Dickens and Dylan

There is a freshness to Dickens’s fiction, a kind of unadulterated vision, that takes in everything somehow more than most people.  It reminds me of descriptions of Bob Dylan as a sponge, almost involuntarily absorbing influences, appropriating them largely, synthesizing them into something new.  That comes close to my impression of Dickens’s voice, Copperfield’s voice, how remarkably memorable it is, whether he is describing a cold grey day, the red pinched face of a servant, the sound of the tide coming in.  The feeling of being in the presence of a frighteningly omnivorous imagination.  Reading D.C. feels that way – I’m just kind of gobbled up by the book, ludicrously absorbed and enchanted.  I think this is partly why Dickens is the greatest English novelist of all time – it’s the freshness of his vision.  Nothing in D.C. creaks, unless it’s supposed to.  The dialogue is just sparkling.  And the characters have a depth, roundness and richness that suggests fathomless interiority.  Dickens somehow totally invests you in the climate of the book.  It’s an ideal reading experience, really.

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