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I do not doubt many will take the books back, as they did with Anna Karenina, because they found it "too hard," but I also suspect quite a few will enjoy the experience of Dickens. And if Oprah can only just get a handful of her followers to read these books, more power to her.
And I speak as a nasty-minded elitist.
I wonder if there isn't a whiff of both racism and misogyny here.
Anyone who doesn't laugh at Mr Whopsle plays Hamlet is dead from the neck up and anyone who does is ready to read Dickens.
Am surprised that The New Republic has become so feeble...
And as for approaching novels with the sole view of what they can teach us about ourselves, that's no worse than any other single, restricted approach to reading a novel, (even if it's not quite so scarily impressive as, say, a structuralist approach...) In fact, with Great Expectations it will probably prove quite fruitful.
Edited for the missing consonent
6. It is worth saying again. Whatever happens, again, many thousands are reading these significant novels--and this is not a reason to be bitter. In fact, it is something to celebrate!
That said, the cover art for the Oprah version is terribly awful.