What’s With These Charles Dickens Quotes, #RichardArmitage?

Trying to figure out whether, as so many on Twitter seem to believe, there is a clue in RA’s trio of tweets from today,

  1. “Never be mean in anything; never be false; never be cruel. Avoid those three vices and I can always be hopeful of you” Dickens D Copperfield
  2. .@audible.com  “There can’t be a quarrel without two parties, and I won’t be one. I will be a friend to you in spite of you…

  3. .@audible.com  So now you know what you’ve got to expect” ― Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

Hmmm. Is he offering literary quotes for some kind of Cybersmile initiative? Why did he tag Audible.com? I immediately went on over to Audible to see whether there is any news there, as my preferred interpretation would always be an unabridged audiobook, and an unabridged David Copperfield is probably adequate for 30 or more hours of Richard-time… but they have at least 25 different audio versions of this book, and some are relatively recent and by narrating heavy-weights. That is to say, some pretty amazing narrators. Simon Vance, Nicholas Boulton are both so good I’ve listened to new authors just to hear them narrate a book.

I guess we’ll wait and see. I must admit, another audiobook, no matter the book, narrated by Richard Armitage is on my highly-hoped-for list. I hope that’s what we’ve “got to expect” because it would be awesome. I’ve missed that voice.

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71 comments

  1. lillianschild · September 8, 2015

    I’m amongst those who have interpreted the above tweets as one of Richard’s usual veiled hints. You’ve got to admit the last one is kind of self-explanatory.:D

    Like

    • jholland · September 8, 2015

      And there was the tweet from Audible a couple of days ago of a graphic showing Richard Armitage as the celebrity most popularly demanded to narrate a book…. I just find it hard to believe they’d want another copy of David Copperfield when there are soooo many. Not that I’d complain. The longer, the better. LOL

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  2. trudystattle · September 8, 2015

    Interesting. Since he quoted Copperfield twice, and there’s no dearth of Dickens works he could have quoted, I rather assumed he was unofficially announcing he’d be reading that piece.
    I’d love him to read Wives & Dailughters. He’d be a hoot doing Hyacinth Gibson!

    Liked by 1 person

    • jholland · September 8, 2015

      Yes, it seems like if this theory is true, he’d be more likely to pick quotes from the book he’s planning to narrate. However, there’s also a chance it could be any Dickens work, or any work at all, and he just likes those quotes. I really hope there’s an official announcement coming soon. =)

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      • Perry · September 8, 2015

        I’m thinking it’s a different Dickens book because there are so many DCs available from Audible, including the whispersinc versions for Kindle books. But we shall see. I’ll listen to it, but I wish for some other work.

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        • jholland · September 8, 2015

          All I’ll say is, I’m probably going to develop a new appreciation for Dickens, if this is the case. I’ve never cared much for his books. (Apologies to any big Dickens fans out there!) But with RA’s level of performance, it’s entirely possible I’ll have a different reaction.

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        • Servetus · September 8, 2015

          There’s some good Dickens and then there’s David Copperfield (another okay book ruined by being forced down the throats of American teenagers as “great literature”). I really hope he’s not doing this …

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        • jholland · September 8, 2015

          Yeah, I’m sure it’s a matter of personal taste to some extent. I’ve certainly not read many of Dickens’ works, precisely because what I was required to read was not interesting to me. =) So if you’d recommend a Dickens book to me, what would it be?

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        • Servetus · September 8, 2015

          Bleak House was my favorite, but it’s still irretrievably long with too many characters. Hard Times is sort of the pendant to North & South, if you’re interested, but it’s not a very good read. I think most critics think Tale of Two Cities is his best novel, but it’s ridiculously sentimental. In short, Dickens sort of personifies a lot of what I dislike in novels, when I dislike them. Or maybe I just read too much of him in school. In school we read Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, and Great Expectations, I think because the teachers thought they were easy to understand. I just thought they were (mostly) dumb. People say Our Mutual Friend is good, but I have never gotten around to it.

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        • jholland · September 8, 2015

          I’ve not read Bleak House. Great Expectations was the first book I ever threw across the room.

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        • Servetus · September 8, 2015

          That was more or less how I felt about it, too, when we were forced to read it in freshman English in high school. The only books I read in school (and I read a lot of them, lol) that I can think of off hand that left a worst taste in my brain were The Mayor of Casterbridge and The Deerslayer.

          Liked by 1 person

        • trudystattle · September 8, 2015

          Bleak House is the best of the few I’ve read. But there were scenes and chapters that really drag. Geez, he can really blabber on.
          I’ve also heard good things about Our Mutual Friend.
          Recently re-read Great Expectations and it left me somewhat underwhelmed.

          Like

        • Servetus · September 8, 2015

          They were serialized, so they had to be a specific length and they had to end in ways that would keep people reading the next installment (like fanfic in that regard) to find out what happened. I think if I could read Dickens like fanfic, episodically, I might potentially enjoy him more, but he’s not usually presented in that way.

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        • trudystattle · September 8, 2015

          Oh yes. It feels like serialized storytelling. Lots and lots of filler.

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        • lillianschild · September 8, 2015

          Most Victorian literature was serialised- take North & South, Middlemarch and Vanity Fair, for instance- hence, the profusion of characters and subplots.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Servetus · September 8, 2015

          I think some of those authors handled it better than Dickens, though (George Eliot being one of them, maybe because the material treated wasn’t so inherently sensationalistic). I have mixed feelings about Gaskell simply because I recognize that element of North & South and when I step back, can see the disadvantages for her narrative flow, but I was prejudiced in her favor before I started reading it. Vanity Fair is a sort of cusp piece for me. It’s *so* episodic that I don’t expect that narrative flow, and it’s also a novel I’ve read several times precisely for that reasons — because I can put it down without wondering what Becky will do next. It also seems, because of the allegory / satire, like it could have been written much earlier than the 1840s.

          Liked by 1 person

        • jholland · September 9, 2015

          Hmmm. Well then, if it’s to be Dickens, I might enforce a serialization on my listening. One chapter a week. It would last me over a year. Hmmm….

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        • jholland · September 9, 2015

          I fear I had the opposite reaction to underwhelmed… as a young teen. I’ve never revisited it.

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        • Servetus · September 9, 2015

          Heart of Darkness. Don’t let me forget to list that here. Joseph Conrad. Blerg.

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        • lillianschild · September 9, 2015

          Well, Kenneth Branagh recorded it for Audible not so long ago… I haven’t listened to it yet, but I read it two decades ago.

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        • lillianschild · September 9, 2015

          What I mean is, they’d probably not ask him to record “Heart of Darkness”. Have you read Nostromo? I remember enjoying it quite a lot. Maybe the fact I visualised Colin Firth in the lead role helped navigate Conrad’s usually dense prose. If there’s something I do admire in him is the richness of his vocabulary and expression. Really impressive when one considers English wasn’t his first language.

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        • Servetus · September 9, 2015

          No, Heart of Darkness was enough for me. Junior year of high school and freshman year of college and it was awful both times. I probably lack the necessary taste to appreciate him.

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    • chazak · September 8, 2015

      Oh yes, please! I’d LOVE for him to read Wives and Daughters! And here I thought I was the only one !

      Liked by 1 person

      • trudystattle · September 8, 2015

        W&D is an absolute favorite of mine. I’ve read it twice; loved it even more the second time — and it’s 600+ pages!

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        • Teuchter · September 9, 2015

          I have the DVD of W&D which was part of a set called “The Elizabeth Gaskell Collection” made by the BBC. The other two in the set are Cranford and, better yet, another copy of North and South to add to my collection!! I think I have at least 4 other copies. You can never have too many….just in case, you know! 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  3. SH · September 8, 2015

    The audiobook idea seems pretty clear, otherwise why tag Audible? If he’s preaching, it’s oblique (though not impossible 🙂 & he didn’t tag CSmile. I’m of the opinion these might just be some personal fave quotes of his from Copperfield… And think he’s definitely being cute with “now you know what to expect”….! But it’s Richard, so who knows? 🙂

    Like

    • jholland · September 8, 2015

      Yes, once in awhile his logic defies explanation. But it does seem more than likely he’s going to narrate something soon. SQUEEEEE! lol

      Liked by 1 person

  4. nellindreams · September 8, 2015

    Great expectations, indeed! 😁 It seems rather plausible, but I’m definitely open to whatever he may read! As long as he reads…

    Liked by 1 person

    • jholland · September 8, 2015

      I know… I’d count it a blessing no matter what the book is. Pretty exciting news, if speculation is correct!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Teuchter · September 8, 2015

    I’m thrilled at the very idea of him narrating a new one. I was wishing for this only yesterday. I am seriously addicted to his narrations – or rather “performances” as I like to think of them. I have listened to lots of various kinds of audiobooks and always listen to one in bed before I go to sleep but I find that any other voice but his just doesn’t “work.” for me. For example, I was listening to a book last night and found myself still awake a couple of hours later. The remedy? Go back into my Audible “library”, select Richard performing Classic Love Poems! The result? Peacefully asleep before the 22 plus minutes are up! Not because I find his voice boring – naturally! On the contrary, I find it infinitely soothing, no matter what he is reading. As others have said, “He could read the phone book”. Maybe I’m rather prejudiced, but I think he is the best narrator I have ever listened to. His repertoire of voices and accents is nothing short of amazing! I totally forget that it is one person doing them all! 🙂

    Like

    • jholland · September 8, 2015

      He’s in a class of his own, no doubt. I’m an audiobook addict, though, so I have a list of narrators that are really good, and a couple of them have done David Copperfield. I happen to be listening to a Simon Vance narration at the moment. =)

      Like

      • SH · September 8, 2015

        I would actually get a charge out of hearing him read recipes 😉 ….. some friends and I had some fun imagining that possibility the other day 😀 lol!

        Liked by 2 people

        • jholland · September 9, 2015

          You know, that would elevate my cooking to an entirely new level….

          Liked by 1 person

        • SH · September 9, 2015

          Mmm HMM!! You’ve got the picture! 😉

          Like

  6. Perry · September 8, 2015

    Reblogged this on Armitage Agonistes and commented:
    I agree with JHolland that David Copperfield seems like a strange choice, considering all the other versions. But I also agree – something may be up in the New Projects category. Were it just the first two quotes, I would say ” CyberSmile” – but the last one seems dead on. But do we know what to expect? These tweets would seem to indicate we should expect David Copperfield, and nothing else right now. Time will tell. Which Dickens book would you like Richard Armitage to narrate? I’m all for Great Expectations or A Tale of Two Cities.

    Like

    • trudystattle · September 8, 2015

      Bleak House and Little Dorrit are my favs so far. (Haven’t read all of his works – who has?!)

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      • jholland · September 8, 2015

        I haven’t read either of those =)

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        • lillianschild · September 8, 2015

          Watching the excellent BBC adaptation of “Little Dorrit” with Matthew MacFadyen might tempt you to give Dickens a chance.

          Unlike others, I’m not against Richard reading Dickens; I think there are lots of characters, voices and accents in his books that he can bring to life.

          I’m a sucker for Victorian literature in general and read a good number of Dickens’ novels growing up- they weren’t part of my school programs, by the way. Later, when I pursued my English teaching degree, I had the opportunity to explore his work in more depth. I didn’t find it boring at all. Still, it’s true that his stories don’t call for frequent re-reads as do other Victorian novels such as the ones written by the Brontës, G.Eliot or Mrs Gaskell.

          Whatever he ends up recording, I’m one happy camper.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Servetus · September 8, 2015

          I thought the BBC adaptation of Little Dorrit was entertaining as well. On the whole I think Dickens lends himself well to TV precisely because of some things that make his novels problematic for me, such as the caricature-like quality of many of his minor characters. They come to life on the screen. Also, Matthew McFadyen.

          Liked by 2 people

        • lillianschild · September 8, 2015

          Yes, his books are populated with characters that have to be SEEN. I believe that makes him an interesting choice since Richard’s such a visual and kinetic performer even when using just his voice as an instrument. His not being an ordinary reader or narrator is a great asset for an author such as this one. In fact, anyone other than an accomplished performer would most probably succeed in gaining Dickens more detractors than new admirers, which I believe would be a great shame.

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        • Servetus · September 8, 2015

          Hard to say, in that there are many, many audio versions of Dickens books, and I can’t imagine they’d make so many if he were all that difficult to read. (Conceding that yes, of course, they are not paying rights fees.) It’s not that I don’t think Armitage will do a good job, I think he will, I just think that the many characters may make it easier rather than harder, and I’m guessing that audiobooks with multiple characters are of higher interest than books with long stretches of contemplative prose (for instance). If you are reading something heavily conceptual (like Faulkner or Hardy, let’s say), you have a huge challenge to keep that interesting vocally, whereas the characters (assuming you can keep them straight) might present entertainment value more easily.

          Additionally, I found when reading Dickens that there were subplots that I just didn’t care about because there were characters I found boring or silly. When I read his novels, I just flipped through those pages to learn the plot developments. That’s harder with an audio book, you can’t just skip through the boring pieces of the plot, unfortunately.

          Liked by 1 person

        • lillianschild · September 8, 2015

          My guess is the guys at Audible wouldn’t pick a title without being certain of its salability- particularly, if there are so many different versions of it available. They must also be aware of what a winning combination it is to have Richard Armitage perform in his native British accent.

          As regards Richard’s decision to record this book, considering he’s such a workaholic and that there seems to be a lull between projects- “Clearance” won’t start till November and there have been no news of Summer lately- it could be a question of his looking for something to do albeit less demanding if, as you say, he finds doing multiple voices easier than handling contemplative stretches of prose. A moderately challenging choice would, of course, leave him more time to devote to the research he must surely be working on for the film & TV projects he has in the pipeline.

          Liked by 3 people

        • jholland · September 9, 2015

          Hence, its marketability as a sleep aid.

          Like

        • jholland · September 9, 2015

          I’ve heard great things about Little Dorrit onscreen. I’ll check into it.

          Like

    • jholland · September 8, 2015

      Thanks for the reblog, Perry. I can’t think of any Dickens book I’d just love to have him narrate, but maybe he’ll change my mind about a book I’ve previously dismissed, or maybe it’ll be one I haven’t attempted.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Perry · September 8, 2015

        I like to listen to his audiobooks ( and others, too) as I fall asleep. I think Dickens may do the job faster than most.

        Liked by 2 people

        • jholland · September 9, 2015

          I am certain of this. Ah, so many possibilities for bedtime with Richard Armitage. It’s only fair if one of those puts you straight to sleep. =)

          Like

  7. Servetus · September 8, 2015

    Audible tweeted a word picture of celebrities who readers wanted to hear read an audiobook. I’m assuming this is just the response (whatever it means).

    We asked, you answered. These are the celebrities you are hoping will narrate an audiobook. #AudibleAsks pic.twitter.com/qncVYRDTIn— Audible (@audible_com) September 6, 2015

    //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

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    • jholland · September 8, 2015

      Yes… I’m hoping that they had a purpose for asking that question, namely that they have a list of books they’d like a celebrity narrator to do… and that they’ve approached him about a narration. Seeing how Twitter exploded, if they haven’t done so yet, I would think they’d do so now. =)

      Like

      • Servetus · September 8, 2015

        Gosh, I hope they don’t, or rather, I’m sure they have before this but I hope he holds out for something better than Dickens.

        Like

        • jholland · September 8, 2015

          I’ll listen no matter what. But I can think of a number of classics I’d die to hear him read, and none of those are Dickens. =)

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Teuchter · September 9, 2015

    I’m sorely tempted to join twitter! I seem to miss a lot, including the tweet from Audible.

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  9. linnetmoss · September 9, 2015

    Away with the middlebrow “classic literature”! I vote for another Georgette Heyer romance with a devilishly handsome hero 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • jholland · September 9, 2015

      Unabridged this time!! I’m all for that. =)

      Liked by 2 people

      • Teuchter · September 9, 2015

        Oh me too!! I’ve lost count how many times I’ve listened to the ones he has already narrated. It always makes me sad that they are all abridged. Other people have read them but their voices don’t cut it for me! 😦 I have downloaded a few of them as I have read most of her books but it’s not the same, IMHO.

        Like

    • Teuchter · September 9, 2015

      I always hoped they would make a movie of Venetia with Richard as Damerel. He would have been perfect in that role, don’t you think?

      Liked by 1 person

      • linnetmoss · September 9, 2015

        Oh heavens yes. He really has missed his calling with this serial killer stuff, LOL. He was born to play Georgette Heyer heroes 🙂 Especially Damerel.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. Servetus · September 9, 2015

    I’m sure all the fans will buy it. I doubt he’s the first person to read it with a British accent, though. I also wonder how many jobs he has to do in the US annually to keep his visa. I’m guessing that neither Brain on Fire or Hannibal count, although it’s only idle guess, of course.

    Like

    • SH · September 9, 2015

      Ooh, that’s really a good question! That’s true, those were in Canada, not the U.S…..

      Like

      • lillianschild · September 9, 2015

        The only film he’s shot in US territory since getting his visa is “Sleepwalker” and that was last year…

        Like

  11. Hariclea · September 11, 2015

    well, i don’t share the general dislike of Dickens it seems 🙂 But i only read it in translation when i was in school, tying to escape the overload of suicidal and generally pathologically depressed characters in German literature 😉 So maybe that doesn’t count. But i remember liking it quite a bit, it will be interesting to revisit it in original so many years later and see what i think of it. Personally though, if i had any choice at all, i’d like him to have another go at poetry. I’m only a beginner in terms of audio books but it is a special pleasure having somebody recite poetry, i could never replace that with reading it myself 🙂 But i suspect reading poetry is in a way much harder work. (Not that he shies away from hard work! But it takes much more time to think about and deliver and it certainly sells much less, so sadly will rarely be first choice. And sorry those 22 min we got doesn’t really count as reading poetry much 😉 ).

    Like

    • jholland · September 12, 2015

      I totally agree. Something is missing in my head when it comes to poetry. If I read a book, (maybe Dickens books excepted, LOL) my mind is generally able to make it interesting. When it comes to poetry, it just doesn’t work that way. But when I hear poetry read aloud, it comes alive. And RA reading poetry is its own kind of magic!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hariclea · September 12, 2015

        There is plenty of time for more once ge does Dickens I am sure if he has time audible will want more and we always will

        Like

        • jholland · September 12, 2015

          I’m so glad he’s willing to do these smaller types of projects even as his stardom is on the rise. Pretty sure at least one of the reasons is he knows it will please his fans. It’s one of the many things I love about him. =)

          Liked by 1 person

        • Hariclea · September 13, 2015

          Oh i think it pleases him first of all 🙂 I really don’t think he makes decisions with fans in mind and he shouldn’t really. I think he knows we’ll watch and mostly enjoy seeing anything new 😉 He must enjoy the readings himself! I also like that he does so many different things. Though it is probably also from a sort of fear of not having work lined up, he can’t seem to stop 😉 But books must be less exhausting than filming so i guess it is a good way to bridge work with more work without being tired 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • lillianschild · September 13, 2015

          I think he has a particular fondness audiobooks. I remember he said once that it was the closest he could get to theatre and that recording them helped him stretch “those muscles” that had become dormant after being away from the stage for so long.

          Liked by 1 person

        • jholland · September 13, 2015

          I think he enjoys it, too. And long may he continue with periodic audio work. He’s amazing. And it’s not just because he has a delicious voice. He has a true talent for it. =)

          Like

        • Hariclea · September 13, 2015

          i hope he will continue to read them for a really long time, i like them a lot! but i hope he won’t use them a replacement. Nothing can replace the stage and if there is a will there is a way 😉

          Like

        • lillianschild · September 13, 2015

          I meant “fondness FOR audiobooks”, by the way. Oh, I hate it when blogs don’t allow editing!

          Liked by 2 people

        • jholland · September 13, 2015

          Me, too! I’m always leaving typos in comments and unable to fix it! (Except on my own blog, which is handy!) LOL

          Like

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