Over twenty consecutive months, Charles Dickens enthralled readers with his monthly installments of the novel Bleak House, a complex and compelling portrayal of the English judicial system. Serialized in his own magazine, Household Words, between 1852 and 1853, the book is deemed to be his finest work and is his ninth novel.
Using an innovative literary technique known as “free indirect discourse,” where the narrator himself speaks through the medium of one of his main characters, Dickens uses the heroine Esther Summerson and an unidentified narrator as the vehicle for his story.
Esther Summerson is a young woman who is brought up under mysterious circumstances by several people, including an aunt who hates her, a Chancery lawyer and finally another lawyer John Jarndyce, a wealthy, extremely kind and compassionate man. After completing her education, she moves into the Jarndyce residence, appropriately named Bleak House, where two other wards of his also live. Secrets begin to tu…