How and where did you access it?
It was required reading for a module on my university course. I had never read any Dickens before taking the module.
How did it make you feel?
One of the major plotlines is the story of Esther Summerson, who is presented, along with her friend Ada as the ideal Victorian woman (beautiful, unassuming, obedient, maternal).
From Esther's first meeting with Ada, I could not help but see their relationship as queer. Esther is constantly referring to Ada's beauty, she is upset when Ada falls for Richard, the two women seem incredibly close and affectionate. It is far too easy to fill in the gaps of the novel, in my mind they are clearly in love.
Despite being openly attracted to women, I have often struggled with this aspect of my identity. The idea of two very feminine women falling for each other (no doubt an unintended reading), but also the unspoken, repressed nature of their love, spoke to me. You're supposed to be happy that Esther marries Woodcourt, but the separation of Esther and Ada was the ultimate tragedy of the novel for me.
Dickens' attitude towards women seems pretty sexist, so I find it amusing how much I was able to affirm my sexuality upon reading Bleak House.
Did you share it?
No way - especially knowing how unlikely it was that Dickens would have intentionally written sympathetic lesbian/bisexual-women characters into his novel, it was far too embarrassing to bring up in a seminar.