Not so bleak
A bleak Boston winter was miraculously illumined by Masterpiece Theater’s eight hour serialization of Charles Dickens’ Bleak House. Towards the end of each week spirits began to soar in anticipation of Sunday evening’s episode.
Splendid casting and superb acting transported one into Dickens’ pulsing world. We experienced the no-nonsense goodness of Esther, the agony of Lady Dedlock, the unfailing kindness of Mr. Jarndyce, the lovely folly of Richard and Ada, the villainy of lawyer Tulkinghorn. My excessive pleasure at Tulkinghorn’s well-deserved demise is certainly matter for Lenten repentance.
In his fine book, Sacred and Secular Scriptures: a Catholic Approach to Literature (reviewed in Commonweal: August 12, 2005), Nicholas Boyle quotes Chesterton: “The art of Dickens was the most exquisite of arts: it was the art of enjoying everybody … he enjoyed everybody in his books; and everybody has enjoyed everybody in those books even till today.”
Boyle adds: “it is a part of our own enjoyment of a Dickensian character that we experience it as an enjoyment which must be shared.”
If you missed it on TV, it will soon be available on DVD. Enjoy in all seasons — bleak or bright!