Eco, Chuckie D., who else?

Abigail Gawith A.Gawith at
Tue Feb 11 13:51:46 EST 2003

Melissa wrote:

>And don't worry.  I haven't read anything by Dickens since high school, and
>I'm not going to dismiss him until I've given him one more shot.  Back
>I was concerned...well, have you ever read bios of people that say
>"So-and-so read _War and Peace_ when he was 8 years old" or things along
>those lines?  I was unduly influenced by the idea that if I was a Genius, I
>ought to be reading Genius books.  Being completely uninterested in _A Tale
>of Two Cities_ made me feel depressed.

Someone else who reacted that way!

Not only do real examples exist of such people, but children's authors seem
to like creating characters like that too.  Have you noticed how often a
character depicted as a Brain doesn't just come top of the class, but has
extra-curricular interests at which he or she really excels?  That always
made me feel so small, as if I should have been spending my spare time
studying postgraduate astrophysics or reading Homer in the original Greek or
learning all there is to know about oceanography.  Or, indeed, working my
way through the classics.

Mind you, I have a horribly superficial reason for shunning Dickens: I
bounce off because of his character names.  I hang my head with shame... Can
anyone point me towards a Dickens in which no names are evocative of
character traits?

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