centers upon the everlasting case of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce. Tied up in Chancery, the case concerns the inheritance of Richard Carstone and Ada Clare, two young cousins who, along with Ada's companion Esther Summerson, travel to Bleak House as the wards of Mr. Jarndyce. Despite the best warnings of Mr. Jarndyce that the case is the family's "curse," and to refuse to put any faith in a positive outcome, Richard increasingly strives towards securing a resolution which favors the will naming him and Ada as the heirs. As intersecting storylines weave in and out, connections and secrets are revealed, resulting in a complex work which showcases Dickens finest observations on London life as well as his complete command of storytelling.
960 pages, softcover. Signet Classic Edition.
In the fog of London, lawyers enrich themselves with endless litigation over a dwindling inheritance. A sterling example of Dickens's genius for character, dramatic construction, and social satire, this novel was hailed by Edmund Wilson as a "masterpiece".
Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Landport, Portsea, England. He died in Kent on June 9, 1870. The second of eight children of a family continually plagued by debt, the young Dickens came to know not only hunger and privation,but also the horror of the infamous debtors’ prison and the evils of child labor. A turn of fortune in the shape of a legacy brought release from the nightmare of prison and “slave” factories and afforded Dickens the opportunity of two years’ formal schooling at Wellington House Academy. He worked as an attorney’s clerk and newspaper reporter until his Sketches by Boz
(1836) and The Pickwick Papers
(1837) brought him the amazing and instant success that was to be his for the remainder of his life. In later years, the pressure of serial writing, editorial duties, lectures, and social commitments led to his separation from Catherine Hogarth after twenty-three years of marriage. It also hastened his death at the age of fifty-eight, when he was characteristically engaged in a multitude of work.
Michael Slater is an emeritus professor at Birkbeck College, London, and past president of the Dickens Fellowship and the Dickens Society of America.
“Perhaps Bleak House is his best novel. . . . When Dickens wrote Bleak House he had grown up.” —G. K. Chesterton
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