Articles

Charles Dickens, London fog & Brexit

In Uncategorized on December 30, 2016 by kmflett

bleak

With London in the grip of a pre-end of Year fog, Charles Dickens’ Bleak House is worth a look to see what fog was like in Victorian London. A brief extract is here:

Gas looming through the fog in divers places in the streets, much as the sun may, from the spongey fields, be seen to loom by husbandman and ploughboy. Most of the shops lighted two hours before their time — as the gas seems to know, for it has a haggard and unwilling look.

The raw afternoon is rawest, and the dense fog is densest, and the muddy streets are muddiest near that leaden-headed old obstruction, appropriate ornament for the threshold of a leaden-headed old corporation, Temple Bar. And hard by Temple Bar, in Lincoln’s Inn Hall, at the very heart of the fog, sits the Lord High Chancellor in his High Court of Chancery.

Never can there come fog too thick, never can there come mud and mire too deep, to assort with the groping and floundering condition which this High Court of Chancery, most pestilent of hoary sinners, holds this day in the sight of heaven and earth.

Dickens was here not just describing the weather but an intellectual condition of clouded minds as he went on to write about Jarndyce v Jarndyce, the never ending Court case that ended in, in effect, the ruin of the contending parties, consumed with legal bills. A perfect parallel with end of 2016 Brexit Britain one might suggest

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