Readalong: Bleak House, instalment 18, ch57-59

It’s been a long haul, but after April’s exciting chunk of chapters, full of scandal and blackmail, we have now reached the penultimate month in our reading of Bleak House. In May, we are reading Chapters 57 to 59.

Exciting and dramatic though the plot has proved to be, I find myself dwelling on questions of great triviality. Why are more people not called “Volumnia”? How can Dickens get away with writing the word “awfullest” (admittedly in characterised conversation) when my primary-school teachers would have blanched in horror had I attempted to use such a word construction? Why, when individual chapters are so well drawn and exciting, do I find myself forgetting what happened in instalments from six, eight, ten months ago, so that I have to keep flicking back to check things?

It’s not too late to catch up. Feel free to start reading now, or to pick up the book again if you previously set it aside, and post your comments in our related discussion threads for previous instalments (which you can find listed below).

The full text of Bleak House can be downloaded from Project Gutenberg and Standard Ebooks, and audiobook versions are available from LibriVox.

You can find our previous discussions on Bleak House as follows:

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