Dickens Considered In Media Res

It’s a rickety, rollicking ride I’m on
Reading Uncle’s “Our Mutual Friend”
On the tide of the Thames as it rolls along
Dragging me in its mysterious wake
With Veneerings and Rimtys and inspectors
That lurk behind the John Harmons, who as easily
Could be: the Annikovs or Huangs, or Pillais
Or Chandras hawking rumors by the Ganges
In the myriad scenario of humanity’s flow
From the pen of a master storyteller, caught
In the blood-spun net of familiar lives
Of desperation, pathos, or tartuffery
Spent on the banks of labyrinthian rivers
That wend to shores around the world
And stay to balance on my fingertips.

An illustration from Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend (1864–65)

37 thoughts on “Dickens Considered In Media Res

    1. I’m always overwhelmed by your kind comments, Rose, thank you! And do you know, rediscovering Dickens through this novel is really like visiting an old friend and realizing you’ve stayed away too long. Fun catching up though 🙂

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    1. Sometimes I think that classics are wasted on school kids. They take on so many more lovely hues when you’ve lived and matured even a little, as if their maturity is affected by yours.

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  1. Such a wonderful , flowing summary of the book, Dora. It’s wonderful to get so caught up in a story, isn’t it?
    Another blogger, Derrick Knight, has been reading Dickens and occasionally publishing scanned images, wonderful sketches by Charles Keeping (?) from his folio books. He did Our Mutual Friend recently.

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  2. The river of story winds through us all, but the masters of boat-craft can so render the universal in the particular. I love the supple flow of it, the oaring which picks up “in media res” so we come to mid-river and in full glory. Loved it, a choice weave of a poem.

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  3. Glenn A. Buttkus

    You picked up on the Dickens vibe, and created a lovely and interesting literary jaunt. I was an English Major for a time, but I did not really connect with literature until Steinbeck, Howard Fast, and Assimov.

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    1. Thank you, Glenn. I’ve never read Fast’s Spartacus but been in the back of my mind. Bet you’re enjoying the Foundation series on Apple TV 😀(Haven’t seen it yet myself)

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  4. The Victorian era–or as the poem points out–any location or setting well-drawn from “bloodspun lives” puts the human into our view as seen through these Dickensian specs–I love tartuffery and the lines that surround it, the skillful use of all those proper names, and the cohesion and progression of the poem in general. A pleasure to read.

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