Friday, December 12, 2014

Nonfiction RC #17

I read this book for the Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2014.

A Handbook to Pickwick Papers - Logan Clendening, 1936 

This amiable book includes a record of the author's own journey through the English towns made famous by the Charles Dickens’ comic novel Pickwick Papers.  He was a clinical professor of medicine in the University of Kansas until his death in 1945. He wrote many best-selling books about health and the human body in the 1930s.

His taste in Dickens is rather conservative – he doesn’t think any of the novels written after the Christmas novels are worth reading except for David Copperfield and A Tale of Two Cities. So much for Bleak House and Great Expectations. Still, you can tell he was a wonderful raconteur:

When I first went to England, in 1911, all my appreciation of it became suddenly vitalized. Here was the frame from which that glorious picture of adventure had been plucked. I walked the streets of London, with its strange customs and unfamiliar speech, and despite those embarrassments felt that I had come to the city of my heart. There Macauley had lived at the Albany, there was Gaunt House, town residence of the Marquis of Steyne, out yonder was the garden where Keats heard the nightingale, and round the corner was something much better than prosperity — Baker Street and the lodgings of Sherlock Holmes.

In a way, it’s sad because it makes one wonder what pre-Blitz London and Bath were like. But it’s that melancholy feeling typical of November.

No comments:

Post a Comment