About the story
Bleak House, novel by British author Charles Dickens, published serially in 1852–53 and in book form in 1853 and considered to be among the author’s best work. Bleak House is the story of the Jarndyce family, who wait in vain to inherit money from a disputed fortune in the settlement of the extremely long-running lawsuit of Jarndyce and Jarndyce. The novel is pointedly critical of England’s Court of Chancery, in which cases could drag on through decades of convoluted legal maneuvering.
The story begins in the High Court of Chancery, where the case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce has gone on for generations and has “become so complicated that no man alive knows what it means.” The current issue concerns two young wards of the court, Ada Clare and Richard Carstone, who are seeking permission to take up residence with a distant cousin, Mr. John Jarndyce. Later, the lawyer Mr. Tulkinghorn stops by the London home of Sir Leicester Dedlock and Lady Honoria Dedlock. She is also connected with the suit, and, as the lawyer goes over affidavits with her, she takes a sudden interest in the handwriting on one of the documents.