Bleak House read by Sir John Gielgud
Bleak House began to appear in monthly parts in 1852, when Dickens was just forty. He was at the height of his very considerable powers, and many critics have judged this to be his finest novel. At the centre is the law's delay, dramatically made manifest in the extraordinarily protracted matter of Jarndyce and Jarndyce, before the Court of Chancerty. There is a wonderful parade of the most striking characters to be found anywhere in fiction: poor, mad Miss Flite; the ruthless, calculating attorney, Mr Tulkinghorn; Mrs Jellyby, with her passionate concerns for the natives of Borioboola-Gha; the pathetic figure of Jo, the crossing-sweeper; and the feckless Mr Skimpole, based partly on the real-life personage of Leigh Hunt, the writer. From sart to finish, Bleak House provides the most gripping an impressive narrative ever written.