The famous British writer Thackeray once commented on the characters in the sixth chapter of the third part of his novel "Henry Esmond": "Such a past is always shown in front of a man, once The passion he experienced formed a part of his whole life and could never be separated." However, this sentence aptly described the sweet, melancholy, painful and unforgettable emotional journey of his rival Dickens. .
"The King of British Fiction" Charles Dickens (1812-1870) is the only great writer comparable to Shakespeare in the history of modern British literature. , the glory of the British Victorian era. Compared with his brilliant creative career, his emotional life has repeatedly encountered thorns and twists and turns. For a long time, what impressed readers the most was the writer's ill-fated marriage with his wife, Catherine, and his Platonic longing for his two sisters-in-law, Mary and Georgina. In fact, in the depths of the writer's heart, there is another section of feelings that will be unforgettable and melancholy throughout his life.
A first love
that will never be forgotten Around 1829, when the writer was 17 years old, Dickens met the banker Bidner and his family through his friend Henry Cole. Bidenell has 3 daughters, of which the youngest daughter Maria is one year older than Dickens. She is not only beautiful and exquisite, but also proficient in rhythm. Dickens was deeply attracted by her appearance and temperament, and soon fell in love, unable to extricate herself. He was often overjoyed by her smiling face, and often distressed by her frowning and sighing. In short, for three or four years, Maria was "in every corner, in every space" in the writer's mind. It is a pity that this young lady who takes pleasure in coquettish treats Dickens's true love with a frivolous and arrogant attitude, causing this seemingly beautiful love to wither before it begins to bloom.
In 1855, Dickens, with many children, unexpectedly received an affectionate letter from Maria, who had become Mrs. Winter. In the letter, Maria said: In fact, she has always loved him, the obstacle between their love is not caused by her, and she always thinks of him at important moments over the years. She even suggested that the two should establish some kind of heart-to-heart relationship, some kind of extra-marital relationship. It was as if Dickenston was in a lifetime of ups and downs, and he was once again immersed in the sweet and sad memories of the past. But when he witnessed the middle-aged Maria, who had become "lost teeth, fat, old, and ugly", he couldn't accept the reality in front of him, and fell into an unprecedented loss and loss.
Although on the surface Dickens' feelings for Maria have gradually faded away with the passage of time and the appearance of his first love, in fact, he will never forget the bits and pieces related to Maria. According to the description of the famous British biographer Hesketh Pearson: Although more than 20 years later, Dickens, who was over forty, still clearly remembers the color and style of the pair of blue gloves that Maria chose for him. Moreover, whenever people around me mention the name "Maria", or see someone frown like Maria, or hear the sound of a harp, the writer's mind is disturbed and emotional.
In fact, Dickens' recollection of this relationship is not limited to daily life, but is also deeply engraved in his three novels "David Copperfield" (1850), "Little Dolly" (1857) and "Broad" The Future" (1861).
Dickens' memory of Maria is very deep, and his feelings for her are very complicated. In the novel, Dickens described the beautiful, disappointing and real Maria respectively, and pinned the writer's sweet, melancholy and painful feelings.
(1) The pure dream of youth: Dora
In Dickens' masterpiece "David Copperfield", David and Dora fell in love at first sight, made a private life, and got married after overcoming many difficulties. However, due to the huge difference in their personalities, their married life was not happy, and Dora, who was young, passed away due to illness very early. For a long time, the beautiful and immature Dora and the blossoming but fruitless love between her and the protagonist David have made countless readers feel embarrassed.
Although Dora's character and experience are different from those of Maria in her teenage years, the author's endless reminiscence and longing for her first love are poured into this character. In a letter that Dickens wrote to Maria when he was in his 40s, he said: "I think you must have seen that the whole character of 'Dora' is sometimes the embodiment of your past." And , Dora had just returned from France when she met David for the first time. David's love for Dora at first sight, as well as the disparity in the social status of the two are also very similar to the situation in reality. Even Dora's puppy, Gibb, was modeled after Maria's puppy, Daphne.
Of course, there is a big gap between the pure love between Dora and David and Dickens' unrequited love for Maria in real life, which contains many elements of dreams and beautification, but as Mi Slater in "Dickens and Women" As the book says: "Dora is not presented to the reader in any real way, flesh and blood, she only enters the novel with the fantasy of a loving elf." Innocent and affectionate to David Ra is a young girl Maria imagined and beautified by Dickens, which embodies the writer's dream and reminiscence of his first love, and is also full of the writer's tolerance to "Maria's same kind of comedy".
(2) Exaggerated resentment in middle age: Flora
Shakespeare once said: "Youth is a short-lived dream, and when you wake up, it is long gone." This sentence vividly and vividly expresses Dickens's many years of experience The mood when I saw Maria again later. Dickens was overjoyed when he first saw Maria's letter; but when he saw with his own eyes that the petite "Angel" had turned into a fat and bloated housewife, the writer fell into an unprecedented loss. In order to release this emotion, Flora, a middle-aged widow who is fat, dull, vulgar and nagging in "Little Du Li", came into being.
In the masterpiece "Little Durie", Flora is the old lover of the hero Arthur. Due to the interference of Arthur's mother, Mrs. Cleinan, they could not get married. In her youth, she had been a charming teenage girl, but twenty-five years later she had become a fat, dull widow. There is such a vivid description in chapter 13 of the first volume of "Little Dulli": "Flora was tall, but now she is fat and panting... She was a lily when she went abroad, but now she's a peony... Flora used to be charming in her words and thoughts, but now she speaks eloquently and is stupid... Flora was spoiled and naive a long time ago, now She was determined to be spoiled, determined to be dainty..." This and Dickens' sister-in-law, Georgina Hoggs, reminisced about middle-aged Maria ("Poor Dora was already fat and mediocre..." ) are similar.
Although Dickens' depiction of Flora in this work is inevitably exaggerated and inaccurate, this image is indeed inspired by Maria. The great change in Flora's appearance from beauty to vulgarity, the name of her deceased husband (Flora called her deceased husband Fenqin "Mr. F", and Maria called her husband Winter "Mr. W"), as well as her repeated memories of past relationships and Several active pursuits of Arthur are all the writer's exaggerated memories of middle-aged Maria.
The image of Flora is Dickens' release and catharsis of his extremely lost emotions at that time. Although the writer used a slightly teasing tone and a rather exaggerated technique in portraying her, he still insisted on portraying her as a simple, kind-hearted comedy image. In the story, Flora's pity for Amy (that is, little Dolly), her help to Arthur, and her blessings to Arthur and Amy at the end have always been relished by readers. It can be seen from this that Dickens was heartbroken and lost for the change of middle-aged Maria, but his deep love for her remained undiminished.
(3) Real pain in old age: Estella
Following the pure and lovely Dora and the long-winded and kind Flora, Maria appeared in Dickens' 13th novel "Great Expectations" as the bright, indifferent and arrogant Miss Estella. In the story, Pip is deeply in love with Estella, but Estella acts as Miss Havisham's tool to get revenge on the man, playing tricks on Pip with indifference and arrogance, causing her to suffer from mental torture and marry. Spider Moore. While this sombre work will inevitably make readers feel unhappy, Pip and Estella's love experience is undoubtedly closer to reality than the story of David and Dora. Maria, like Estella, is "a woman who is as beautiful as a peach and plum with a heart of iron". She is good at flirting, and at the same time encourages multiple youths to court her and takes pleasure in it. When interacting with Dickens, she was affectionate, gentle and submissive for a while; Although Maria's moodiness tortured Dickens to the death, it seemed like she was under a spell, the writer was fascinated by her beauty and charm, and fell deeper and deeper into the emotional mire, unable to extricate herself. In addition, both Dickens and Pip in the works have worked hard for the beloved woman, hoping to change their low social status and bring her a happy life. In a letter from Dickens to Maria years later, the writer recalled clearly: "I have always believed with certainty that at the time when I was struggling to change my own poverty and obscurity, there was a thought that kept giving me Strength, that's what I miss you." It is conceivable that if Dickens's feelings for Maria were not so fiery and strong at the beginning, I am afraid it would be difficult to have the illustrious reputation of "King of British Fiction" in the future.
Although M. Slater asserts: "He (that is, Dickens - the citer) expressed his life's love for Maria in 'David Copperfield' with 'a bright play'; "The Future" is a complete 'a dark drama'." But in fact, Dickens did not use the image of Estella to vilify Maria. In the work, Estella does have affection for Pip, and from beginning to end, all her actions are controlled by Miss Havisham, teasing and stabbing Pip, and marrying spider Moore, so she and Pip are the same. is an emotional victim. Objectively speaking, Estella is a more rational and true recollection of the writer's later years of his first love experience in his youth and the pain he suffered at that time. The sentence Estella said to Pip at the end of the story, "We'll make up for it", to a certain extent, represents Dickens' understanding of Maria, as well as his detachment and relief from the pain of the past.
Whether it is the innocent and pure Dora, the kind and long-winded Flora, or the cold and arrogant Estella, Dickens poured his infinite reminiscence and longing for his first love, Maria. Even though Maria had caused him to suffer the pain of lovelorn, even if Maria was no longer beautiful in middle age, the writer could never erase the former "Angel" from his mind. In a letter to Maria in 1833, the young Dickens made it clear: "I love no one but you, and I will never love you!" Years later, he is still unforgettable. In a letter to his friend John Foster, the writer summed up his special love affair with Maria as follows:
"Boys came into contact, and then indulged in love affairs, and in all these cases my love To the most frenzied level, in which I endured pain, pounded, fought, and never ceased to believe that things would have been better when we never parted. I've never seen myself feel so much for anyone else Chances are, no one can imagine the pain caused by the memories in "David Copperfield" in the lightest degree. Unlike reading other books, every time I open this book, I see her face ( He is even forty-four years old), when I hear her voice, I am heartbroken, and in the wildest way recalls the hope of the youth, recalls the youth that has become a cloud..."