Read The Chimes by Charles Dickens Free Online
Book Title: The Chimes|
The author of the book: Charles Dickens
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 2280 times
Reader ratings: 7.6
Edition: A.& F. Pears Ltd
Date of issue: 1912
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 6.45 MB
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A few years ago, Audible released a new audio version of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and gave it for free to its members.
I had read the book and watched several movie adaptations of this holiday classic, but had never heard it on audio. And while I enjoyed listening, I didn’t quite click with the narrator.
Last week, I received an email from Audible offering another freebie, this time of The Chimes.
I immediately felt in love with the narrator, Richard Armitage, who I thought did an excellent job at bringing this rather heart-wrenching, dark story and its characters to life.
As part of the public domain, you can get The Chimes anywhere for free, but Amazon added its Whispersync feature, which allows you to simultaneously listen and read.
Portrait of Charles Dickens published during his last visit to America (1867-68)
So I was curious and decided to do a little bit of research about the story behind The Chimes. I learned that after the success of A Christmas Carol, Dickens wrote three more stories. This one is the second installment of the series.
Although not as popular as its predecessor, The Chimes turned out to be a pretty enthralling tale: part ghost story/part morality tale/part social commentary.
The main character is Trotty Veck, a kind, poor old man who makes a living by making delivery jobs. The title of the story refers to the bells at his local church, who have an almost spiritual hold on him.
The Chimes is set in Victorian London sometime during the early 1840’s. These were times of hardship and much economic instability when Europe was still suffering the effects of the Great Potato Famine.
The book is divided in four “quarters”, each one representing the four quarters that make an hour and the four chimes of a clock.
As the story opens its New Year’s Eve and Trotty’s daughter Meg, has announced the news that she and her fiancée are getting married in New Year’s Day, which to them sounds like an auspicious date.
Their joy is short-lived though after they meet Alderman Cute and a few other members of the political and intellectual elite who strongly oppose the idea that the young couple should get married. According to them, people of the lower class are so wicked, undeserving and cursed they certainly would not get any joy from marriage.
After the meeting, Trotty reluctantly agrees with the engagement but throughout the day he has begun to wonder if the poor are in fact naturally wicked and a plague on society.
Later on, Trotty meets a man and his little orphaned niece. The homeless man is very poor and is on the verge of going to jail for some petty crime. Trotty invites the man and girl to come home with him and spends the little money he has on a hearty New Year’s Eve dinner for them.
Trotty Veck and daughter Meg - 1867 Illustration
After the heavy dinner, Trotty falls into a deep dream state, where ghosts appear to him, this is followed by a series of visions in which he is forced to watch, helpless to interfere with the troubled lives of Meg, Richard and other friends over the subsequent years. Upon waking up, Trotty is happy to realize it was only a dream and is ecstatic to celebrate the new year with his daughter, neighbors and friends.
Trotty learns that, far from being naturally wicked, mankind is call to strive and aspire for nobler things, and that there's nothing intrinsically evil in him or people from his station.
Although very simplistic and certainly lacking the charm of A Christmas Carol, I found The Chimes with its strong moral and social message, captivating and enjoyable.
I grew up reading Spanish translations of classics like Oliver Twist, Alice in Wonderland, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Little Women and The Little Prince.
In my adult years however, I have shied away from reading classics so perhaps this is a good reminder that as the New Year approaches I should considered reading more of them, these books have withstood the test of time and become "classics" for a reason!
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Read information about the authorCharles John Huffam Dickens (7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the twentieth century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and short stories enjoy lasting popularity.
Born in Portsmouth, Dickens left school to work in a factory when his father was incarcerated in a debtors' prison. Despite his lack of formal education, he edited a weekly journal for 20 years, wrote 15 novels, five novellas, hundreds of short stories and non-fiction articles, lectured and performed extensively, was an indefatigable letter writer, and campaigned vigorously for children's rights, education, and other social reforms.
Dickens was regarded as the literary colossus of his age. His 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, remains popular and continues to inspire adaptations in every artistic genre. Oliver Twist and Great Expectations are also frequently adapted, and, like many of his novels, evoke images of early Victorian London. His 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities, set in London and Paris, is his best-known work of historical fiction. Dickens's creative genius has been praised by fellow writers—from Leo Tolstoy to George Orwell and G. K. Chesterton—for its realism, comedy, prose style, unique characterisations, and social criticism. On the other hand, Oscar Wilde, Henry James, and Virginia Woolf complained of a lack of psychological depth, loose writing, and a vein of saccharine sentimentalism. The term Dickensian is used to describe something that is reminiscent of Dickens and his writings, such as poor social conditions or comically repulsive characters.
On 8 June 1870, Dickens suffered another stroke at his home after a full day's work on Edwin Drood. He never regained consciousness, and the next day, five years to the day after the Staplehurst rail crash, he died at Gad's Hill Place. Contrary to his wish to be buried at Rochester Cathedral "in an inexpensive, unostentatious, and strictly private manner," he was laid to rest in the Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey. A printed epitaph circulated at the time of the funeral reads: "To the Memory of Charles Dickens (England's most popular author) who died at his residence, Higham, near Rochester, Kent, 9 June 1870, aged 58 years. He was a sympathiser with the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed; and by his death, one of England's greatest writers is lost to the world." His last words were: "On the ground", in response to his sister-in-law Georgina's request that he lie down.
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