Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Looking In The Mirror And Seeing The Poetic Young Blogger


I have a feeling that I have said this before, but I will say it again. Indeed I will carry on saying it until someone takes heed of what I am saying. I will repeat myself again and again, without rest or repose, until the cows return home, unpack their suitcases, settle down for the night by a warm fire, and nod off in front of yet another repeat episode of All Creatures Great And Small. I will say it with a certainty that is unsullied by doubt and untouched by even the faintest possibility of contradiction. Charles Dickens invented blogging. There, I have said it, but just in case those momentous words somehow got lost amongst the lettered apostles that walk with them, let me say it again : Charles Dickens invented blogging.

Whilst this is not the place to assemble evidence or construct fine arguments, all you need to do is to reflect on how Dickens worked.  Those stories divided up into neat little weekly packages were nothing but the first entries in some Victorian meme. Those descriptions in which the prose drips with vibrant words are his submission to Theme Thursday or Creative Tuesday or even Sepia Saturday. Dickens may not have known it, but he was a born blogger. Dickens may not be celebrated for it, but he invented blogging. So let us imagine CD's blog post for today. Let us imagine that he was describing the typical blogger : describing you, describing me, describing himself. The following few sentences are taken from the chapter on "The Poetic Young Gentleman" from "Sketches by Boz" All I have done is substitute "the blogger" for "the poetic young gentleman". It's like looking in a mirror!

"The favourite attitude of the blogger is lounging on a sofa with his eyes fixed upon the ceiling, or sitting bolt upright in a high-backed chair, staring with very round eyes at the opposite wall. When he is in one of these positions, his mother, who is a worthy, affectionate old soul, will give you a nudge to bespeak your attention without disturbing the abstracted one, and whisper with a shake of the head, that John’s imagination is at some extraordinary work or other, you may take her word for it". 

"The blogger is fond of quoting passages from his favourite authors, who are all of the gloomy and desponding school. He has a great deal to say too about the world, and is much given to opining, especially if he has taken anything strong to drink, that there is nothing in it worth living for. He gives you to understand, however, that for the sake of society, he means to bear his part in the tiresome play, manfully resisting the gratification of his own strong desire to make a premature exit; and consoles himself with the reflection, that immortality has some chosen nook for himself and the other great spirits whom earth has chafed and wearied".

"When the blogger makes use of adjectives, they are all superlatives. Everything is of the grandest, greatest, noblest, mightiest, loftiest; or the lowest, meanest, obscurest, vilest, and most pitiful. He knows no medium: for enthusiasm is the soul of poetry; and who so enthusiastic as a blogger?" 

27 comments:

  1. Awesome Post Dude!

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  2. Tony : Should that not have been "As Augustus Snodgrass said, Awesome Post Dude"

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  3. 'The favourite attitude of the blogger is lounging on a sofa with his eyes fixed upon the ceiling, or sitting bolt upright in a high-backed chair, staring with very round eyes at the opposite wall...' Nails it perfectly. Love your thesis here about Dickens.

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  4. You are absolutely right! I would have been on his follower's list for sure! ha. Very intuitive post, Alan. I love how your mind works!

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  5. This is the grandest, greatest, noblest, mightiest, loftiest post on blogging ever written, Alan! I will now and forevermore look at my self in the mirror in a ever-so-slightly Dickens-esque light.

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  6. Heh, heh! You may have a point there, Alan. Interesting to see serialization considered as blogging.

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  7. Thank you for stopping by my abrahamlincolnsblog and commenting there. It is always appreciated. I decided to come here since this is your main blog. And while I like the others, I should settle in on one.

    Charles Dickens is one of my favorites. I like anything about him or pictures or sketches of him.

    I envy him his clay pipe. I used to smoke a corncob and had to give it up.

    Anyway, enjoyed the post. My blogging is not staring at the ceiling but rather my fixation with a single word. And working memories around it.

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  8. You little Dickens you! :)The Bach

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  9. I'm a bit more chaotic but most of it fits...uh-oh...!

    Most excellent post, sir!

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  10. Oh, I think we all need to select appropriate Dickensian monikers now! Actually, I think it would be fun if we gave each other names.

    Henceforth, you shall be known as Eustace Lauterwort (I'll leave you to work out the origins.)

    Kat

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  11. ...and a fine inventor he was, too!

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  12. Love the inventiveness in this post, Alan. I'll certainly see myself in a slightly different light now, when I'm putting a post together.

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  13. Many a true word is spoken in jest (or at least tongue-in-cheek). I have to agree with the superlatives bit - 'good' just isn't good enough these days!

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  14. Kat : Given my recent experience with home brewing Useless Lauterwort might be more appropriate. And you Kat will be Estella Ablerhyme.

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  15. As you wish. I was tempted to give you the designation of "Mashter".

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  16. Lovely!! Ah, young poets. I mean bloggers.

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  17. It is with some temerity, a great deal of trepidation and a natural degree of deference that I must post my utter disagreement with your assertion that Dickens was the first blogger.
    This honour must surely be attributed to Montaigne (1533-92). He is credited with inventing the word 'essay' "by which he meant 'attempts' or 'tries'. Into them he put whatever was in his head: his tastes in wine and food, his childhood memories, the way his dog's ears twitched when it was dreaming,..."(taken from Sarah Bakewell: How to Live; a life of Montaigne in one question and twenty attempts at an answer).
    I must therefore challenge your assumption and champion the cause of Michel Eyquem de Montaigne.
    I do recommend his essays which remain sparkling entertainment over four centuries later.
    Yours,
    etc

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  18. Martin : I have never read him - not yet anyway - but could not a case be made that Montaigne was the first tweeter rather than the first blogger?

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  19. I agree. If Dickens had a PC at his disposal he'd certainly have blogged. I wonder if he'd have had difficulty getting published?

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  20. Hmm, the debate about who was the first twit in history is worthy of its own blog, surely!

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  21. @Martin, I nominate Kong Qui for the world's first "tweeter"...but I could be in error...


    Alan, wv="catic"

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  22. Funny you should say that.....

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  23. Now that's fascinating. I need to read this again.

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  24. I feel you have unearthed the roots of blogland here...

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  25. Darn! How'd I miss this one?!?

    Amazingly on-target! I have said the same thing more than once about Mr. D, as well as saying (on my own blogs) that he would be equally at home writing for soap operas to pay the bills... but never as eloquently as you have! Great post!

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  26. Dickens? I think Martin Luther might have beat him to the punch, albeit a tad more controversially. Hah!

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