Dombey and Son: Some Initial Mumbling

I’ve been reading an annual Dickens book for the last few years. In 2007 it was Dombey and Son, which among other things reminded me why I need to keep this blog:

Unless young Toots had some idea on the subject, to the expression of which he was wholly unequal. Ideas, like ghosts (according to the common notion of ghosts), must be spoken to a little before they will explain themselves; and Toots had long left off asking any questions of his own mind. Some mist there may have been, issuing from that leaden casket, his cranium, which, if it could have taken shape and form, would have become a genie; but it could not; and it only so far followed the example of the smoke in the Arabian story, as to roll out in a thick cloud, and there hang and hover.

(“Genie” is a brilliant word choice: an implicit pun on “genius.” No other fabulous mythological creature would do.)

One reason I haven’t written much–apart from general intellectual fogginess–is that constructing a decent essay from scattered ideas, arranging them into a coherent argument, daunts the hell out of me. Then I remembered: it’s a blog. There’s no reason I can’t post a series of short, disparate ramblings; if I find I’ve come up with something interesting, I can jury-rig them into an essay later. So expect several short, disparate ramblings.

Also, expect spoilers. Some people hate spoiler warnings. “Plot isn’t important,” they cry. Caring about spoilers is infantile. These people are, of course, pricks. It’s true that a good book is worth reading many times, even after you know the plot by heart. But reading a book for the first time is a different experience, and surprise and suspense are among its chief pleasures. Anyone who doesn’t understand this on a gut level doesn’t understand reading.