Bleak house

by Charles Dickens | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0140434968 Global Overview for this book
Registered by SwanOfKennet of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria United Kingdom on 3/24/2005
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5 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by SwanOfKennet from Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria United Kingdom on Thursday, March 24, 2005
The Dickens the Dickens fans generally rate as his best. For non-Dickensians like me, the one Dickens you really ought to read.

The case of a contested will, Jarndyce v Jarndyce, has ground its way through the Court of Chancery for longer than anybody can remember. It's become a source of cruel humour for the armies of lawyers who make a living out if it, and it crushes all those who fall into its path.

It ensnares rich and poor alike. Into its shadow fall the doting Ada Clare and the vapid Richard Carstone, taken into the care of John Jarndyce as wards in the case, along with the orphan Esther Summerson. Meanwhile in Lincolnshire it touches on the life of Lady Dedlock, who has a guilty secret. And then there is Jo the crossing-sweeper, who saw something he wouldn't forget, and Harold Skimpole who really ought not to be let out without a lead, and Mrs Jellyby, whose devotion to charitable works leave her no time to keep her life and family in order. And, this being Dickens, a whole load of others.

It is massive, and complex, and so very, very Dickensian. But it is compelling reading. One of those books you don't ever forget. I can't not give it ten out of ten.

Journal Entry 2 by SwanOfKennet from Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria United Kingdom on Wednesday, March 30, 2005
This is now setting off on a ring which will take it far and wide!

-> caligula03 in California
-> nice-cup-of-tea in Switzerland
-> coolboxUK in the UK
-> YowlYY in the UK
-> back to me

Dispatched to caligula03 from the Civic Centre Post Office in Reading just after 4pm this wet and windy afternoon.

Journal Entry 3 by caligula03 from Hayward, California USA on Monday, April 04, 2005
Wow -- in true Dickens fashion, this is a HUGE book. I will read it as soon as I can. :)

Journal Entry 4 by caligula03 from Hayward, California USA on Wednesday, April 27, 2005
I'm enjoying the book thoroughly. It has the same sort of humor as the Rumpole books though with far more complexity in true Dickensian fashion. I should have the book done by next week some time.

Journal Entry 5 by caligula03 from Hayward, California USA on Monday, May 02, 2005
What is the Bleak House? It is an old mansion, home of John Jarndyce and his three wards: Ester, Ada and Ricard. It is also the squalid conditions of Tom's-All-Alone. It is the bleak out come of Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce. It is the Victorian shame of an illegimate child. There are many bleak houses in this book.

Bleak House carries a warning against the excesses of nuisance suits and the danger of a laisez-faire government which it wraps up in a delightful albeit complex and dense comedic romance of a young woman supposedly orphaned and sent to live with her guardian who is stuck in a generations long lawsuit over an estate. Interestingly, I recently read an American story that obviously borrowed heavily from Bleak House. To anyone who enjoys Bleak House, I recommend The Big Mogul by Joseph C. Lincoln.

Journal Entry 6 by caligula03 at on Monday, May 02, 2005

Released 13 yrs ago (5/28/2005 UTC) at



Mailing to nice-cup-of-tea.

Journal Entry 7 by nice-cup-of-tea from Zürich, Zürich Switzerland on Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Hurrah! Charles Dickens has safely arrived in Zurich after his long perilous journey from California :-) Thanks to Caligula03 for sending & Swanofkennet for staring the ring. I have to confess that I am a 'Charles Dickens' virgin, so will report back once I've read. I've a few books ahead of this one, but will probably start this in a week or so.

Journal Entry 8 by nice-cup-of-tea from Zürich, Zürich Switzerland on Monday, August 01, 2005
I've found my nemesis! I can usually read and pass bookrings on within 3 days, tops, but not Dickens! Be assured i am reading and enjoying, but still only on chapter 6! More to follow when I'm finished....

Journal Entry 9 by nice-cup-of-tea from Zürich, Zürich Switzerland on Sunday, August 07, 2005
Wow, what a book! I have to admit that I nearly gave up several times, just because the story is so long & complicated, but I'm glad I didn't! Dickens introduces a huge numbers of characters and storylines, and you really need to keep concentrating throughout the 989 pages! I think I'm right in thinking that this story was serialised and sold as such before becoming a novel, so perhaps this accounts for the many cliffhangers / stories / characters / and various endings and beginnings!

I would recommend reading the introduction after you've finished, as it gives a good commentary on the interpretation of the novel, although I like Caligula03's summary above :-) I can't really add to the previous journals in terms of analysis, but I will add that Esther's story ends as I hoped it would!

Favourite Quote? (from Esther's narrative, just arrival at Bleak House, p.115)
"I was so busy that I could not believe it was breakfast-time when I heard the bell ring. Away I ran, however, and made tea, as I had already been installed into the responsibility of the tea-pot; (...)"
I love the phrase, "responsibility of the tea-pot"!

Sent to coolboxuk Mon 8th August 2005, b post

Journal Entry 10 by coolboxuk from Chertsey, Surrey United Kingdom on Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Received today - well, quite some time actually but had to pick it up from the depot because it wouldn't fit through our mailbox. With the depot being about 4 miles away and only open Mon-Fri 8am to 1pm it took me nearly 2 weeks to get round to it! Sorry for that...

I think I'll better pass this on unread as my time is so pressed and still some books ahead of this one. Shame, but really don't get around to much at the moment...

Revising again - realised I'm last in the ring and checked with Swan-of-Kennet that she doesn't want it back soon, so will keep it until I get round to the reading...

Journal Entry 11 by coolboxuk from Chertsey, Surrey United Kingdom on Monday, July 31, 2006
Okay, final journal from me: I've tried several times to get into the story and managed to get a bit farther every time but really am not enjoying the overall read and story and still feel daunted by the size of the book, seeing that I find it slow-going reading. So, finally, I'm surrendering and sending it back to Swan-of-Kennet.

Journal Entry 12 by SwanOfKennet from Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria United Kingdom on Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Returned home today (the postie had been hanging on to it for a couple of days, apparently) after its marathon trip around the world.

I want to read it again but after that I may well start a new ring.

Journal Entry 13 by SwanOfKennet at Mikasa Street Post Office in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria United Kingdom on Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Released 12 yrs ago (2/14/2007 UTC) at Mikasa Street Post Office in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria United Kingdom



This one is on its way to another bookcrosser as part of a slightly tardy NSS Valentine.

Journal Entry 14 by bigcurlyloz from Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire United Kingdom on Friday, February 16, 2007
Definitely worth the wait! Thank you for my NSSVS parcel SwanOfKennet - 3 wishlist books (the others are here and here.... AND chocolate.... AND a really cute DIY giftcard set! :-)

This looks quite hefty, but its one of the BBC Big Read books, so I'll be giving it a go...... eventually!!

Journal Entry 15 by bigcurlyloz at Hilton, Derbyshire United Kingdom on Thursday, January 16, 2014
I inherited an almost complete set of Dickens, so am liberating those duplicate copies from my TBR pile. To be released or passed onwards soon.

Journal Entry 16 by bigcurlyloz at Calke Abbey in Calke, Derbyshire United Kingdom on Thursday, April 17, 2014

Released 5 yrs ago (4/11/2014 UTC) at Calke Abbey in Calke, Derbyshire United Kingdom


Released by some friends at Calke Abbey somewhere.

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