Okay, so he got paid by the 32-page monthly installment. If it's not putting too fine a point on it, he got paid by the words, not by the word.
And there's nothing wrong with that, except it induces pressure to come up with 32 pages every thirty days. And some of those 32-page installments might have been improved by some judicious editing. Certainly Dickens was passionate about social reform, and he had a real love for his characters. I have no doubt that he wrote from the heart. But deadlines are deadlines, and they're both a blessing and a curse. In this case, they allowed Dickens to focus his enormous energy and write prolifically. But they also sometimes resulted in carelessness and redundancy.
Don't get me wrong. The fact that Dickens was able to write so well for so long, and produce tens of thousands of pages in the process, is nothing short of remarkable. But I'll put it this way: my wife, who has never read Little Dorritt, watched the recent PBS series with me. Her comment: "Okay, I get it. The Father of the Marshalsea has a major issue with pride. How many times do I need to be hit over the head with this?" And I understand her reaction. We get it, Chuck. Move along. And sometimes he doesn't move along fast enough.
I'm not saying he didn't make mistakes and messes. He did. (Though I don't consider the Father of the Marshalsea and his many follies one of them. There are many facets to his character, and it takes time to explore them all. If you just had a scene that basically declared, "Here's a proud man -- now we're moving along," you wouldn't get the secret shame, or the inner conflict, or the self-deception, or the paradox of love that expresses itself as selfishness. It's all part of the character development.)
I love how one of my blog commenters put it
: ". . . I don't know if this disqualifies me as a fan of Dickens. I see his faults and flaws (in writing and life) and like to point them out because I don't feel they should have been prevented or eliminated. They are an integral part of who he was, and still is. If he were not this exuberant, messy, and crazy man, he would not have made so many mistakes, nor would he have given us such sprawling, massive, mind-blowing masterpieces. His flaws and imperfections are what made him who he was, as much as his genius and passions and vision and compassion."
I don't think that disqualifies one as a fan, I think it makes one an honest and perceptive fan!
But I'm not trying to argue that anyone should feel differently than they do about certain qualities of Dickens. These things are a matter of taste. I'm only trying to point out things about him and his work that often tend to get lost in the fog of cliche and stereotype.