The Pickwick Papers: Shadow and Light

Let us leave our old friend in one of those moments of unmixed happiness, of which, if we seek them, there are ever some, to cheer our transitory existence here. There are dark shadows on the earth, but its lights are stronger in the contrast. Some men, like bats or owls, have better eyes for the darkness than for the light. We, who have no such optical powers, are better pleased to take our last parting look at the visionary companions of many solitary hours, when the brief sunshine of the world is blazing full upon them.

—Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers

This is a bit rich coming from Dickens, whose stock in trade consisted mainly of miserable orphans, incarcerated debtors, crooked lawyers, and criminals of all kinds, but it’s a good thought nonetheless.

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4 comments on “The Pickwick Papers: Shadow and Light

  1. Stefanie says:

    All your Pickwick Papers quotes are eventually going to make me have to read the whole book for myself. I am rather fond of Dickens though so it will be pleasurable.

  2. Sylvia says:

    Stefanie, it was better than I expected from a comic first novel. You can see many of the themes he developed fully in his later works (except for orphans). It's obvious that it was a serial, with teasers at the ends of some of the chapters, and it does sprawl a bit, but it's always enjoyable.

  3. Darlyn says:

    Great quote. I just acquired my first (thick) Dickens today, Oliver Twist. Can't wait to read it. 🙂

  4. Sylvia says:

    Hi Darlyn, welcome to the blogosphere! And welcome to the world of Dickens. Oliver Twist is a great place to start. Enjoy!

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