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Old November 15th, 2012, 04:54 PM   #31

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I adored David Copperfield, was quite pleased with Oliver Twist, and was indifferent to Great Expectations, although touched to some measure by Pip. The value of Hard Times appeals to me, but I could never really get myself through it.
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Old November 17th, 2012, 05:10 PM   #32

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I loved Dickens he had brought shame to darker side of Victorian Britain and the underdogs were the heroes. I loved that Oliver Twist film as a kid. I rate him more than shakesphere.
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Old November 17th, 2012, 08:42 PM   #33

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Went to Dickens World in Chatham yesterday. Dreadful. Hardly anything to do with Dickens at all, and most of it was so dark you could hardly see anything anyway. Not a well thought out place.
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Old November 17th, 2012, 10:02 PM   #34

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Quite often on this thread it has been said how much people like watching Dickens. there is a reason. Had he been alive today he would have been a successful screen or TV writer.
Apart from creating strong characters he was master of the visual and the establishing shot. But his was not a visual world and entertainment was restricted. It was a world without gas or electricity, a world of candlelight and candles were expensive. It was a world where even the bicycle was not yet invented. So what did the middle class do in the evenings for entertainment? They couldn't go to the pub because pubs were low class drinking dens. They might occasionally go to the music hall but music halls had a raffish air to them and who could afford to go every night? Play cards in one form or another? You could have a musical evening. Imagine Aunt Flossie seated at an out of tune piano, missing notes as often as she hit them and Uncle Fred doing his best to lure Maud into the garden. From the sounds coming from him you know the poor girl would run a mile. You might applaud politely and hope it wasn't a signal for Uncle Fred to do a mischief to "The Road to Mandalay". Small wonder that the latest Dickens episode was a joy when it came. You could settle by the fire with a small glass of port wine and be carried to another world. Might be a world of slums, of Scrooge's ghost or Fagan's evil but it was outside your home and you felt secure. The time taken to read each page was a joy.
Modern readers want to get to the action and so Dickens' wordy mood building is now an irritation but it wasn't then. I've forgotten which novel starts with a description of London fog rolling in but anyone who experienced the terrible smogs of the 1950's would know, the reader knew and experienced them and again would absorb the mood and terror. They were not called "pea soupers" lightly. Imagine a green fog so thick nothing moved, where you could become lost in your own street.
So Dickens brought visuals to a non visual world.
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Old November 17th, 2012, 11:14 PM   #35

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The middle class were not entirely bereft of forms of entertainment. The theatre was very popular for instance. There were many more theatres than there are now. And people also enjoyed amateur theatricals, a lot of people would get up plays to perform with and for friends and relatives. Dickens himself was something of a theatrical performer, he gave public readings of his novels which attracted large audiences. In fact, I think he died after giving one of readings, over-exerting himself when he was ill.
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Old November 18th, 2012, 12:56 AM   #36

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It was a world without gas or electricity, a world of candlelight
Gas lighting was invented in 1792. By 1820 it was illuminating the streets of Paris. By 1823 gas lights were common throughout the cities and towns of Britain.

Dickens was born in 1812. He definitely lived in a world of gas, not just candlelight. One of his short plays (The Lamplighter, 1838) is about a character who lights the gas lamps on the streets of London.
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Old November 18th, 2012, 03:05 AM   #37

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Quote:
Originally Posted by viking View Post
Quite often on this thread it has been said how much people like watching Dickens. there is a reason. Had he been alive today he would have been a successful screen or TV writer.
Apart from creating strong characters he was master of the visual and the establishing shot. But his was not a visual world and entertainment was restricted. It was a world without gas or electricity, a world of candlelight and candles were expensive. It was a world where even the bicycle was not yet invented. So what did the middle class do in the evenings for entertainment? They couldn't go to the pub because pubs were low class drinking dens. They might occasionally go to the music hall but music halls had a raffish air to them and who could afford to go every night? Play cards in one form or another? You could have a musical evening. Imagine Aunt Flossie seated at an out of tune piano, missing notes as often as she hit them and Uncle Fred doing his best to lure Maud into the garden. From the sounds coming from him you know the poor girl would run a mile. You might applaud politely and hope it wasn't a signal for Uncle Fred to do a mischief to "The Road to Mandalay". Small wonder that the latest Dickens episode was a joy when it came. You could settle by the fire with a small glass of port wine and be carried to another world. Might be a world of slums, of Scrooge's ghost or Fagan's evil but it was outside your home and you felt secure. The time taken to read each page was a joy.
Modern readers want to get to the action and so Dickens' wordy mood building is now an irritation but it wasn't then. I've forgotten which novel starts with a description of London fog rolling in but anyone who experienced the terrible smogs of the 1950's would know, the reader knew and experienced them and again would absorb the mood and terror. They were not called "pea soupers" lightly. Imagine a green fog so thick nothing moved, where you could become lost in your own street.
So Dickens brought visuals to a non visual world.
I think it's "Bleak House" if you refer to the fog creeping in over The Strand. Dickens takes pages to describe something as commonplace as the fog which I feel is allegorical when the subject is the law and litigation.
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Old November 18th, 2012, 07:09 AM   #38

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Victorian theatre could be quite spectacular. The creation of limelight in 1837 (the year Victoria came to the throne, made possible some dramatic special effects. In 'Consuming Passions' Judith Flanders writes:

'With limelight, dissolving views had become possible, created by two magic lanters focused on the one spot, one lantern was then slowly extinguished, while the light in the second was similarly brought up. 'Snow' could be produced by making pinholes in a strip of black fabric and fixing it onto rollers, a crank unrolled the fabric across the light of another magic lantern. If all three images were used together, a stage picture of some complexity could be built up: for example, magic lantern I projected an autumn scene with a windmill, magic lantern 2 superimposed a 'snowfall' over this, a dissolve took the audience to magic lantern 3's view of the same windmill, now covered with snow.

Macready's production of Coriolanus in 1838 had somewhere between 100 and 200 'senators' in the crowd scenes: Charles Kingsley required 250 'citizens' for Bolingbroke's entry into London in Richard II in 1857. Pantomime required even more; Little King Pipkin at Drury Lane in 1865 employed 48 seamstrsses and wardrobe mistresses, 45 dressers and 17 gasmen, while 200 children and 60 ballet dancers appeared onstage. in 1866 Auguste Harris at Drury Lane marshalled nearly 500 'thieves' to accompany the Forty Thieves of the pantomime's title.

And that was without the animals. Animals were an essential component of spectacular theatre throughout the nineteenth century. Where circuses ended and drama began was not a question that troubled the times much.'

Judith Flanders goes on to describe in detail elaborate performances featuring horses, 'hippodramas' as they were known. And performing lions and tigers might feature in theatre, as they did in the Drury Lane pantomime of of 1838, where Van Ambrugh appeared with his lions, tigers, cheetahs and leopards. Queen Victoria was very taken with them. She wrote:

'They all seem actuated by the most awful fear of him.. He takes them all by their paws, throws them down, makes them roar, and lies upon them after enraging them. It is quite beautiful to see and makes me wish I could do the same!'

In fact, modern theatr seems pretty insipid compared with what was on offer in the Victorian era.
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Old November 18th, 2012, 08:02 AM   #39

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louise C View Post
Victorian theatre could be quite spectacular. The creation of limelight in 1837 (the year Victoria came to the throne, made possible some dramatic special effects. In 'Consuming Passions' Judith Flanders writes:

'With limelight, dissolving views had become possible, created by two magic lanters focused on the one spot, one lantern was then slowly extinguished, while the light in the second was similarly brought up. 'Snow' could be produced by making pinholes in a strip of black fabric and fixing it onto rollers, a crank unrolled the fabric across the light of another magic lantern. If all three images were used together, a stage picture of some complexity could be built up: for example, magic lantern I projected an autumn scene with a windmill, magic lantern 2 superimposed a 'snowfall' over this, a dissolve took the audience to magic lantern 3's view of the same windmill, now covered with snow.

Macready's production of Coriolanus in 1838 had somewhere between 100 and 200 'senators' in the crowd scenes: Charles Kingsley required 250 'citizens' for Bolingbroke's entry into London in Richard II in 1857. Pantomime required even more; Little King Pipkin at Drury Lane in 1865 employed 48 seamstrsses and wardrobe mistresses, 45 dressers and 17 gasmen, while 200 children and 60 ballet dancers appeared onstage. in 1866 Auguste Harris at Drury Lane marshalled nearly 500 'thieves' to accompany the Forty Thieves of the pantomime's title.

And that was without the animals. Animals were an essential component of spectacular theatre throughout the nineteenth century. Where circuses ended and drama began was not a question that troubled the times much.'

Judith Flanders goes on to describe in detail elaborate performances featuring horses, 'hippodramas' as they were known. And performing lions and tigers might feature in theatre, as they did in the Drury Lane pantomime of of 1838, where Van Ambrugh appeared with his lions, tigers, cheetahs and leopards. Queen Victoria was very taken with them. She wrote:

'They all seem actuated by the most awful fear of him.. He takes them all by their paws, throws them down, makes them roar, and lies upon them after enraging them. It is quite beautiful to see and makes me wish I could do the same!'

In fact, modern theatr seems pretty insipid compared with what was on offer in the Victorian era.
Interesting post. Theatre was certainly more vivid, varied and involved in Victorian times. There was more life out there in towns and villages than today. It seems drama was found on stage and off such as living with death, bereavement and ill health or struggling to make a living. Life may have been humdrum for many back then but it had colour and vitality which lifted the spirits. By comparison we're rather insulated and sheltered nowadays even if more aware.
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Old November 18th, 2012, 12:14 PM   #40

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Originally Posted by Louise C View Post
The middle class were not entirely bereft of forms of entertainment. The theatre was very popular for instance. There were many more theatres than there are now. And people also enjoyed amateur theatricals, a lot of people would get up plays to perform with and for friends and relatives. Dickens himself was something of a theatrical performer, he gave public readings of his novels which attracted large audiences. In fact, I think he died after giving one of readings, over-exerting himself when he was ill.


You went to Chatham?

Good heavens.

You know the dockyard used to house old nuclear submarines, rumour has it radiation leakage had some affect upon the locals.
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