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Martin Chuzzlewit (Penguin Classics) Paperback – August 1, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Martin Chuzzlewit is a dramatic serial on Masterpiece Theatre, a PBS television series presented by WGBH-TV, Boston, made possible by a grant from Mobil Corporation.

From the Publisher

This book is in Electronic Paperback Format. If you view this book on any of the computer systems below, it will look like a book. Simple to run, no program to install. Just put the CD in your CDROM drive and start reading. The simple easy to use interface is child tested at pre-school levels.

Windows 3.11, Windows/95, Windows/98, OS/2 and MacIntosh and Linux with Windows Emulation.

Includes Quiet Vision's Dynamic Index. the abilty to build a index for any set of characters or words. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reissue edition (August 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140436146
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140436143
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Thaddeus Wert on November 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With this novel, Dickens left behind the shallow characters that sometimes marred his early works, and developed full-fledged people. Pecksniff and his daughters are marvelous creations that make one cringe with embarassment while laughing at their incredible selfishness. Tom Pinch is another character in a distinguished line of "too good to be true" Dickensian personalities, but he is shown to suffer and grow into a believable human being. The American episodes are biting in their satire, but overall they are on the money. Dickens' contempt for American armchair philosophers and "freedom-loving" slave owners fueled some of his most pointed social commentary. As always, there is a happy ending, but the plot is more complex than anything Dickens had written before. I have read Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, The Old Curiousity Shop, and Barnaby Rudge, and Martin Chuzzlewit ranks right up there with his best.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth Umbach on April 3, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Martin Chuzzlewit is a funny, memorable, and insightful book. The engravings in the Oxford Illustrated edition are a charming addition to this story of hypocrisy, family intrigue, selfishness, loyalty, and friendship. Dickens's use of language is precise and often stinging. The book is laced with humor in the service of more profound goals. If you buy the Oxford Illustrated edition, skip the critical essay at the start of the volume, as it gives away some plot elements best left for the reader to discover. (Read the essay AFTER you have finished the book, if you like, or just ignore it.) My 9 rating reflects the combination of humor, satire, memorable characters (most especially the resolutely jolly Mark Tapley and the hypocritical Mr. Pecksniff), and a thoroughly entertaining plot.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Ted on June 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
Martin Chuzzlewit the elder is dying and all the family has designs on gaining their inheritance. His grandson seems the odds on favorite but young Martin, the grandson has fallen madly in love with the elder Martin's altruistic nurse, Mary Graham. Why the elder Martin finds this terrifying is puzzling. Does he really think Mary's interest in Martin the younger will compromise the quality of her job? Oh, oh...I've done it, I've caught Dickens capturing the foibles of humanity again!!!
These characters sometimes make me scream. I'd like to be face to face with them, vigourously attempting to argue them out of their other-destructive behavior...Of course it would be totally useless as far as they're concerned, but hopefully cathartic for me.
The PBS video (6 hours) is how I was introduced to this story. After viewing the video I read the book. Dickens offers a marked contrast to his near contemporary Alexis deTocqueville's. Where Tocqueville saw free association and high community spirit in his Democracy in America, Dickens saw flim-flam and greed everywhere. -As greed and selfishness are big themes in Chuzzlewit, America proved an apt foil. It is said American publishers pirated Dickens work, paying him no royalties, adding fuel to his ire. Other reviewers have commented on Pecksniff , Mrs. Gump, Jonas Chuzzlewit and Tom Pinch. Oh, there are Dickensian characters in this book. The rivalry between Mercy and Charity Pecksniff results in this case, in alarming tragedies of self-centeredness. If there be humor in such goings on, you'll love Montigue Tigg (Tigg Montigue). He is every bit the operator, having much in common with Mr. Merdle of Dicken's Little Dorritt. Rest assured, as Dickens torments the reader with the trials of his characters, this is one of those tales where just desserts are served in the end.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Paul Treleaven on January 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Martin Chuzzlewit is full of those wonderful characters that Dickens excels at writing. His characters, both the odious and the virtuous, literally seep into your consciousness and feel like people you know (in fact, people you are certain you've met). With Martin Chuzzlewit, Dickens gives us some truly awful examples of humanity and the all too common selfishness and false piety that so many demonstrate in their daily lives.
We stand beside the poor, woefully abused Tom Pinch and cheer at his every minor victory, and watch the machinations of Mr Pecksniff and his daughters, Charity and Mercy, with despair. In fact, every character feels like a true individual with a complete life of his or her own. Dickens succeeds brilliantly at making his characters come to life.
It is, indeed, these characters, far more than the overall plot, which makes this a wonderful read. We are drawn, literally, into their lives and we actually feel an emotional connection with them. That while some are caricatures of `good and bad', they are so fully realised, it makes little difference.
This is not to say the entire novel works - as with much writing of this period, the style might frustrate modern readers who are used to straightforward writing that `cuts to the chase' - Dickens certainly liked the written word and he uses it liberally, as an artist might cover a canvas with thick, colourful paint.
Martin Chuzzlewit is a novel you don't (and shouldn't) sit down to all at once. It's something to be savoured and enjoyed over time (as the original readers would have done, anxiously waiting for each chapter to be printed). This world is simply too detailed to skim through.
If you're an American, you might question the inclusion of the American section.
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