I have lost my way on the internet tonight. I wanted to post a file from my documents to Facebook and could find no way in the world to do that, so i wish to post it here. But no, I cannot do that, because it is already created and ready, and what I must do, somehow, is talk about reading Charles Dickens on Audible, and what a feast of language and thought, heart, morality, literary agility and more things than I can articulate– it is. When I read something like Barnaby Rudge, which has broken my heart a hundred times (forgive the uncritic-like comment, but it’s true) I get both excited and upset. Only Audible books, with their amazing narrating voices could deliver this incredible book to me. If I had to cope with my late-life need of glasses to read a dense text, and also with something like that late reported tendency of some to faint in front of masterworks of visual art, I would let both things stop me. In the past, tasting just a few paragraphs of a Dickens text, I was overwhelmed with its evidence of a culture of our English language that has passed from existence. Longing to have it back, grieving for the poverty of our current level of articulation upon all subjects, longing to experience it in Dickens, I just gave up on its cost in energy and emotion. Then along comes Audible, and wonderful voices reading dramatically–just enough–to enliven the words, and I’m binge listening to the most marvelous thought, language, heart, mind and soul I have ever heard expressed. I think of the Dickens I have read about–so little to the point of his mastery and magnificence in his work , and so much cheap gossip of the literary kind–and I think–the man is the work and the work is the man in full. I know he died of a heart attack while giving his own dramatic readings of “A Christmas Carol,” in order to earn enough money to meet his debts, while his masterworks had to just wait on the bookshelves of the few, every descending decade of our culture. But his popularity would not have grown if there had not been scores of educated, delighted readers waiting for every episode of these novels he published a chapter at a time. That’s the crowd to whom I would wish to belong, and I know where, even now, that crowd might be found–in the Modern Language Association’s annual conferences, where all the masterworks of classic literature find their devotees, and where the discussion of his novels can reach an articulation akin to his own. Please heaven, let that be so, even to this date.

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