Friday, April 5, 2013

Review Pickwick Papers Vol. 1 Chapters 1-2

Two things struck me as I was reading the first 2 chapters.

1. How long has the amiable idiot narrative been around? Is this an early example? My favorite one is Bouvard et P├ęcuchet by Gustave Flaubert. Although the Pickwick Club does have a pleasant grouping of idiots.

2. I kept coming back to all the current debate about watching tv one episode at a time or overdosing and watching all the episodes of a season in one go. Were there groups in the Victorian era who waited until all the installments were in to begin reading the book? Did they cover their ears and scream "SPOILERS" when friends who were on the installment plan began to talk about the book? Or in thinking about comic books were there people pestering Charles Dickens for if and when the installments would be published as a trade? Sometimes debates that we think are modern have been around for a lot longer than we expect.

Back to the book itself. The first chapter is an introduction to the Pickwick Club and it's new found purpose of exploring places around London and reporting back to the club on various matters. The second chapter takes the main group to Rochester. On the way they fall in with a shady character who gets one of their members into serious trouble and of course the chapter ends with a nice cliffhanger.

So far so good. Amiable idiots are pleasant, we'll have to see if they become grating. It is early days after all but I'm looking forward to the next installment which I've already asked Mr. Ysmal to send on or around April 10.

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