Bleak House (version 3)

Charles DICKENS (1812 - 1870)

The Chancery Court had jurisdiction over all matters of equity, including administration of estates, the guardianship of orphans, and disputed property disbursement. In Dickens’ time, some cases could take years to be settled, changing the lives of those involved. Esther Summerson, a young woman raised in a tough and unloving atmosphere, is unexpectedly requested to be a companion to two teenage orphans, Richard Carstone and Ada Clare, for whom the court has appointed as guardian, John Jarndyce. They take up residence at Mr. Jarndyce’s home, Bleak House. The story of their lives and fortunes is the main thrust of the novel, and is related at times through the eyes of Esther, whose gentle point of view gives the reader a different and more intimate perspective. Richard is sure his fortune is ‘just around the corner’ when the case of Jarndyce-v-Jarndyce, of which he and Ada will be beneficiaries, is settled. He tries his hand at a career or two, but he becomes obsessed with hastening the probate of the willed fortune he feels must soon be theirs. Further difficulties arise when he and Ada fall in love, while he, penniless, continues the quest to bring his case to justice. A scriber of legal documents dies, and from his death, questions arise which unearth secrets that the Jarndyce’s neighbour, Lady Dedlock, has kept hidden for years. Inspector Bucket enters the case, and begins investigating the disappearance of Lady Dedlock. In the dirt poor part of London comes a young boy called Joe who claims to ‘know noffink’ but who has witnessed something very important. Several other colorful characters are wound into the story. Nearly insane Miss Flite, who for years has attended court every day, with her little folder of documents, is ever hopeful of a settlement. Mr. Boythorn is a boisterous friend of Jarndyce who has a vendetta with Sir Leicester Dedlock. The Jellyby Family, invariably on the verge of a disaster, is neglected by their Mother who is obsessed with an overseas project. The Smallweed family is mean and avaricious – squeezing money from poor clients. Mr. Skimpole is the childlike captivating friend of Mr. Jarndyce who sees no harm in living off everybody else. Mr. Guppy fawns after Esther, and plots to steal documents with his friend Weevle. Mr. Woodcourt is a gentle surgeon and family friend, who becomes a hero. Since the writing of Bleak House, the property laws of England were changed, and disbursements were thenceforth conducted in court with the object of swiftly coming to a settlement for the benefit of inheritors. (Summary by Mil Nicholson)

Genre(s): General Fiction

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 00 Preface Mil Nicholson
00:05:40
Play 01 Chapter 1 Mil Nicholson
00:17:10
Play 02 Chapter 2 Mil Nicholson
00:18:22
Play 03 Chapter 3 Mil Nicholson
00:52:03
Play 04 Chapter 4 Mil Nicholson
00:30:42
Play 05 Chapter 5 Mil Nicholson
00:38:07
Play 06 Chapter 6 Mil Nicholson
00:58:39
Play 07 Chapter 7 Mil Nicholson
00:27:38
Play 08 Chapter 8 Mil Nicholson
00:51:50
Play 09 Chapter 9 Mil Nicholson
00:40:32
Play 10 Chapter 10 Mil Nicholson
00:28:08
Play 11 Chapter 11 Mil Nicholson
00:38:23
Play 12 Chapter 12 Mil Nicholson
00:37:14
Play 13 Chapter 13 Mil Nicholson
00:41:50
Play 14 Chapter 14 Mil Nicholson
00:56:31
Play 15 Chapter 15 Mil Nicholson
00:44:01
Play 16 Chapter 16 Mil Nicholson
00:22:33
Play 17 Chapter 17 Mil Nicholson
00:38:13
Play 18 Chapter 18 Mil Nicholson
00:48:18
Play 19 Chapter 19 Mil Nicholson
00:38:06
Play 20 Chapter 20 Mil Nicholson
00:36:30
Play 21 Chapter 21 Mil Nicholson
00:46:11
Play 22 Chapter 22 Mil Nicholson
00:35:17
Play 23 Chapter 23 Mil Nicholson
00:48:14
Play 24 Chapter 24 Mil Nicholson
00:47:47
Play 25 Chapter 25 Mil Nicholson
00:24:15
Play 26 Chapter 26 Mil Nicholson
00:34:57
Play 27 Chapter 27 Mil Nicholson
00:31:22
Play 28 Chapter 28 Mil Nicholson
00:29:55
Play 29 Chapter 29 Mil Nicholson
00:24:53
Play 30 Chapter 30 Mil Nicholson
00:40:39
Play 31 Chapter 31 Mil Nicholson
00:42:20
Play 32 Chapter 32 Mil Nicholson
00:33:35
Play 33 Chapter 33 Mil Nicholson
00:37:29
Play 34 Chapter 34 Mil Nicholson
00:40:58
Play 35 Chapter 35 Mil Nicholson
00:42:47
Play 36 Chapter 36 Mil Nicholson
00:42:29
Play 37 Chapter 37 Mil Nicholson
00:50:43
Play 38 Chapter 38 Mil Nicholson
00:27:52
Play 39 Chapter 39 Mil Nicholson
00:41:58
Play 40 Chapter 40 Mil Nicholson
00:32:20
Play 41 Chapter 41 Mil Nicholson
00:22:48
Play 42 Chapter 42 Mil Nicholson
00:19:57
Play 43 Chapter 43 Mil Nicholson
00:44:28
Play 44 Chapter 44 Mil Nicholson
00:20:10
Play 45 Chapter 45 Mil Nicholson
00:32:37
Play 46 Chapter 46 Mil Nicholson
00:24:26
Play 47 Chapter 47 Mil Nicholson
00:42:11
Play 48 Chapter 48 Mil Nicholson
00:41:37
Play 49 Chapter 49 Mil Nicholson
00:35:55
Play 50 Chapter 50 Mil Nicholson
00:25:49
Play 51 Chapter 51 Mil Nicholson
00:31:20
Play 52 Chapter 52 Mil Nicholson
00:29:00
Play 53 Chapter 53 Mil Nicholson
00:30:27
Play 54 Chapter 54 Mil Nicholson
00:58:53
Play 55 Chapter 55 Mil Nicholson
00:41:41
Play 56 Chapter 56 Mil Nicholson
00:20:18
Play 57 Chapter 57 Mil Nicholson
00:46:44
Play 58 Chapter 58 Mil Nicholson
00:44:53
Play 59 Chapter 59 Mil Nicholson
00:35:54
Play 60 Chapter 60 Mil Nicholson
00:33:13
Play 61 Chapter 61 Mil Nicholson
00:29:54
Play 62 Chapter 62 Mil Nicholson
00:25:51
Play 63 Chapter 63 Mil Nicholson
00:21:50
Play 64 Chapter 64 Mil Nicholson
00:31:07
Play 65 Chapter 65 Mil Nicholson
00:23:46
Play 66 Chapter 66 Mil Nicholson
00:11:44
Play 67 Chapter 67 Mil Nicholson
00:11:46