Thursday, April 24, 2008

Barnaby Rudge

"Let no man turn aside, ever so slightly, from the broad path of honour, on the plausible pretence that he is justified by the goodness of his end. All good ends can be worked out by good means. Those that cannot, are bad; and may be counted so at once, and left alone."

I brought this novel out from England, it was one of the two or three Dickens novels that I haven't read yet. It took me weeks to get really started on it, but eventually I could hardly bear to put it down.

I read in the Introduction that Dickens said he would never again write weekly instalment novels, preferring the scope that monthlies would give him. You can see why that would be easier on the writer, but weekly instalments must have been great fun for the readers - you can picture whole families sitting around the kitchen, listening to this week's episode, and then discussing it afterwards, and maybe arguing who should be allowed first to take it away to re-read it...

So it's no suprise that Dolly Varden became a popular imaginary figure at the time. A google image search will give you a lot of trout, a band, and even an oil rig. I wonder if the anglers or tool pushers know about the origin of the name? It's an example of the archaelogy of popular culture, a survivor through generations.

Or something.