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Bleak House

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Bleak House serial coverFirst serial, 1852
Publication details ▽ Publication details △

First publication
1852–1853 as twenty-part serial with illustrations by Phiz

Publication in book form

Literature form

Literary, crime, mystery

Writing language

Author's country

Approx. 166,000 words

Notable lines

London. Michaelmas term lately over, and the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincoln's Inn Hall. Implacable November weather. As much mud in the streets, as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth, and it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborne Hill.

— First lines

"Jo, my poor fellow!"
"I hear you, sir, in the dark, but I'm a-gropin—a-gropin—let me catch hold of your hand."
"Jo, can you say what I say?"
"I'll say anythink as you say, sir, for I knows it's good."
"Our Father." "Our Father! Yes, that's wery good, sir."
"Which art in heaven."
"Art in heaven—is the light a-comin, sir?"
"It is close at hand. Hallowed be thy name!"
"Hallowed be—thy—"
The light is come upon the dark benighted way. Dead!
Dead, your Majesty. Dead, my lords and gentlemen. Dead, Right Reverends and Wrong Reverends of every order. Dead, men and women, born with Heavenly compassion in your hearts. And dying thus around us every day.


The one great principle of the English law is, to make business for itself. There is no other principle distinctly, certainly, and consistently maintained through all its narrow turnings.


"A word in earnest is as good as a speech."

"And don't you know that you are prettier than you ever were?"
"I did not know that; I am not certain that I know it now. But I know that my dearest little pets are very pretty, and that my darling is very beautiful, and that my husband is very handsome, and that my guardian has the brightest and most benevolent face that ever was seen, and that they can very well do without much beauty in me—even supposing—."

— Last lines


Critique • Quotes • TextAt the movies

See also:


Madame Bovary

The Mill on the Floss

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