Appearance (Person)

So much more like the top of a strongly spiked wall than a head of hair.

Background. "So much more like the top of a strongly spiked wall than a head of hair." is a quotation from A Tale of Two Cities (Book 1, Chapter 3). A Tale of Two Cities is the twelfth novel by Charles Dickens, originally published in weekly installments between April 1859 and November 1859. It is one of two historical novels by Dickens (the other being Barnaby Rudge). The plot centres on the years leading up to the French Revolution and culminates [...]

Her light came along the dark passage like a star.

Background. "Her light came along the dark passage like a star." is a quotation from Great Expectations (Chapter 8). Great Expectations is Charles Dickens's thirteenth novel first published between 1860 and 1861.   Context.  In this quotation the character Pip (as narrator) describes Estella as she walks towards him along a gloomy passageway at the decaying mansion of Miss Havisham, Satis House. Although the reference to 'her light ... like a star' is that from a candle, the fondness in [...]

A large yellow man with a fat smile and a general appearance of having a good deal of train oil in his system.

Background. "A large yellow man with a fat smile and a general appearance of having a good deal of train oil in his system." is a quotation from Bleak House (Chapter 19). Bleak House was the ninth novel by Charles Dickens, intended to illustrate the evils caused by long, drawn-out legal cases in the Court of Chancery.   Context. Description of the pompous preacher Mr. Chadband. The characteristics of Mr. Chadband has led to the adjective Chadbandian entering the Oxford [...]

2018-09-07T21:55:38+00:00Categories: Bleak House|Tags: |

Like a bad lobster in a dark cellar.

Background.  "Like a bad lobster in a dark cellar." is a quotation from A Christmas Carol (Stave 1). A Christmas Carol is a novella, or short story, written by Charles Dickens and first published in the Christmas of 1843.   Illustration from the original publication of A Christmas Carol showing Ebenezer Scrooge (left), here being visited by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley. Context. The quote is a description of the ghost of Jacob Marley, [...]

2018-10-02T22:29:26+00:00Categories: A Christmas Carol|Tags: |

All skeleton within, all bonnet and cloak without.

  Background.   "All skeleton within, all bonnet and cloak without." is a quotation from A Walk in a Workhouse. A Walk in a Workhouse was an article written by Charles Dickens about a visit to a London workhouse. It was first published on Saturday, 25 May, 1850, in Dickens own magazine Household Words.   Context. Dickens describes elderly women in a workhouse. Taken from the following passage in A Walk in a Workhouse: Among this congregation, were some evil-looking [...]

The form of a giantess and the mind of a child.

Background. "The form of a giantess and the mind of a child." is a quotation from Sketches by Boz, Tales. Chapter 7 (The Steam Excursion). Sketches by Boz is a collection of short pieces written by Charles Dickens and published as a book in 1836.   Context. Description of Mrs. Taunton, the frivolous 'good-looking widow of fifty' who lives with her daughters in Great Marlborough Street, London. The quote is taken from the following passage in the sketch The Steam Excursion: Mr. [...]

If you’re an eel, sir, conduct yourself like one.

Background. "If you're an eel, sir, conduct yourself like one." is a quotation from David Copperfield (Chapter 35). David Copperfield is the eighth novel by Charles Dickens, first published between 1849 and 1850.   Context. Quotation said by the character Betsy Trotwood addressing Uriah Heep. The devious Heep has "jerked himself about ... in such an intolerable manner" after praising his firm to David Copperfield. Heep's snakelike mannerisms and physical attributes are said by some scholars to be based on [...]

2018-05-15T11:18:55+00:00Categories: David Copperfield|Tags: |

Her stately frame so racked by continual sneezes that it seemed in danger of dismemberment.

Background. "Her stately frame so racked by continual sneezes that it seemed in danger of dismemberment." is a quotation from Hard Times (Book 3, Chapter 3). Hard Times - For These Times (more commonly now known as Hard Times) is the tenth novel by Charles Dickens, first published in 1854.   Context.  This quote is a description of Mrs. Sparsit, who, racked with a cold, is having a sneezing fit. Mrs. Sparsit has pursued Josiah Bounderby to London and tracked him down [...]

2018-07-21T18:53:48+00:00Categories: Hard Times|Tags: |

There was a light with nothing to rest upon, a fire with nothing to burn, a starved imagination keeping life in itself somehow.

Background. "There was a light with nothing to rest upon, a fire with nothing to burn, a starved imagination keeping life in itself somehow." is a quotation from Hard Times (Book 1, Chapter 3). Hard Times - For These Times (more commonly now known as Hard Times) is the tenth novel by Charles Dickens, first published in 1854.   Context.  This quote is a description of Louisa Gradgrind. Louisa and her brother Tom, the two eldest of Thomas Gradgrind's children, [...]

2018-08-01T23:07:52+00:00Categories: Hard Times|Tags: , , |

A girl, whose miserable and emaciated appearance was only to be equalled by that of the candle which she shaded with her hand.

Background.  “A girl, whose miserable and emaciated appearance was only to be equalled by that of the candle which she shaded with her hand.” is a quotation taken Sketches by Boz, Tales, Chapter 12 (The Drunkard’s Death). Sketches by Boz is a collection of short pieces written by Charles Dickens and published as a book in 1836.   Context. Taken from the following passage in The Drunkard’s Death (Sketches by Boz, Tales, Chapter 12): The man whom we have followed into this den, [...]

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