At the court of Chancery, the interminable law suit of Jarndyce and Jarndyce rolls on and on, encompassing so many diverse characters in its thrall like the fog that smothers the great city of London, including Esther Summerson, the heroine of the novel and one of Dickens' more feisty and characterful leading ladies. We are drawn in and fascinated by the complex set of relationships at all levels of society, from Sir Leicester and Lady Dedlock, cocooned in their stately home in Lincolnshire, to Jo, the crossing sweeper in the hell hole known as Tom-All-Alone's. In none of Charles Dickens' other novels is the canvas broader, the sweep more inclusive, the linguistic texture richer and the gallery of comic grotesques more extraordinary. While Bleak House is a condemnation of the corruption at the heart of English society, it is also a love story and a murder mystery. And, it is wonderful entertainment. Illustrated by H K Browne 'Phiz', with an Afterword by David Stuart Davies.
Charles Dickens was born in 1812 near Portsmouth, where his father worked as a clerk. Living in London in 1824, Dickens was sent by his family to work in a blacking-warehouse, and his father was arrested and imprisoned for debt. Fortunes improved and Dickens returned to school, eventually becoming a parliamentary reporter. His first piece of fiction was published by a magazine in December 1832, and by 1836 he had begun his first novel, The Pickwick Papers. He focused his career on writing, completing fourteen highly successful novels, as well as penning journalism, shorter fiction and travel books. He died in 1870.
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