Monthly Archives: March 2009

Reading: Charles Dickens

I’ve only read one book by Charles Dickens:

  • David Copperfield (29 Mar 2009)

Somehow I’d gotten the idea that Dickens wasn’t the kind of author I would like, so I never got around to reading any of his books until just now. Much to my surprise, I found David Copperfield excellent. Steerforth is a particularly memorable character.

“It’s a bad job,” he said, when I had done; “but the sun sets every day, and people die every minute, and we mustn’t be scared by the common lot. If we failed to hold our own, because that equal foot at all men’s doors was heard knocking somewhere, every object in this world would slip from us. No! Ride on! Rough-shod if need be, smooth-shod if that will do, but ride on! Ride over all obstacles, and win the race!”

“And win what race?” said I.

“The race that one has started in,” said he. “Ride on!”

* * *

He was in great spirits all the way; and when we parted, and I looked after him going so gallantly and airily homeward, I thought of his saying, “Ride on over all obstacles, and win the race!” and wished, for the first time, that he had some worthy race to run.

Neither does Copperfield, at this point in the story, have any particular race to run. But, not sharing Steerforth’s temperamental need for heroism, he notices this lack only in his friend.

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