywood big screen biography.[69] Sony VGN-AR53DB Battery

Actor Simon Callow has toured performing in a one-man show as Charles Dickens reading from his novels.[70] Callow, who also played Dickens in a number of British TV movies and two episodes of Doctor Who[71] published a biography of Dickens, Charles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World[72] in 2012 to mark the bicentenary of Dickens' birth.[73]Sony VGN-AR54DB Battery

 

Controversies over Racism and anti-Semitism

Although Charles Dickens is best-known as a writer of coming-of-age novels about children and adolescents and as a champion of the downtrodden poor, it has often been noted that both in his journalism and fiction he expresses attitudes that are profoundly racist and xenophobic. Sony VGN-AR550 Battery

The best-known instance of this is the deeply anti-Semitic portrait of Fagin in one of his most widely-read early novels Oliver Twist. Dickens' attacked John Rae's report on the fate of the Franklin expedition, based on Inuit testimonies, Sony VGN-AR550E Battery

calling the Inuit evidence unreliable, and attacking their character as covetous and cruel. He co-authorized the play The Frozen Deep, as an allegorical attack on Rae. Dickens advocated genocide against the Indian race, in response to the Indian Rebellion of 1857, Sony VGN-AR550U Battery

writing the allegorical The Perils of Certain English Prisoners. In his essay The Noble Savage, Dickens' attitude towards Native Americans is one of condescending pity, tempered (in the interpretation of Grace Moore)[74] by a counter-balancing concern with the arrogance of European colonialism. Sony VGN-AR55DB Battery

This essay was Dickens' rejection of painter George Catlin's positive portrayal of Native Americans. The term "Noble Savage" was in circulation since the 17th century, but Dickens regards it as an absurd oxymoron. He advocated that savages be civilised "off the face of the earth".Sony VGN-AR570 Battery

 

Dickens is sometimes thought of as a champion of the oppressed, but his humanitarian impulse often seems to extend to only other Europeans. Questions have been raised as to whether Dickens believed in racial superiority or was instead a cultural chauvinist.[7Sony VGN-AR570U Battery

5]Dickens scholar Grace Moore sees Dickens' racism as having abated in his later years, while cultural historian Patrick Brantlinger and journalist William Oddie see it as having intensified.[76] Sony VGN-AR590CE Battery

Moore acknowledges that while Dickens later in life became far more sensitive to the unethical character of British colonialism and came to plead mitigation of cruelties to natives, he never lost his disdain for the life style of those he regarded as "primitive".Sony VGN-AR590 Battery

 

The role of Fagin in Oliver Twist continues to be a challenge for actors who struggle with questions as to how to interpret the role in a post-Nazi era. Various Jewish writers, directors, and actors have searched for ways to "salvage" Fagin.Sony VGN-AR605 Battery

Late in life, Dickens developed close friendships with Jews and unambiguously retracted his earlier anti-Semitic views and created a sympathetic Jewish character in his novel Our Mutual Friend. However, Dickens' expressions of revulsion at non-European peoples and his advocacy of civilizing savages remains a subject in controversy. Sony VGN-AR590E Battery

 

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