Originally Posted by demonrail666
I don't think people read Dickens now for his way with words, which is incredibly bloated at times, at least by today's standards, but for his creation of characters that seem to have near universal relevance, and for his social conscious. We can all play the game of dismissing a great writer on purely formal, medium specific grounds, but we dismiss a lot of great writers that way and end up celebrating a lot of mediocre ones in their place.
Exactly — though the social consciousness of his work has come under some scrutiny, I’m not about to dismiss it. It’s important to remember that Dickens was one of the most famous human beings in the world while he was writing, and he stil (often, at least) chose to focus his stories on the day-to-day lives of the British working class and ruined ex-aristocratic families, struggling with love and legacy and so on.
He’d be “woke” by today’s standards. But we can’t really evaluate Dickens on 2017 standards, because the literary world has been so flooded for so long with disciples and disciples of disiples that, like Shakespeare of the Beatles, his influence has been so vast that it makes his own work seem almost derivative. Just because he influenced essentially every Westwrn novelist to lift a pen.
And his character construction is masterful. His prose may feel quaint or “boring” at times, to some, with no perspective. But fuck that noise.