This strikes me as a good time to return to our old friend Charles Dickens. We will read the last novel which Dickens completed, "Our Mutual Friend," a vast, irony-filled study of Victorian London. Over the years, hundreds of readers have recognized this novel as brimming with Dickens' most biting satire, but often softened by an overwhelming sense of compassion. We will find ourselves hating some of the characters. Intermittently, we may wince at moments of sentimentality. Truly, here is a world of greed, homelessness, social hypocrisy, empty financial speculation, and desperation, a world which resembles our own in too many ways. For characters stuck in such a world, Dickens focuses on questions of individual identity, of disguise and of concealment. Can one ever find and express one's true identity? In trying to do so, is it possible to find redemption? Lots of questions here! While struggling with such questions, we will regularly use BBC's 1998 video series, “Our Mutual Friend,” to clarify our thinking and to demonstrate how a great novel can yield an equally great film.
Instructor: Juliet Baker.
"A number of years ago, we spent an entire Senior College Year celebrating Charles Dickens' bicentennial. During those Spring and Fall Terms we read and discussed 4 or 5 novels. We devoted the Winter Term to a broad selection of films inspired by Dickens' novels. We all read a great deal, discussed texts in some detail, and enjoyed the films. For the past 14 or 15 years, Juliet has shared many literary works, both ancient and modern, with Senior College Students. This fall she'll slow down a bit by looking at only one novel and one film!"
* "This class will be held at Social Capital, 28 Spring Street, Belfast. Parking is very limited at the building; advise parking in the area. Entry on Spring Street or through sidewalk off "Midwives" building on High Street.
Our Mutual Friend (Penguin Classics) – February 1, 1998 by Charles Dickens (Author), Adrian Poole (Editor, Introduction) paperback or Kindle
The video we'll watch in class may well be available on MPBN's Passport. Students do not need to have their own access to it.
https://www.imdb.com › title
"Our Mutual Friend," is another well done BBC adaptation of a classic Charles Dickens story, set in the complex London of 1860, beset with the poor. (With, among many great actors, one of my favorites, Timothy Spall....)