The Gospel in Dickens
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September 04, 2010

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I reread Barnaby Rudge earlier this year after not touching it at all for decades. I was mostly favorably impressed - it held my attention throughout very well and at times was quite gripping - but the capture of Rudge senior in chapter 56 left a very poor impression. As far as I can tell Rudge was captured only because he had some weird compulsion to periodically revisit the scene of his crimes and just happened to be there the same night as Mr. Haredale. Dickens had painstakingly laid out an alternate method of capture by having Mr. Haredale lie in wait in Barnaby's and Mrs. Rudge's former lodgings. But for some reason he abandoned that idea in favor of a "and now a miracle occurs" scenario. In my view it would have been far better to stick with the more plausible method of capture.

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