Publication Date


Document Type

Special Contribution


Bleak Houseis a novel written by Charles Dickens, which centers around the fictional English Court of Chancery case Jarndyce and Jarndyce.The fictional case concerns a dispute surrounding a large inheritance that drags on for several generations.As Dickens put it,

Jarndyce and Jarndyce drones on . . . . Innumerable children have been born into the cause; innumerable young people have married into it; innumerable old people have died out of it . . . . The little plaintiff or defendant, who was promised a new rocking-horse when Jarndyce and Jarndyce should be settled, has grown up, possessed himself of a real horse, and trotted away into the other world.

The story discussed in this Article does not revolve around one extended lawsuit, but rather one extended controversy. And while the subject of this controversy is not the inheritance of money, it is about the inheritance of a difficult situation complicated by politics, greed, and tragedy.