Winter is a good time to talk about Charles Dickens. His last completed book "Our Mutual Friend" is 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.
Note: Fall 2023, we presented this class but due to unforeseen circumstances, it had to be postponed and "revised" for our Winterim audience.
We will be watching a Masterpiece Classic film as part of the class discussion.
Our Mutual Friend (Penguin Classics) – February 1, 1998 by Charles Dickens (Author), Adrian Poole (Editor, Introduction) paperback or Kindle.
Instructor - Juliet Baker
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!"