Dickens – Vulgar or Divine?

I am currently reading and relishing Chesterton’s enchanting biography of Dickens. Inked passages seriously threaten to outnumber those that escape my pen. Here’s one of the former from the first chapter:

There is plenty to carp at in this man if you are inclined to carp; you may easily find him vulgar if you cannot see that he is divine; and if you cannot laugh with Dickens, undoubtedly you can laugh at him . . . The fierce poet of the Middle Ages wrote, “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here,” over the gates of the lower world. The emancipated poets of to-day have written it over the gates of this world. But if we are to understand the story which follows, we must erase that apocalyptic writing, if only for an hour. We must recreate the faith of our fathers, if only as an artistic atmosphere. If, then, you are a pessimist, in reading this story, forego for a little the pleasures of pessimism. Dream for one mad moment that the grass is green. Unlearn that sinister learning that you think so clear; deny that deadly knowledge that you think you know. Surrender the very flower of your culture; give up the very jewel of your pride; abandon hopelessness, all ye who enter here. ~ G. K. Chesterton, Charles Dickens  

Choosing just one to share this morning has been an exquisite agony—the work of an hour. This is no exaggeration! It’s also one reason why blogging regularly is a challenge for this still-in-need-of-sanctification-from-perfectionism-along-with-so-much-more soul. As soon as I hit publish, I am sure another favorite will swim before my ken . . .

You can read it yourself here, or buy it here. Then come back and share the treasures you find.

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