7 February 2012

Charles Dickens - crime fiction writer?

Google Logo today, 7 Feb 2012
Charles Dickens 1812-1870
From time to time some of us wonder why we have a preference for reading crime fiction and we look to childhood authors such as Enid Blyton.

In part my addiction can be laid at the door of Edgar Allen Poe whose short stories I read in my teens.

But in the South Australian secondary education system in the 1960s we read a lot of Charles Dickens and to him I attribute my ability to see a mystery in almost every novel.

Although he didn't set out to write crime fiction, there is always at least one puzzle to be solved in a Dickens novel and the crime and justice system often comes in for castigation.
Dickens' plots were often complex, full of clues and red herrings, couched in words that you had to read carefully.
Through his eyes we see the effects of industrialisation on British society, a justice system that couldn't cope, a growing class of the impoverished and disadvantaged who turned to crime, sometimes petty sometimes more extreme.

Today, 7 February 2012, Charles Dickens (1812 - 1870) would have been 200 years old. 

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What about you?
Do you think he would have written crime fiction?
Who would you liken him to?
Has he had much influence on your reading choices?

Take  a Dickens Quiz - I got 8!


Anonymous said...

Excellent post, Kerrie! We forget I think of the very blurry line between crime fiction and "literary" fiction, and Dickens certainly integrated crime and mystery into his writing.

Marg said...

I loved the Google doodle for today!

I didn't read any Dickens at all in school, or any Jane Austen! South Australian education in the 80s appears to have changed quite significantly compared to the era you mentioned.

neer said...

Dickens does expose the underbelly of London, quite effectively. Have just read Edwin Drood in which the atmosphere of foreboding is just about perfect.

Sarah said...

I managed 9 out of 10 on the quiz (I got the Oliver Twist one wrong).
The unfinished 'Mystery of Edwin Drood' looked like it was turning into a crime type book but I think Dickens's intentions remain unclear.
I love Inspector Bucket in 'Bleak House' and in fact that book is one of my all time favourite reads.

Steven J. Wangsness said...

Dickens was a genius. I am in awe of his ability to write two novels at once, and to write finished drafts chapter by chapter, rather than all the way to the end and then again, as he published the novels in serial form in the magazines first.

Dorte H said...

"Our Mutual Friend" is one of my all-time favourites. And I am absolutely sure Dickens would have written crime fiction today, crime stories with a social message.

Kerrie said...

I'm sure Dickens would have enjoyed the novels of Ian Rankin and Ruth Rendell, and would have welcomed membership of the Detection Club


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