Next time someone tells you Dickens is too intimidating or too tough to read, you might point out that A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations are both quicker reads than the bestselling A Song of Ice and Fire. At least, according to this.
The Hollywood Reporterstates that BBC4 has a new Tale of Two Cities in the works! It's being written by Alan Bleasdale, who did the 1999 Oliver Twist miniseries, and produced by the company that made Parade's End. Netflix is in talks to co-produce.
Here's a fun tidbit from the London Particular (the Dickens Fellowship Newsletter), submitted by Dr. Christine Corton: An episode of the British TV series Endeavour, titled "Neverland,"showed Morse, the main character, entering a firm of solicitors called "Vholes, Jaggers and Lightwood." Looks like they've got a Dickensian on the writing staff!
Clive Baugh's essay "Twenty of Dickens's Most Memorable Characters" is a couple years old, but I just now came across it, and it's so good I had to share it. In addition to his thoughtful take on characters from various Dickens's novels, there are also lots of great illustrations, many of which I'd never seen before.
"Accustomed to the luxury of major and minor revision, of multiple drafts, of months or years in which to add or delete a single comma, we can barely comprehend the imagination and the technical skill required to compose an eight-hundred-page masterwork in regular installments of a length determined not by the needs of the artist, but for the convenience of the printer. Though Dickens wrote notes for some of his novels, and sketched out the conclusion of Great Expectations in advance, this working method demanded a prodigious ability to keep a large cast of characters and an elaborate narrative constantly in mind. The wonderment we feel when we contemplate this strenuous mode of composition has, in my opinion, been best expressed in the question posed about Dickens by novelist David Gates: 'Was he a Martian?'"
Francine Prose, Introduction to Great Expectations (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition, 2012).
Maura Kelly at OUPblog, at the Oxford University Press site, has an excellent post about the timeless themes and characters of Great Expectations and how people everywhere are able to relate to and learn from them. Among other things, she contrasts Pip's growth as a character with the resentfulness and lack of growth of Elliot Rodger, the UCSB killer.