Watched Part 3 (of 5) of the BBC's presentation of "Little Dorrit" on PBS last night. This tale just gets better and better. Unlike, say, "Bleak House" which sucks you in from the get-go, "Little Dorritt" is a gradual story and, by the time you realize you're inrevocably hooked, you're in episode 2 or 3.
In reading the recent book by Dan Simmons, Drood, and listening to some interviews with the author, I know that Simmons did a lot of research. Many of the conversations his imaged Dickens had with his imagined Wilkie Collins were probably based on fact. One of the more intersting conversations is when Dickens pointed out to Collins that the latter's novel, The Moonstone, was a new type of genre, a mystery. Dickens himself was inspired to write one but, alas, never completed one.
Now, back to "Little Dorrit" as the prelude to my question. "LD," like many of Dickens' works, has a little bit of everything. It has drama, soap-opera-ish personal interactions, a mystery, and a murderer...and I don't even know how it's going to end.
Which leads me to the question for any Dickens scholars (or anyone who wants to posit an answer): why didn't Dickens write a story of a single genre (even if the term wasn't invented yet)? Why did he throw them all into the same pot and stir?
My personal take on it is this: a typical Dickens story, with all the different elements, is more like real life than merely a drama or a mystery or whatever. Everything happens, usually on top of each other. Was Dickens so infused with real life--and wrote books that mirrored that--that he failed to see that he could write a story of a single genre?