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The Bookblog / 15 March 2022

Why the Dickens?
A new old way to read one of the world’s greatest storytellers

Charles Dickens never meant to write long books. Contrary to popular belief, he was not paid by the word, stringing it out for all he could get. He was paid when people bought his next weekly episode.

He wrote to grip his audiences. Pure and simple. Each episode drew them in, made them laugh, cry, grin, and at the end left them hanging out for more. He was the Netflix of his day; the bingeable box-set; the Like & Subscribe for new content every Saturday.

By the time he was in his 40s, he owned the magazines he published in. This made him a very rich man and the world’s most famous novelist, followed by fans and harangued by strangers whenever he left the house.

So why are his stories now presented in such a boring and off-putting way? They were short punchy tales to share with friends every Saturday, not great fat volumes as thick as your forearm. Delicious snacks, not heavy meals.

You should try one.

Read it the way it was meant to be

So far as I know, this is the first time its been done since original publication: here is Great Expectations, re-presented as Dickens intended it — divided into weekly episodes.

Suddenly, you’ll see the real shape of the story. The intrigue that draws you in, and the cliff-hangers that keep you coming back. Don’t read it as an epic. Read it in short bursts for fun.

Read Great Expectations in its original serialisation on bookwise.io

Here’s a quote from the first page, to whet your appetite:

“Hold your noise!” cried a terrible voice, as a man started up from among the graves at the side of the church porch. “Keep still, you little devil, or I’ll cut your throat!”

Then what happened? Then what happened?? Better find out.

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