Great Expectations

Well, to-day marks the beginning of my celebration of the Dickens bicentennial. I am going to start with great expectations!

The new issue of Vanity Fair has a posthumous article by Christopher Hitchens that sheds new light on a meeting Dickens allegedly had with Dostoyevsky, as well as his attitude towards America. He also talks about Dickens’ depictions of childhood and states that “it is all there to emphasize the one central and polar and critical point that Dickens wishes to enjoin on us all: whatever you do—hang on to your childhood!”

The Smithsonian site on Dickens is very interesting. I won’t even try to summarize, except to point out that a new film of Great Expectations is ready for release, with Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham, Ralph Fiennes as Magwitch, Robbie Coltrane as Jaggers, and the delectable Holly Grainger (Lucretia in the Borgia series) as Estelle. What a cast! I am looking forward to seeing this on the big screen, but I don’t know when.

The BBC has done a three part series on Great Expectations, staring Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham.  We may be able to see it on PBS April 1 and 8. (The latter is Easter Sunday. ) As Dana Scully she was always too hot for Fox Mulder on the X Files, but just look at this scene!

To-night I intend to watch the 1998 version with Gwyneth Paltrow.  Having watched the movie trailer, I anticipate that it will be very different from the rather primly repressed versions that are closer to the original.

And tomorrow I will watch David Lean’s wonderful black and white version from 1946, starring John Mills!

Such a feast!

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