Fans of Dickens in Italy are
a small elite who, whenever
they meet, start to reminisce
about characters and episodes
as though talking of people
they actually knew.
I lent a dvd to someone at the
office, which opens with a boy,
accosted in a graveyard. All o-
ver the world, the 3 letters in
his name flood the mind on pre-
cisely this synaptic sight. Pip.
All over this world. And today,
I can't offer you the name of a
single man who knows who is his
Congressman. Is this not sound,
given the business they are in:
serving-wenches to remote prop-
rietors, mugging a way of life.
Eternal preachers, that corrupt the draught,
Idiots with all that thought, to whom the worst
Of death is want of drink and endless thirst ..
lection. It is a way of life e-
lection. Readers of Dickens in-
habit this electorate in peril-
ous abundance, and know, honest
narrative of the wholesome life
in trial to enjoy its dignity.
The whole shell game of bi-pol-
ar blame has finally exhausted
"discrimination," itself, as in-
adequate in measuring injustice.
Did we ever discover Pip, beset
by sadness? Oh, lovelorn, in a
timely time or two; but angry,
vituperative, outraged, defiant,
pathetically cornball indignant?
for his trust, his irrepressible
energies, his gift for affection,
much less his mental well-being?
to sustain nostalgic accusation,
in default of urgent renovation,
in a choice between a nitwit de-
featable in four years, and Miss
Havisham's incinerating umbrage.
I think the avatar of our temper
this year is Pip, in all genders.
The election is not about Women's
Pay, it is about Pay. It is not a-
bout racist Flint, it is about de-
cay. It's not about managing twi-
light in one generation against
the dawn of another. It is about
securing open avenues to a thriv-
ing way of life. No party favors,
The Party which attracted a can-
didate of this position, has al-
ways been determined to marginal-
ise him. But the people are still
coming, still listening, still in-
nocently hoping, and still voting.
As we exchange thoughts in this page,
people are assembling Summer reading.
Dickens is a cornerstone of that re-
storative custom. Pip is coming.
Why Read the Classics?
Jonathan Cape, 1999©
David Lean, director
David Lean, Ronald Neame,
De Rerum Natura
Steven N. Zwicker and
David Bywaters, editors
Penguin Classics, 2001©