Standard Ebooks

Bleak House

Charles Dickens

The cover for the Standard Ebooks edition of Bleak House.

Description

Bleak House, completed by Dickens in 1853, tells several interlocking story-lines and features a host of colorful characters. Though very difficult to summarise, the novel centers around the decades-long legal case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce, involving the fair distribution of assets of a valuable estate. The case is mired in the legal quagmire of the Court of Chancery, whose byzantine and sluggish workings Dickens spares no effort to expose and condemn. Dickens also exposes the miserable condition of the poor, living in squalid, pestilential circumstances.

The novel’s heroine is Esther Summerson, whose parentage is unclear and who has been brought up by a cold and strict godmother, who tells her only: “Your mother, Esther, is your disgrace, and you were hers.” On the death of her godmother, she is given an education through the unexpected intervention of a Mr. Jarndyce of Bleak House, whom she has never met. When she comes of age, she is appointed as a companion to Ada, one of two young people who are “wards of Chancery,” whose fates depend on the outcome of the legal struggle and who are taken into guardianship by Mr. Jarndyce. The other ward Richard, despite Mr. Jarndyce’s frequent warnings, eventually goes astray by pinning all his hopes on a successful outcome of Jarndyce and Jarndyce

We are also introduced to Sir Leicester and Lady Dedlock, and to their cunning and suspicious lawyer, Mr. Tulkinghorn. He uncovers evidence that Lady Dedlock is not all she seems and determines to remorselessly pursue every lead to expose her secrets.

The novel has a curious construction in that the first-person narrative of Esther, written in the past tense, is interleaved with many chapters written from the omniscient viewpoint and in the present tense.

Several prominent critics such as G. K. Chesterton consider Bleak House to be Dickens’ finest novel, and it is often ranked among the best English-language novels of all time.

Free download

This ebook is only thought to be free of copyright restrictions in the United States. It may still be under copyright in other countries. If you’re not located in the United States, you must check your local laws to verify that the contents of this ebook are free of copyright restrictions in the country you’re located in before downloading or using this ebook.

  • epub All devices and apps except Amazon Kindle and Kobo.

  • azw3 Amazon Kindle devices and apps. Also download the Kindle cover thumbnail to see the cover in your Kindle’s library.

  • kepub Kobo devices and apps.

  • epub3 Advanced format not yet fully compatible with most ereaders.

A brief history of this ebook

  1. Update for epub 3.2 compatibility

  2. Update ToC

  3. Update ToC

  4. Update imprint and colophon to new standards

  5. Build images

More details

Improve this ebook

Anyone can contribute to make a Standard Ebook better for everyone!

To report typos, typography errors, or other corrections, see how to report errors.

If you’re comfortable with technology and want to contribute directly, check out this ebook’s GitHub repository and our contributors section.