Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Hair and the Floor

I am overwhelmed with the images of Miss Havisham. I wonder if anyone has ever produced a greater monster. Dracula is really rather pale, and Frankenstein's was a little green, but Miss Havisham is death alive, well life in it's most pitiable final stages. Nothing left but hate.

I'm not sure Miss Havisham will make further appearances. I rather think that perhaps Dickens is done with her. He's turned the corner and the spectre in this hall is Magwitch; witch perhaps none the less. I haven't quite followed him yet... I'm still there with the witch of Satis Hall, haunting her own life, with those low and moaning cries...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Jeopardy of the Unknown Remembrance

Tonight on Tivo, a Jeopardy question arose about Pip and his circumstances at the opening of Great Expectations - and though I knew the question was Great Expectations, I realized I'd missed this altogether when I'd opened the book. Or at least, I had to go back and reread the opening paragraphs... Though I always remembered the convict, and their exchange, I'd never noticed that Pip was visiting his parents' graves, and well the graves of five unknown brothers.

Of course you know he's an orphan, and that's sort of what Dickens does so well, nevertheless, it's significant when judging the later Pip to remember these circumstances...

Lately I've been wondering, if there is a kingdom of Heaven, what place hate would take there. Could a man or woman who had ever known hate find a place for themselves there... There's also the question of the place fear would own there... Great Expectations is about the place fear might own. There is really no guilt to be laid upon this child. And yet his life is a treasure house of fears. It is a wonder that life can be so terrible, and yet a man may once in a while still be noble.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Forgetfulness of the Long Distance Punter

My age is showing. When I'm drinking beer, and otherwise entertaining myself, I find (more so with each day) that I can't hold a thought for longer than 10 seconds. I find myself watching something on the telly - and a thought crosses my mind - something I wish to pursue on the on-line and switch from telly to online, but by the time I'm online, I've forgotten why I wanted to be there.

Oh, sure, I remember now that I had something to say about Great Expections but even there I forget what it was... I remember reading Great Expectations as a ninth grader (ninth without an 'e'?) but now am wondering a little whether the version I read was abridged. Sometimes I think that, sometimes I think not... I find I have to read Great Expectations aloud. The wonder is that I can hear the voice of Dickens, or Pip, or Joe, or Miss Havisham, Miss 'A' to Joe, and sometimes it's just gibberish, but the rest of the times is a gentleman having a grand time expressing his digestives.

I remember reading Great Expectations with Ivanhoe. And these two novels set me down the path I've long been on, of reading this and that... And now, I have returned to Pip; I'm halfway down this lane. London's windows weep with soot when it rains.