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The Treasure of Classic English Literature



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The Treasure of Classic English Literature

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The Treasure of Classic English Literature

  1. 1. The Treasury of Classic English Literature by Dr. Peter Hammond
  2. 2. English Literature is Being Hijacked and Deconstructed on Campus Like every other aspect of western civilisation, English literature is under relentless assault today.
  3. 3. In all too many universities, “English professors” seem to be teaching almost anything and everything except classic English literature!
  4. 4. Many who have enrolled in English classes at university have found themselves studying Marxist political and economic theory,
  5. 5. an “investigation of pornography through the ages”,
  6. 6. the gender theories of Freud, Latin culture, feminist theories,
  7. 7. deconstructionism, lesbianism, misogyny,
  8. 8. tirades against racism, sexism, colonialism, homophobia and a bewildering array of other radical post-modern political agendas.
  9. 9. This had led to an increasing public demand for shallow, superficial, sensational, vile, violent, debased and disgusting content.
  10. 10. Under Attack Many “politically correct” professors in English departments so despise and fear the western civilisation that those enrolling to learn more of English literature
  11. 11. are more likely to find themselves assailed with bankrupt ideologies than to be exposed to some of the greatest literature in western civilisation.
  12. 12. Back to the Sources Instead of subjecting oneself to anti-Christian indoctrination in so-called “English” departments of secular universities, students would immeasurably enrich their experience and their education by going directly to the works of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen,
  13. 13. John Milton, William Shakespeare, John Bunyan, Geoffrey Chaucer, George Orwell, C.S. Lewis and other greats of English literature.
  14. 14. A study of the great classics of English literature is absolutely essential for a true education.
  15. 15. The English classics have played a key role in teaching individual virtue and for laying foundations for western civilisation.
  16. 16. Character Shaping Reading the works of William Shakespeare, John Milton, John Bunyan, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens helps us exercise our minds and enrich our experiences.
  17. 17. Great Christian literature enables us to recognise truths, appreciate beauty and admire what is virtuous.
  18. 18. The literary classics include drama that purges our minds, with breath-taking intensity, heart-breaking pathos and poetry that makes us hunger and thirst after virtue and courage.
  19. 19. Good literature enables us to recognise what is truly beautiful and honourable.
  20. 20. It helps shape our character by teaching us to despise what is dishonourable,
  21. 21. to love what is noble and to aspire to higher standards in our own lives.
  22. 22. Foundational in Education In his 1950 Nobel Literature Award acceptance speech, William Faulkner described the primary duty of authors to remind men “of the courage and honour and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of our past.”
  23. 23. The study of great works of literature has always been considered foundational in education.
  24. 24. The Value of English Literature English literature teaches appreciation for military valour, chastity and integrity. Self-criticism and the Christian Faith are at the heart of English literature.
  25. 25. Beauty and ugliness in our characters are exposed, along with the capacities, for good and evil, of the human mind and heart. Skill is admired, achievement is extolled, the disastrous consequences of laziness, cowardice and foolish choices are exposed.
  26. 26. There are an infinite variety of wonderful life-transforming lessons to be learnt from English literature.
  27. 27. William Shakespeare William Shakespeare’s plays have universal appeal because of his intuitive understanding of human nature. Shakespeare’s plays reflect the world as it is.
  28. 28. Shakespeare evidences a comprehensive, accurate and deep perception of the nature of things, especially of human nature.
  29. 29. Insightful Shakespeare’s plays are delightful, breath-taking, real and natural. He gives us characters who show us more about what human beings really are.
  30. 30. When you see a Shakespeare play, you recognise the characters, you know them from your own experience, although his insights enable us to understand these characters better than ever before.
  31. 31. Hamlet Hamlet is much more than a depressed and confused young man. He is self-conscious, sensitive to the moral failings of his elders, keenly aware of the implications of everyone’s actions, but tragically unwilling to shoulder responsibility and to gain control over events.
  32. 32. Richard III Richard III is a wicked king who resents other people’s happiness and plots to ruin them for his own advantage. He is an outrageous villain whose schemes succeed for a time, but then unravel completely.
  33. 33. Defining the Issues Shakespeare’s plays enable us to understand human nature, human history and the things that human beings think about, in a clearer way than any other playwright has succeeded in doing.
  34. 34. Shakespeare’s characters look at things from many different angles. They do not merely consider the issues, they define them. His plays are full of famous speeches which focus on the heart of an issue.
  35. 35. Death Each play seems to explore a major issue. For example, Hamlet considers death from every angle. Why we long for death. Why we fear it. What it does to our bodies. What it does to our souls. What we know about death. It is a mystery.
  36. 36. The many ways that there are to die. The many reasons for dying.
  37. 37. Hamlet includes a girl who goes insane and kills herself; a rash young man who throws his life away in a duel over his sister’s honour;
  38. 38. a scheming courtier who is killed as he eavesdrops;
  39. 39. college friends who betray their schoolmate and conspire to kill him, only to fall into their own trap;
  40. 40. a fratricide who is racked by guilt but cannot bring himself to give up his brother’s wife and his brother’s kingdom.
  41. 41. Hamlet’s famous “To be or not to be” speech and numerous poisonings, both purposeful and by accident, are also included in this extraordinary play.
  42. 42. Success Henry V considers every aspect of kingship and success. “Small time, but in that small most greatly lived this star of England: fortune made his sword; by which the world’s best garden he achieved…”
  43. 43. What is a king? What are the qualities that make for greatness? How many parts generosity, courage, leadership and humility? How many parts ruthlessness? What are the costs? Are not even the heaviest costs worth these great achievements?
  44. 44. Wealth The Merchant of Venice concerns wealth. Every person and incident in the play seems to have something to do with money. Antonio, a merchant who has grown rich by risky ventures in trade.
  45. 45. Shylock, a Jew who lives by lending money at interest and hoards coins and jewels at home. Shylock’s daughter, who elopes, taking large amounts of his wealth with her, wasting it like a prodigal.
  46. 46. There are two marriages which are made, at least partly, for money. Portia, an heiress whose father’s will specifies that she be awarded to the man who guesses rightly among three treasure chests.
  47. 47. Bassanio, a charming young man with large debts, promising, handsome, spendthrift, disingenuous, careless, who dares to ask his friend (from whom he has already borrowed money he cannot pay back), for a large and very risky loan.
  48. 48. There’s a lawsuit over a defaulted loan in which the moneylender claims the right to cut a pound of flesh from the merchant’s chest. The play includes much poetry concerning wealth and treasure: where it comes from, where it goes and what it means to men and women and to their relationships.
  49. 49. Understanding Human Experience Such themes are the bones and muscles underneath the surface of the drama in Shakespeare’s plays. Shakespeare was an expert in the common fundamental laws of human nature and he plainly drew his plays from the actual structure of human experience.
  50. 50. Shakespeare prods and pokes at reality. He throws characters, events and ideas together and makes them combine in every possible way. He shows how ambition tends to work differently in men and women.
  51. 51. He exposes the ugliness of human greed, lust, violence, envy and betrayal. (Whereas today such things are glamorised and popularised)
  52. 52. Macbeth Macbeth exposes what unbridled selfish ambition can do to human beings. Macbeth becomes a progressively more paranoid and isolated murderer.
  53. 53. Lady Macbeth, who is all strength, confidence and resolve while she is provoking Macbeth to commit the initial murder,
  54. 54. cracks under the weight of the responsibility once the deed is done. The tyrant’s crimes set in motion destructive forces that will ultimately overwhelm him or her.
  55. 55. Jealousy Othello is focused on lust and jealousy. Othello’s ensign, Lago, envious of Othello’s Lieutenant Cassio deceives Othello into murdering his faithful wife, Desdemona, by persuading Othello that she has been unfaithful with Cassio.
  56. 56. The play revolves around the nature and effects of jealousy “the green eyed monster which doth consume the meat it feeds on.”
  57. 57. It also was seen as a clear warning against marrying temperamental men of other races.
  58. 58. King Lear King Lear is a profound play set in the remote past of pre-Christian Britain. King Lear abdicated his kingdom in favour of his two daughters, Goneril and Regan, who feed his appetite for affection with extravagant and insincere speeches.
  59. 59. When they turn on him and reduce him to being a homeless wanderer in the wind and rain, he finds support from his third daughter, Cordelia, whom he had disinherited because of her failure to flatter like her treacherous sisters.
  60. 60. The tragedy of King Lear centres on being deceived by insincerity and the failure of the most basic natural relationship between parent and child.
  61. 61. Choices for Chastity Shakespeare’s tragedies show that some choices are inherently destructive. It is no wonder that Shakespeare is so shunned and slandered by many liberal professors.
  62. 62. Shakespeare repeatedly exposes the wickedness of fornication and adultery, the importance of pre-marital virginity, the shame of unfaithfulness and the foundational importance of Christian marriage and obeying the Laws of God.
  63. 63. John Milton One of the greatest English poets, John Milton, was a dedicated Evangelical Christian. Milton was one of the most learned writers of literature. He studied for seven years at Cambridge University and then completed six years of postgraduate studies, becoming fluent in Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Italian.
  64. 64. He knew all the great literature in each of those languages and studied Philosophy, Theology, Maths, Music, History and Science. He travelled throughout Europe and met many of the great minds of his time.
  65. 65. During the English Civil War, Milton was a leader of the Puritan Forces fighting for Parliament.
  66. 66. John Milton served as Secretary for Foreign Tongues under General Oliver Cromwell.
  67. 67. Temptation John Milton wrote Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained. To Milton, the most important events of history were the events of the Bible. The central drama of human life is temptation. The highest form of heroism is patient resistance to temptation.
  68. 68. Comus, a play written by Milton centres around the temptation of “The Lady”, a 15-year-old daughter of an Earl. Comus exalts temperance and chastity as essential for our safety and happiness. We fall by giving in to temptation, but we rise by resisting it.
  69. 69. Personal Heroism Despite personal tragedy in his own life, losing his sight by his mid-forties and being publically disgraced and impoverished by the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II, Milton epitomised the heroic ideal by patient endurance of affliction and unjust abuse. As he wrote: “Who best bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best…”
  70. 70. Paradise Lost The opening lines of Paradise Lost declare: “Of man’s first disobedience and the fruit of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste brought death into the world and all our woe, with loss of Eden, till one greater Man restore us and regain the blissful state…”
  71. 71. The Degrading Doom of Disobedience Milton’s works show how obedience to God can be heroic and liberating. He exposes the ultimate folly of giving in to temptation. Milton shows that disobedience which begins by looking so attractive, is ultimately selfish, squalid, degrading, defiling, destructive and doomed.
  72. 72. Paradise Regained Just as in Paradise Lost where he focused on the Fall of Adam and Eve, in Paradise Regained Milton focuses on Christ’s victory over temptation in the desert and His triumph over sin, satan, death, hell and the grave.
  73. 73. Freedom of Expression Even when a key leader of the victorious parliamentary forces, John Milton championed the freedom of the press. It is a fact of history that freedom of speech and freedom of the press were not invented by the Enlightenment rationalists, but rather by the Puritan Christians of the English Protectorate.
  74. 74. Freedom of Speech Milton argued for a wide liberty to publish opinions, even erroneous ones! When the Puritan Parliament was triumphant over all its enemies, John Milton addressed the Members of the House to urge them to decide for free speech: “in the midst of your victories and successes.”
  75. 75. To Milton truth is so important that we cannot afford to miss the opportunity to learn from some piece of it that may never see the light of day under the restrictions of government censorship.
  76. 76. Truth does Not Fear Investigation Anyone who thinks that the work of Reformation is complete, betrays that he is still very short of the whole truth. Censorship hinders the work of truth seekers.
  77. 77. Milton explained that it is our duty to sift through different opinions, to test them, to find what is right. “All opinions, yea errors, learned, read and collated, are of main service and assistance toward the speedy attainment of what is truest.”
  78. 78. Even “bad books” may be useful to the truth seeker, to the “discreet and judicious reader.” Milton taught that even errors can be used to “confute, to forewarn and to illustrate.”
  79. 79. A Champion for Freedom of Conscience We live in a world where good and evil “grow up together almost inseparably” because God wants human beings to be free. “For God sure esteems the growth and completing of one virtuous person more than the restraint of ten vicious.”
  80. 80. As a champion of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of worship, freedom of conscience and freedom of the press and as an unparalleled poet, John Milton and his epics Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, testify against the danger of societies exiling religious Truth from the public market place of ideas.
  81. 81. Jane Austen Jane Austen is widely recognised as one of the greatest English writers of all time. No other writer is so often compared to Shakespeare.
  82. 82. Jane Austen has been described as: “The most perfect artist among women, the writer whose books are immortal” and “the greatest female writer in English.”
  83. 83. Jane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817)
  84. 84. Jane was the seventh of eight children.
  85. 85. Her father Rev. George Austen, was an Anglican pastor at Steventon and nearby Deane.
  86. 86. The first 25 years of Jane’s life were spent in the Manse of Steventon, with her six brothers and sister, Cassandra. As their home also was the local parish school, she was brought up in a crowded, busy home with lots of distractions.
  87. 87. Productivity Amidst Much Distraction However, her father, recognising her skill in writing, gave her a portable wooden desk which could open up and serve as her portable office, containing drawers and compartments for writing materials and manuscripts.
  88. 88. Wherever Jane went, this portable writing station went with her. In 1801, the Austen family moved to Bath. After her father’s death in 1805, his widow and daughters moved back to Hampshire.
  89. 89. Creative Trend Setter Her first published book was Sense and Sensibility (1811), which was followed by Pride and Prejudice (initially named First Impressions) published in 1813.
  90. 90. This was followed by Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1816). Two additional novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion were both published posthumously in 1818.
  91. 91. Her use of biting irony, realism, humour and social commentary have earned her great acclaim amongst critics, scholars and popular audiences alike.
  92. 92. Love Stories from a Broken Heart Jane Austen was recovering from a broken heart when she wrote the original draft of her book Pride and Prejudice. Her suitor could not afford to marry her and he moved away. She never found a love to match her first love and therefore never married.
  93. 93. A Literary Genius Jane Austen spent her whole life financially dependent on her father and six brothers, sharing a room with her sister Cassandra and writing her novels in the general sitting room, subject to every kind of interruption…
  94. 94. Jane Austen was a genius whose novels present some of the most insightful commentaries on society and the most extraordinary understanding of human character.
  95. 95. A Feminist’s Nightmare It is understandable why many “politically correct” radicals would want to distort, or ignore, Jane Austen’s literary contributions, because Jane Austen is so obviously a conservative Christian whose novels celebrate marriage and patriarchal society.
  96. 96. The opening line of Pride and Prejudice is an easily recognisable and famous quote: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”
  97. 97. Dereliction of Duty Jane Austen’s novels encourage men to take charge. The male tendency to not take responsibility, to keep their options open and not to get involved, is what makes young men so dangerous.
  98. 98. The villains in Jane Austen’s novels are generally the men who don’t stick around. The male tendency to avoid, or weasel out of, commitment creates havoc. Desertion from duty leads to disaster.
  99. 99. Psychology and Sin Jane Austen recognises the stubborn realities of male and female psychology. She takes her religion very seriously and finds it completely natural that men and women should occupy gender specific roles. She accepted that human misery is caused, not by traditional societal rules and structures, but by individual sin and dereliction of duty.
  100. 100. Identifying the Root Issues Flying in the face of politically correct feminist rhetoric and egalitarian dogma, Jane Austen’s novels portray the failure of female self-control on one hand and male abdication of their proper responsibilities on the other, as among the chief causes of people’s unhappiness.
  101. 101. Her novels celebrate old-fashioned marriage, in which a woman can expect to be guided and protected by her husband and to be responsible for the management of a household and the nurture of her children as her most intense sources of fulfillment.
  102. 102. Humour and Hypocrisy Jane Austen happily pokes fun at every kind of superficiality, pretence and hypocrisy.
  103. 103. Her novels are full of women who are too free with their tongues, such as the embarrassing vulgar Mrs Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. Mrs Bennet’s gossip about her eldest daughter’s success with the rich young man determines that man’s friend to get his friend out of the neighbourhood and break her daughter’s heart.
  104. 104. Selfish Stupidity Numerous female characters’ habits of selfish whining make their families miserable and cause untold suffering. Lydia Bennet in Pride and Prejudice so violates accepted social customs and good sense, that she ends up dependent on relatives and friends needing to bribe her seducer to marry her.
  105. 105. Arrogance on Display Lady Catherine de Bourgh in Pride and Prejudice is a rich widow clearly spoiled by too much money. “Elizabeth found that nothing was beneath this great lady’s attention, which could furnish her with an occasion for dictating to others.”
  106. 106. Emma – The Matchmaker and Manipulator Emma Woodhouse, although “handsome, clever and rich” and only 21 years old, is spoiled, not only because of money and good looks, but because her “affectionate, indulgent” father is a hypochondriac who does not have the energy to give her the guidance and direction she so clearly needs.
  107. 107. Emma is in some danger of ending up as an interfering, bossy old dragon, like Lady Catherine de Bourgh, as she amuses herself with matchmaking.
  108. 108. Because Emma is blessed with more than most young woman could possibly want, (more intelligence, more freedom, more money, more good looks and without the needed constraints from her parents), she is always used to getting her own way and mercilessly interferes in other people’s lives.
  109. 109. Emma chooses to adopt Harriet Smith to manipulate, rather than Jane Fairfax, who is of Emma’s own class, because Jane is just as intelligent as Emma and much more accomplished.
  110. 110. Jane reminds Emma of her own few faults, whereas Harriet gives Emma endless opportunity to indulge herself in condescension and advice and to bask in Harriet’s uncritical gratitude.
  111. 111. Emma falls to the temptation to enjoy Harriet’s blind flattery rather than make the effort to live up to a real friendship with a girl who is her equal. Laziness and pride almost destroy Emma.
  112. 112. Spoiled Males There are many spoiled men in Jane Austen’s novels too. These men are not the feminist villains of those who attempt to dominate women. Jane Austen’s male villains are those who shirk their responsibilities, do not involve themselves and fail to take charge.
  113. 113. Mr Elton humiliates Harriet Smith in public in order to please his vulgar new bride.
  114. 114. John Dashwood allows his selfish wife to persuade him to break his promise to his dying father to take care of his sisters.
  115. 115. Mr Bennet, in Pride and Prejudice, fails to be an effective father, retreating into his library and his sardonic sense of humour, to escape his ridiculous interfering wife and the daughters he lets run wild.
  116. 116. Mr Woodhouse is so weak that it does not even occur to him that he has a duty to guide his daughter, Emma.
  117. 117. Weak Males Sir Thomas Bertram, of Mansfield Park, is a strict parent, but he fails to adequately interfere to the extent of teaching his daughters “the necessity of self-denial and humility.” Most seriously, he allows his daughter, Maria, to marry a worthless man whom he knows does not love her, just because he is reluctant to scrutinize her motives too closely.
  118. 118. Flirtatious Males Jane Austen exposes the tendency of men to fail to take responsibility and in each of her novels there’s at least one man who pays a woman the kind of attention that he should not, unless his intentions were serious, which in these cases, they were not.
  119. 119. Traditional Family Values In Sense and Sensibility, Marianne Dashwood, seriously hurt by her experience with passionate Rousseauian naturalism finds refuge in religious principles, conventional standards and traditional family values. She marries “with no sentiment superior to strong esteem and lively friendship” settling for much less than she had once hoped for.
  120. 120. However, having seen where her blindness to the cold, hard facts of human nature had almost taken her, she recognises how much worse it could have been. Such as in the case of the already seduced, pregnant and abandoned other girl who was in love with her almost lover.
  121. 121. Jane died in Winchester, aged just 42, after a yearlong debilitating illness and was buried in Winchester Cathedral.
  122. 122. Resistance to Immorality The Victorian reaction to the excesses of Romanticism were also seen in the writings of Alfred Tennyson, Robert Browning, Matthew Arnold, George Meredith, Gerard Hopkins, the Bronte sisters, George Eliot and Charles Dickens.
  123. 123. Charles Dickens
  124. 124. Charles Dickens (7 February 1812 - 9 June 1870) was one of the greatest Novelists of the Victorian era.
  125. 125. Charles Dickens was born 7 February 1812 at Landport, Portsea Island, Portsmouth, the second of eight children of John and Elizabeth Dickens, his father worked for the Royal Navy as a pay clerk.
  126. 126. One of his favourite books as a young boy was Robinson Crusoe. Charles experienced a few years of private education, including at a school run by a dissenter, William Giles, in Catham.
  127. 127. Debtors Prison Mounting debts and living beyond his means, led John Dickens into Marshalsea Debtors Prison in Southwark, London, in 1824. Charles was then just 12-years old and was forced to work in a “Blacking” (shoe polish) factory, to help support the family.
  128. 128. Journalist At age 21, Dickens began working as a parliamentary reporter. He submitted short stories and articles to local papers and magazines, travelled across Britain to cover election campaigns for the Morning Chronicle and became a Court reporter.
  129. 129. In 1836, Dickens became editor of Bentley’s Miscellany.
  130. 130. Pioneer of Serialised Cliffhangers Dickens’ was a pioneer of serialised fiction incorporating accessible, affordable, series of regular cliff-hangers, making the next new episode widely anticipated
  131. 131. with reports of American fans waiting at the docks at New York harbour, shouting out to the crew of incoming British ships for details of the next episode in a Dickens novel!
  132. 132. Charles Dickens was a crusading social reformer
  133. 133. against the debtors prison, the workhouse and other abuses in Victorian society. However, as an astute observer of human nature,
  134. 134. Charles Dickens exposes the faults typical of liberal thinking as well.
  135. 135. Unintended Consequences Charles Dickens’ novels illustrate the unintended consequences of liberal actions. Every set of choices set in motion a complex chain of events that no one could have foreseen, let alone control. Good and evil deeds have long shadows.
  136. 136. Actions Have Consequences The ultimate effects of our actions are determined more by the intrinsic character of the acts themselves than by our motivation at the time.
  137. 137. Deeds of greed and cruelty have devastating consequences. The end does not justify the means. It is never right to do evil that good may come of it.
  138. 138. Hard Times In his “Hard Times,” novel Dickens not only depicts the conditions of factory workers, but exposes the destructiveness of the radical modern experiments in education as well.
  139. 139. Bleak House In Dickens’ “Bleak House,” Mrs Jellyby loves the Africans so much that she neglects her own family, even persecuting her own children in pursuit of her high and compassionate ideals for strangers.
  140. 140. Her children become casualties of the Revolutionary era, in which large projects for the betterment of the human race, crowd out traditional individual responsibilities and absolute moral standards.
  141. 141. Oliver Twist When Oliver Twist was published in 1839, young Queen Victoria read it, staying up until midnight to discuss it. As with most of his later books, Oliver Twist was first published in monthly instalments in a newspaper, before being published as a complete book.
  142. 142. Social Reformer Dickens first successful Novel, Oliver Twist (1839), shocked readers with its images and insights of crime, poverty and the criminal underclass of industrialised London.
  143. 143. His novels have been accredited with literally changing public opinion on a vast amount of social issues. Some asserted that Dickens communicated more political and social truths than all the politicians, publicists and moralists combined.
  144. 144. Oliver Twist was first published as a monthly series from 1837 to 1839 and then published as a book.
  145. 145. The story centres on orphan Oliver Twist, born in a workshop, sold into apprenticeship with an undertaker. Oliver’s mother, Agnus, died in childbirth. His father was mysteriously absent.
  146. 146. Oliver spent the first 9 years of his life in the “care” of a Mrs. Mann, with little food and few comforts. Oliver was removed by Mr Bumble and sent to the Workhouse.
  147. 147. Exposing the Abuse of Children Oliver Twist exposed the cruel treatment of many orphans, in London, in the mid-19th century Industrial Revolution. His alternative title, The Parish Boy’s Progress, alludes to Bunyan’s, The Pilgrim’s Progress.
  148. 148. Charles Dickens exposed the abuses of his time: child labour, the recruitment and abuse of children as criminals,
  149. 149. the presence of street children and the nefarious activities of gangsters who exploited them.
  150. 150. Fagin Oliver escapes and travels to London where he meets the Artful Dodger, a member of a gang of juvenile pickpockets led by the criminal Fagin
  151. 151. Fagin In popular culture, Fagin is now used as a term for adults who abuse children for illegal activities.
  152. 152. Fagin is a miser who, despite the wealth he has accumulated,
  153. 153. does nothing to improve the squalled lives of the children he abuses and exploits. He beats the Artful Dodger for failing to bring Oliver back when he was arrested.
  154. 154. Fagin indirectly, but intentionally, causes the death of Nancy, by falsely informing Sikes that she had betrayed him. Whereas in reality, she had actually shielded Sikes from the law.
  155. 155. As a result of Fagin’s scheme, Sikes kills Nancy.
  156. 156. The Jewish Connection When Dickens was accused of antisemitism, for identifying Fagin as a Jew, Dickens wrote, that, as a Court Reporter, he had extensive knowledge of London’s street life and “it unfortunately is true, that class of criminals, almost invariably, is a Jew.”
  157. 157. In fact, the Fagin character was based on a specific notorious Jewish criminal of the era, Ikey Solomon. Pressure from Jewish bankers required the deletion of over 180 instances of “Jew” from the text of Oliver Twist for later editions.
  158. 158. Nancy Nancy is a victim of domestic violence and psychological abuse at the hands of Bill Sikes, who ultimately murders her. Nancy was recruited, indoctrinated, groomed and trained by Fagin since childhood.
  159. 159. Yet she comes to repent of her role in the kidnapping of Oliver Twist and takes steps to try to atone for her part in the crime.
  160. 160. Nancy redeems herself at the cost of her own life and dies in a prayerful pose.
  161. 161. Dickens received considerable criticism for depicting “a woman of the street,” so sympathetically.
  162. 162. Again, Dickens referred to actual case studies and individuals
  163. 163. which he had encountered as a court reporter, which were an inspiration for the novel.
  164. 164. Great Expectations is a masterpiece by one of the world’s greatest storytellers. Charles Dickens had already written 12 successful novels before Great Expectations.
  165. 165. Great Expectations exceeds the promise of its title. It includes a convoluted, but thrilling, story line, unforgettable characters, heart wrenching scenarios and tremendous insights.
  166. 166. Rejected Love Pip, a poor orphan, encounters and assists an escaped convict, Magwitch.
  167. 167. Some years later he is informed by a lawyer that he has great expectations because a mysterious benefactor will provide for him to become a gentleman.
  168. 168. Pip assumes that the eccentric Miss Havisham is his sponsor and that he is being groomed to marry Estella, Miss Havisham’s beautiful adopted daughter, whom he has been regularly called to play with.
  169. 169. As Pip abandons his humble origins to begin a promising new life in London, he falls in love with Estella, who treats him with callous indifference.
  170. 170. Deception However, nothing is quite as it seems and when a strange visitor reveals the true identity of his benefactor, Pip is horrified. Now his real education, through adversity, leads him to the true nature of his great expectations.
  171. 171. Dickens’ story of the spirit of Christmas past, present and future, has been dramatized on stage and film dozens of times and it never seems to lose its impact. Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in just 2 months.
  172. 172. Contrasts at Christmas The miserly Ebenezer Scrooge has wealth, but little joy in life. This is in contrast to the Cratchit family, who are poor in the things of this world, but rich in family love, spirit and in meaning and purpose.
  173. 173. Selfishness Confronted On Christmas Eve, Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his business partner, Jacob Marley, in chains.
  174. 174. Marley warns Scrooge that to help him avoid the same fate, three spirits are going to appear to him that night. The ghost of Christmas Past, the ghost of Christmas Present and the ghost of Christmas yet to come.
  175. 175. Scrooge was offered a chance to change his wicked ways. Will he experience Redemption?
  176. 176. This novel by Charles Dickens was brought to the screen as “The Man who Invented Christmas.”
  177. 177. Bleak House is a searing indictment of the convoluted legal profession in industrial Britain, although it seems even more relevant and applicable today.
  178. 178. Based on actual legal precedents, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, a long-running legal case is at the centre of Bleak House. This novel helped support a Judicial Reform Movement, which culminated in the enactment of Legal Reform in the 1870’s.
  179. 179. Victimised by Lawyers There are three main stories interwoven in Dickens style with characteristic warmth and humour.
  180. 180. The first is the case where young Richard Cartstone, who is a ward of benefactor John Jarndyce, but is exploited by ruthless predators and hopelessly trapped in a convoluted, apparently endless and ruinous court case, Richard descends into poverty and ill-health.
  181. 181. Murder Mystery The virtuous Esther Summerson, another Jarndyce ward, is pivotal to the second strand of the story. She apparently has some link to the aristocratic Lady Dedlock, whose sinister lawyer Tulkinghorn, senses a secret which he tries to uncover.
  182. 182. There is also a murder, which is doggedly investigated by Inspector Bucket. This is arguable the first murder mystery in English literature.
  183. 183. Unique Narrative Structure The third strand to the story is narrated subjectively by Esther. This is the first time a male English writer used a female narrator for a story. Bleak House has a unique narrative structure told both by a third person narrator and a first person narrator. These narrative strands never quite intersect, although they do run parallel.
  184. 184. Exposé of Judicial Extortion Bleak House is both a tragic story of doomed young love and a genuinely enthralling murder mystery.
  185. 185. However, it is also a stunning exposé of lawyers who, far from upholding the noble principles of justice, delight in extorting money out of the misery of their clients.
  186. 186. Inspiring Legal and Social Reform Dickens’ descriptions of urban squalor and legal injustice were quoted from by editors, social reformers, members of Parliament & investigators on sanitary conditions of British towns.
  187. 187. English legal historian, Sir William Holdsworth, in his 1928 series of lectures, Charles Dickens as a Legal Historian, made a case for treating Dickens’ novels, Bleak House in particular, as primary sources illuminating the History of English law.
  188. 188. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…” these opening lines of A Tale of Two Cities are some of the most famous and easily recognisable in literature and it sets the tone for the book.
  189. 189. A Story of Contrasts A Tale of Two Cities is a story of contrasts, of the dramatic events that affected London and Paris, England and France, contrasting the fruit of Christianity in London
  190. 190. and the disastrous consequences of secular humanism and revolutionary fervour in Paris.
  191. 191. Love and Loyalty Against All Odds A Tale of Two Cities covers the full range of human experiences: love and hate, peace and violence, order and chaos, sobriety and drunkenness, compassion and cruelty, selfishness and self-sacrifice, hope and despair.
  192. 192. The underlying moral message is Redemption. All of this is weaved into a gripping human story of love and loyalty against all odds.
  193. 193. Revolution After 18 years unjustly imprisoned in the Bastille, Dr. Manette is released and taken to England to start a new life with his daughter, Lucie.
  194. 194. A court case brings them into contact with two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat accused of espionage and Sydney Carton, a brilliant, but disreputable and self- loathing barrister.
  195. 195. Darnay is saved by Carton who cast doubts on the case of the prosecution. Both men love Lucie, but she chooses to marry Darnay and together they have a child.
  196. 196. Redemption Years later when Darnay learns that a faithful servant has been imprisoned in France, he feels he must return to plead his case.
  197. 197. When Darnay is imprisoned and sentenced to death by the Revolutionary mob, his family is drawn to bloodstained Paris where they all fall under the lengthening shadows of the guillotine.
  198. 198. It is at this crisis time that Sydney Carton chooses Redemption. “It is a far, far better thing that I do than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.”
  199. 199. It was most appropriate that in 1989, on the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain presented French president, Francois Mitterand, The Iron Lady in Paris
  200. 200. a leather-bound first edition of Charles Dickens’, immortal classic A Tale of Two Cities book.
  201. 201. When reporters at the G7 Conference in Paris flocked to ask Margaret Thatcher’s impressions of The French Revolution, the Iron Lady replied: “It resulted in a lot of headless corpses and a tyrant.”
  202. 202. Prime Minister Thatcher had a sense of the momentous event, as this G7 Conference had been scheduled in Paris to coincide with the 200th anniversary of The French Revolution. Resistance to Revolution
  203. 203. The Iron Lady’s symbolic act of resistance was itself historic. Margaret Thatcher advised the French President to read A Tale of Two Cities, to learn why the French Revolution had been completely unnecessary.
  204. 204. “They promise them freedom, While they themselves are slaves of depravity…” 2 Peter 2:19
  205. 205. Creative Literary Genius Charles Dickens enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime and critics and scholars have recognised him as a literary genius.
  206. 206. Fellow authors, Leo Tolstoy, George Orwell and others, have praised Charles Dickens for his realism, comedy, unique characterisations and social reform.
  207. 207. He created some of the world’s best-known fictional characters and his novels and short stories are still widely read today.
  208. 208. Against the backdrop of an often-turbulent personal life, Charles Dickens wrote 14 novels between 1837 and 1870.
  209. 209. A gifted performer, starting in 1842, Dickens also made lucrative and highly acclaimed tours of Britain and the United States of America, giving public readings from his works.
  210. 210. Popular Material for Stage Plays and Film Adaptations His 1843 novel, A Christmas Carol, remains especially popular and continue to inspire adaptations for stage, theatre and film.
  211. 211. Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations have frequently been adapted to film.
  212. 212. Dedicated Christian Although Charles Dickens exposed hypocrisy and formalism in organised religion, he honoured the Lord Jesus Christ and was “a Christian with deep convictions.” He wrote The Life of our Lord in 1846 to school his children and family in the Faith.
  213. 213. Some has described Charles Dickens as “the man who invented Christmas” because of the enormous social impact of his Christmas Carol novel.
  214. 214. In 1845, when Charles Dickens took up the Editorship of the Daily News, he editorialised that his goal was “the principles of progress and improvement, of education in civil and religious liberty and equal legislation.”
  215. 215. Productive and Generous In 1851, Dickens moved into Tavistock House where he wrote Bleak House (1853), Hard Times (1854) and Little Dorrit (1856).
  216. 216. Bleak House (1853), Hard Times (1854) and Little Dorrit (1856).
  217. 217. Dickens was a generous philanthropist who raised and donated large sums for hospitals and Childrens’ homes.
  218. 218. Energetic Speaking Tours On one of his reading tours, from April 1858 to February 1859, he gave 129 appearances in 49 different towns throughout England, Scotland and Ireland.
  219. 219. A Tale of Two Cities was published in 1859 and Great Expectations in 1861. When Charles Dickens died 8 June 1870 of a stroke, it was after a full day’s work on The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
  220. 220. Westminster Abbey He was laid to rest in Poets Corner of Westminster Abbey.
  221. 221. An epitaph circulated at the time of the funeral reads: “To the memory of Charles Dickens (England’s most popular author) who died at his residence, Higham, near Rochester, Kent, 9 June 1870, aged 58 years. He was a sympathiser for the poor, the suffering and the oppressed and by his death one of England’s greatest writers is lost to the world.”
  222. 222. Genius for Social Reform and English Literature Dean Arthur Stanley praised: “the genial and loving humourist, whom we now mourn for showed by his own example that even in dealing with the darkest scenes and the most degraded characters, genius could still be clean and mirth could be innocent.”
  223. 223. Pointing to the fresh flowers adorning the novelist’s grave, Stanley commented that “the spot would henceforth be a sacred one with both the New World and the Old, as that of the representative of literature, not of this island only, but of all who speak our English tongue.”
  224. 224. Dickens Remodelled Psychological Geography Dickens’ novels included pictures, melodrama, arresting names for his characters, allegorical impetus, satires, striking settings, describing down to the minutest details the personal characteristics and life history of his characters.
  225. 225. Critics noted that Dickens remodelled our psychological geography with extraordinarily revealing remarks and insights on characters in his novels.
  226. 226. Scarred by Traumatic Childhood Experiences Others noted that while Charles Dickens certainly drew on his childhood experiences, he was so ashamed and scarred by them
  227. 227. that he would not reveal that this was where he gathered his realistic accounts of squalor.
  228. 228. Very few knew the details of his early life until six years after his death, when John Foster published a biography on him.
  229. 229. Compelling Characters Confronting Crime Dickens gave to the world: compelling story lines and unforgettable characters, which confronted social justice issues and frequently led to legislation and action to correct injustices in society.
  230. 230. One of the Most Successful and Popular Authors of All Time Charles Dickens was one of the most popular novelists of his time and remains one of the best known and best read of English authors of all time. His works have never been out of print. They have been continually adapted for the screen, with at least 200 dramatic films and TV adaptations based on Dickens’ works.
  231. 231. Celebrated Novelist In a UK survey carried out by the BBC in 2003, five of Charles Dickens books were named in the top 100 English books of all time.
  232. 232. In 2002, Charles Dickens was voted 41 in the BBC’s poll on the 100 Greatest Britons of all time.
  233. 233. Dickens and his publications have appeared on postage stamps throughout the world
  234. 234. Dickens was commemorated on a series of £10 notes issued by the Bank of England between 1992 and 2003.
  235. 235. In 2012, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens, the Museum of London held major exhibition on the author and his books.
  236. 236. Non-Art Evelyn Waugh points out that “art”, the only aim of which is to annoy and upset its audience, is not really art at all.
  237. 237. Without Faith Civilisation Crumbles Waugh observes that without the Christian religion human beings are disgustingly selfish and shallow. The loss of the Christian Faith means death for western civilisation.
  238. 238. This may explain why so many politically correct “English professors” today have stopped teaching English literature.
  239. 239. “Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on such things.” Philippians 4:8
  240. 240. Dr. Peter Hammond Reformation Society P.O. Box 74 Newlands, 7725 Cape Town, South Africa Tel: (021) 689-4480 Fax: (021) 685-5884 Email: Website: