Stupid Question: Dickens Edition

06 Oct

I have a question, and it’s going to mean that you need to think back a little bit, and not just back into the early chapters of Anna Karenina (although quickly find your place in Part One, Chapter 11.)  We need to think back several authors.

That’s right, I’m calling on your Dickens knowledge.  Although he’s likely the first guy I’ll run to after we’ve finished the WEM  list I’ve only read Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol and I don’t think either of them are the answer to my question.  Here’s what I’m wondering:

When Levin is explaining to Oblonsky that he is afraid of virtueless women, his friend, who does not share the same fear, replies, “It is all very well for you to talk like that – just like the character in Dickens who used to fling all embarrassing questions over his right shoulder.  But denying facts is no answer.”

Which Dickens novel?  Which character?


Posted by on October 6, 2012 in Anna Karenina


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8 responses to “Stupid Question: Dickens Edition

  1. Fls

    October 6, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Great question! I’ve been pondering that myself.

  2. Christine

    October 6, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    I’d like to know the answer to this myself. I tried quickly googling it but each response I got said, “This is a quote found in chapter eleven of Anna Karenina.” Granted, I didn’t read too many of the responses.

  3. Adriana @ Classical Quest

    October 7, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    I think I read a footnote about this. I’ll look it up.

    • Jeannette

      October 9, 2012 at 7:25 pm

      Find anything, Adriana? Now I’m curious.

  4. Adriana @ Classical Quest

    October 9, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Yes. Here’s the footnote:

    “Tolstoy may have had in mind either Harold Skimpol in Bleak House (especially his attitude in chapters 6 and 8) or, more likely, Podsnap in Our Mutual Friend, chapter 11: ‘Mr. Podsnap had even acquired a peculiar flourish of his right arm in often clearing the world of its most difficult problems, by sweeping them behind him.’ “

    • Christine

      October 10, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      I’ve at least heard of “Bleak House”. “Our Mutual Friend” is a new one for me. I’m just glad to know that it wasn’t something I’d already forgotten from “Oliver Twist”!

    • Christina Joy

      October 11, 2012 at 4:03 pm

      Thank you!! I’ve never read either, either (please noticed that in my head I pronounced the first word with a long i and the second with a long e.)

  5. Jeannette

    October 10, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Interesting. Thanks Adriana. I have not read either of those works by Dickens.


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