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С. DICKENS


 

 

LESSONS 1-2

CHARLES DICKENS (1812-1870)

Marx named four English writers of the XIX century “the brilliant school of novelists.” This is what he said about them: “The present brilliant school of novelists in England, whose graphic and eloquent descriptions have revealed more political and social truths to the world than have all the politicians, publicists and moralists added together, has pictured all sections of the middle class, 1 beginning with the “respectable” rentier and owner of government stocks,2 who looks down on all kinds of “business” as being vulgar, and finishing with the small shopkeeper and lawyer’s clerk. How have they been described by Dickens, Tha­ckeray, 3 Charlotte Bronte 4 and Mrs. Gaskell? 8 As full of self- conceit, prudishness, petty tyranny and ignorance.”

These four authors lived in the middle of last century. This was the time of the rise of the first organized revolutionary mo­vement of the working class — Chartism.6

The ideas of the Chartists7 excited attention also outside the working class. The demands of the workers made many people aware 8 for the first time of the extent of social injustice. That is why the years of the rise of the Chartist movement were at the same time the years of the growth of English critical realism9 in the works of Dickens and the other members of the “brilliant school” of English realists. The critical angle from which they saw English life enabled them to bring out 10 its most typical features and to reveal its greatest social wrongs.

Charles Dickens, whose name stands first in the list of authors belonging to the “brilliant school” was born in the family of a poor clerk at Portsmouth.11 "

In 1821 the Dickens family went to London; things went from bad to worse. 12 Little Charles’ father was put into the Marshalsea prison 13 for debt. It became ne­cessary that the boy, though only ten years old, should earn money, and a job was found for him in a blacking factory. He later described this period of his childhood in “David Copperfield.”

Quite unexpectedly a rela­tive of the family left Mr. Dickens a legacy which enabled him to pay his debts and leave the Marshalsea.

Young Charles, to his great joy, was sent to school.

On leaving school Charles entered the office of a lawyer and then took up the work of a parliamentary reporter. 14 This work led naturally to journalism, and journalism to novel writing. In 1836, when only twenty-four years of age, Charles Dickens published his first book, a collection of sketches and stories, under the title of “Sketches by Boz.”

These were followed by “The Pickwick Papers” and “Oliver Twist” (1837—1838). Then came “Nicholas Nickleby” (1838—1839), and others.

At the beginning of the forties Dickens made a journey to the USA after which his faith in the ideals of bourgeois democracy was considerably shaken. For in America Dickens saw how very  false and hypocritical were the bourgeois declarations of freedom. The results of this journey were “American Notes,” a series of travel sketches, and the novel “Martin Chuzzlewit”.

Dickens’ first novels and his books on America were followed by many more novels and stories—“The Chimes,” 18 “Dombey and Son,” “David Copperfield,” “Hard Times,” 16 “Little Dorrit” 17 — and other works, until the little boy from the blacking factory became one of the greatest novelists that ever put pen to paper. 18 His novels are now translated into most languages and are highly valued for their realism, their humour and their just criticism of English life.

          The Russian revolutionary democrats thought highly of Dickens and Thackeray precisely because they reflected most of the vital social problems of the day.

 

TASKS to the LESSONS 1-2

Task 1. Read and translate the text.

Task 2. Pick out new words in your vocabulary.
Task 3. Make a summary of the author’s life in chronological order

 

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES

middle class средний класс, буржуазия.

government stocks государственные бумаги, акции, выпускаемые государ­ством.

Charlotte Brontë (1816—1855) Шарлотта Бронте, английская писательница, автор романов „Джейн Эр“, „Шерли“ и др.; принадлежала к реалистиче­скому направлению.

Chartism чартизм, „ ... первое широкое, действительно массовое, полити­чески оформленное, пролетарски-революционное движение..[В. И. Ленин, Собр. Соч., изд. IV, т. 29, стр. 282 (111 Интернационал и его место в истории)].

Chartists чартисты, участники чартистского движения

made ... aware заставили ... осознать.

critical realism критический реализм, прогрессивное течение в англий­ской буржуазной литературе середины XIX века. Кроме статьи о Диккенсе см. также статьи о Теккерее (стр. 84) и о Гаскел (стр. 92).

to bring out здесь выпукло изобразить.

Portsmouth Портсмут, большой портовый город в Англии.

things went from bad to worse дела шли всё хуже и хуже.

Marshalsea prison название долговой тюрьмы в Лондоне. Во времена Диккенса неплатёжеспособных должников сажали в тюрьму, где они оста­вались, пока не выплачивали долга; часто это означало пожизненное заключение. Семье должника обыкновенно разрешали жить в тюрьме вместе с ним.

parliamentary reporter парламентский репортёр (газетный сотрудник, который записывает для печати речи, произносимые в парламенте).

“The Chimes” „Колокола“.

“Hard Times” „Тяжёлые времена“.

“Little Dorrit” „Крошка Доррит“.

that ever put pen to paper -  который когда-либо брался за перо.


 LESSONS 3-4

HOW MR. PICKWICK UNDERTOOK TO DRIVE,

AND MR. WINKLE TO RIDE, AND HOW THEY BOTH DID IT

(From “The Pickwick Papers")

Mr. Pickwick, an elderly gentleman, is travelling over England with his three friends Mr. Snodgrass, Mr. Tupman and Mr. Winkle.

Mr. Pickwick is bald, stout and rather short. He is very trustful, good-tem­pered and always cheerful.

Mr. Snodgrass believes himself to be something of a poet;1 Mr. Tupman has a very tender heart and falls in love easily. Mr. Winkle pretends to be a sportsman, he tries to shoot, skate and ride, though he really knows nothing about it and always comes to grief.2 All four are some of Dicken’s best comic characters.

I

It was a curious little green box on four wheels, with a low place for two behind, and a high place for one in front, drawn by an immense brown horse. A boy stood near, holding another immense horse for Mr. Winkle.


“Bless my soul!”3 said Mr. Pickwick, as they stood upon the pavement while the coats were put in. “Bless my soul! who’s to drive? I never thought of that."4

“Oh! you, of course,” said Mr. Tupman.

“Of course,” said Mr. Snodgrass.

“I?” exclaimed Mr. Pickwick.

“He is very quiet, sir,” said the boy, “a child might drive him.”

Mr. Tupman and Mr. Snodgrass got in behind; Mr. Pickwick ascended to the front seat.

“Woo-o!” cried Mr. Pickwick.

“Woo-o!” echoed Mr. Tupman and Mr. Snodgrass.

Mr. Winkle climbed into his saddle, with about as much dif­ficulty as he would have had in getting up the side of a man- of-war. 8

“All right?” inquired Mr. Pickwick, with a feeling that it was all wrong.

“All right,” replied Mr. Winkle faintly.

And away went the chaise, and the saddle-horse.

“What makes him go sideways?” said Mr. Snodgrass to Mr. Winkle.

“1 can’t imagine,” replied Mr. Winkle. His horse was going up the street in the most mysterious manner — side first, with his head towards one side of the way, and his tail towards the other.

“What can he mean by this?” said Mr. Snodgrass.

Mr. Tupman was about to reply,6 when he was interrupted by a shout from Mr. Pickwick.

“Woo!” said that gentleman; “I have dropped my whip.”

“Winkle,” said Mr. Snodgrass, as Mr. Winkle came trotting up on the tall horse, with his hat over his ears, and shaking all over, as if he would shake to pieces, “pick up the whip, there’s a good fellow.”7 Mr. Winkle pulled at the bridle of the tall horse till he was black in the face;8 and having at last stopped him, got down, handed the whip to Mr. Pickwick, and grasping the reins, prepared to mount.

Now, whether the tall horse wished to have a little game with Mr. Winkle, or whether he decided that he could make the jour­ney as pleasantly without a rider, we cannot tell. It is certain that Mr. Winkle had no sooner touched the reins, than he slipped them over his head, and darted backwards.9

“Poor fellow,” said Mr. Winkle, soothingly — “poor fellow — good old horse.”

But the more Mr. Winkle tried to get nearer the “poor fellow,” the more he sidled away,10 and there were Mr. Winkle and the horse going round and round each other for ten minutes, at the end of which time each was at the same distance from the other as when they first began.

“What am I to do?” shouted Mr. Winkle. “What am 1 to do? 1 can’t get on him.”

“You had better lead him,” replied Mr. Pickwick from the chaise.

“But he won’t come!” roared Mr. Winkle. “Do come,11 and hold him.”

Mr. Pickwick was the very personification of kindness.12 He threw the reins on the horse’s back, descended from his seat, and came to the assistance of his companion, leaving Mr. Tupman and Mr. Snodgrass in the carriage.

The horse no sooner saw13 Mr. Pickwick advancing towards him with the whip in his hand, than he at once drew Mr. Winkle, who was still at the end of the bridle, at a rather quicker rate than fast walking, in the direction from which they had just come. Mr. Pickwick ran to his assistance, but the faster Mr. Pickwick ran forward, the faster the horse ran backward. At last Mr. Win­kle, his arms being nearly pulled out of their sockets,14 let go his hold.15 The horse paused, shook his head, turned round, and quietly trotted home, leaving Mr. Winkle and Mr. Pickwick look­ing at each other. A rattling noise at a little distance attracted their attention. They looked up.

“Bless my soul!” exclaimed Mr. Pickwick, “there’s the other horse running away!”

It was but too true. The animal was startled by the noise, and the reins were on his back. The result may be guessed. He ran off with the four-wheeled chaise behind him, and Mr. Tupman and Mr. Snodgrass in the chaise. Mr. Tupman threw himself into the hedge, Mr. Snodgrass followed his example, the horse dashed the carriage against a wooden bridge16 separated the wheels from the body, and finally stood still to look upon what he had done.

TASKS to the LESSONS 3-4

 

Task 1. Read and translate the text.
Task 2. Pick out new words in your vocabulary.

Task 3. In what way does the story begin? Is the reader’s interest awakened at once? If so, how does the author achieve it?
Task 4. From whose point of view is the story told?

LESSONS 5-6

II

The party17 now walked slowly forward, leading the horse among them.

An hour’s walking brought the travellers to a little road-side public house.18 A red-headed man was working in the garden; and to him Mr. Pickwick called: “Hallo, there!”

The red-headed man shaded his eyes with his hand,19 and looked, long and coolly, at Mr. Pickwick and his compa­nions.

“Hallo, there!” repeated Mr. Pickwick.

“Hallo!" was the red-headed man’s reply.

“How far is it to Dingley-Dell?”20

“More than seven miles.”

“Is it a good road?”

“No, it isn’t,” and the red-headed man went back to his work.

“We want to put this horse up here,”21 said Mr. Pickwick; “I suppose we can, can’t we?”

“Want to put that horse up, do you?” repeated the red-headed man, leaning on his spade.

“Of course,” replied Mr. Pickwick, who had by this time advanced, horse in hand, to the garden rails.

“Missus!”22 shouted the man with the red head, coming out of the garden and looking very hard at the horse — “Missus!”

A tall bony woman answered the call.

“Can we put this horse up here, my good woman?” said Mr. Tupman, advancing, and speaking in his most pleasant tones. The woman looked very hard at the whole party; and the red­headed man whispered something in her ear.

“No,” replied the woman, after a little consideration, “I’m afraid of it!”

“Afraid!” exclaimed Mr. Pickwick, “what’s the woman afraid of?” “It got us in trouble last time,” said the woman, turning into the house.

“Hallo, you fellow!” said the angry Mr. Pickwick, “do you think we stole this horse?"

“I’m sure you did,” replied the red-headed man, with a grin. Saying which, he turned into the house, and banged the door after him.

“It’s like a dream,” exclaimed Mr. Pickwick, “an ugly dream. The idea of a man’s walking about,23 all day, with a dreadful horse that he can’t get rid of!”

It was late in the afternoon when the four friends and their fourfooted companion reached Dingley-Dell; and even when they were so near their place of destination, the pleasure they would otherwise have felt was damped24 as they reflected on the strange­ness of their appearance, and the absurdity of their situation.

TASKS to the LESSONS 5-6

Task 1. Read and translate the text.
Task 2. Pick out new words in your vocabulary.
Task 3. Compose three sentences with as many new words as possible.

 

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES

1something of a poet немного поэт.

2comes to grief попадает в беду.

3 bless my soul! — восклицание, выражающее удивление.

4 who’s to drive? I never thought of that? Диалог у Диккенса часто отли­чается жййостью и простотой. Его действующие лица в этих случаях го­ворят естественно, как живые люди, пользуясь простейшими словами и выражениями просторечия, распространёнными в народной речи. В этом одно из больших достижений реалистического метода Диккенса.

5 a man-of-war большой военный корабль.

6 Mr. Tupman was about to reply м-р Тэпман собрался ответить.

7there’s a good fellow разг. будь хорошим парнем.

8till he was black in the face пока у него лицо не посинело от напря­жения. Выражение просторечия. Подобные выражения очень часто встре­чаются у Диккенса не только в прямой речи действующих лиц, но также в авторской речи.

9 darted backwards быстро попятилась.

10sidled away отодвигалась боком.

11do come придите пожалуйста (глагол do здесь употреблён для усиления значения).

12the very personification of kindness олицетворение доброты, сама доброта.

13the horse no sooner saw. Это место - пример простого живого юмора, который мы часто встречаем у Диккенса. Быстрое развитие действия делает ещё смешнее нелепое положение, в которое попали пиквикианцы. Смешные рассказы о, горе-спортсменах и карикатуры на них были очень распространены в Англии времен Диккенса. Однако Диккенс вкладывает в этот эпизод нравоучительный смысл, высмеивая людей, которые берутся за то, чего не умеют как следует делать.

14his arms being nearly pulled out of their sockets его руки были почти вырваны из суставов.

15 let go his hold выпустил (узду) из рук.

16 the horse dashed the carriage against a wooden bridge лошадь разбила коляску о деревянный мост.

17 the party здесь компания.

18 a little road-side public house маленький трактир у дороги.

19 shaded his eyes with his hand защитил глаза рукой от света.

20Dingley-Dell название фермы, на которой гостил м-р Пиквик со своими друзьями.

21 we want to put this horse up here мы хотим поставить здесь лошадь.

22 missus (=mistress) хозяйка (в просторечии часто употребляется при обра­щении к жене или хозяйке дома).

23 the idea of a man’s walking about разг. представить себе только, что человек ходит.

24 was damped здесь было испорчено.