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Mon, May 13


Online via Zoom

Novel Study: Bleak House by Charles Dickens

Novel Study: Bleak House by Charles Dickens
Novel Study: Bleak House by Charles Dickens

Time & Location

May 13, 2024, 4:00 PM PDT – Jun 24, 2024, 6:00 PM PDT

Online via Zoom

About the Event

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Folio: The Seattle Athenaeum invites you to our upcoming novel study of Bleak House by Charles Dickens, led by Folio librarian Lillian Dabney.

The complex story of a notorious law-suit in which love and inheritance are set against the classic urban background of 19th century London. A savage, but often comic indictment of society, Bleak House is one of Dickens's most critically admired novels written at the apex of his literary career and features one of his most vast and varied cast of colorful characters.

The novel is also a bold experimental narrative that unforgettably dramatizes our most basic human conflicts. We'll read his amazing novel over 6 sessions:  

  • May 13 Chapters 1-10
  • May 20  Chapters 11-22
  • June 3  Chapters 23-32
  • June 10 Chapters 33-42
  • June 17 Chapters 43-56
  • June 24 Chapters 57-67

The edition listed is recommended for its original illustrations and useful explanatory notes.

About Bleak House

As the interminable case of 'Jarndyce and Jarndyce' grinds its way through the Court of Chancery, it draws together a disparate group of people: Ada and Richard Clare, whose inheritance is gradually being devoured by legal costs; Esther Summerson, a ward of court, whose parentage is a source of deepening mystery; the menacing lawyer Tulkinghorn; the determined sleuth Inspector Bucket; and even Jo, the destitute little crossing-sweeper. A savage, but often comic, indictment of a society that is rotten to the core, Bleak House is one of Dickens's most ambitious novels, with a range that extends from the drawing rooms of the aristocracy to the poorest of London slums.

Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Landport, Portsea, England. He died in Kent on June 9, 1870. The second of eight children of a family continually plagued by debt, the young Dickens came to know not only hunger and privation, but also the horror of the infamous debtors' prison and the evils of child labor. A turn of fortune in the shape of a legacy brought release from the nightmare of prison and "slave" factories and afforded Dickens the opportunity of two years' formal schooling at Wellington House Academy. He worked as an attorney's clerk and newspaper reporter until his Sketches by Boz (1836) and The Pickwick Papers (1837) brought him the amazing and instant success that was to be his for the remainder of his life. In later years, the pressure of serial writing, editorial duties, lectures, and social commitments led to his separation from Catherine Hogarth after twenty-three years of marriage. It also hastened his death at the age of fifty-eight, when he was characteristically engaged in a multitude of work.


  • 2 hours

    Chapters 1-10

  • 2 hours

    Chapters 11-22

4 more items available


  • Folio member

    +$2.75 service fee
  • General Admission

    +$3.63 service fee
  • Pay What You Want

    +Service fee



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