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David Copperfield (Collector's Library) Hardcover – Unabridged, October 1, 2009
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"The most perfect of all the Dickens novels."
--Virginia Woolf --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Arguably one of the greatest writers of the Victorian era, Charles Dickens is the author of such literary masterpieces as A Tale of Two Cities (1859), A Christmas Carol (1843), David Copperfield (1850), and The Adventures of Oliver Twist (1839), among many others. Dickens' s indelible characters and timeless stories continue to resonate with readers around the world more than 130 years after his death. Dickens was born in 1812 and died in 1870.
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Top customer reviews
Having made it through this longest of Dickens' works (at least, the longest I've read so far) my conclusion is that this is evidence that bigger/longer doesn't mean better. According to Wikipedia this book was Dickens' personal favorite (no doubt because of the strong autobiographical elements) but in my opinion it is definitely not his best. It ranks better than Dickens' worst (Bleak House, Hard Times, Little Dorritt) but not nearly as good as his best (A Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations).
The main problem with David Copperfield? It is waaaay too long. It is the most thoughtful and contemplative of Charles Dickens' books, but at the same time it drags on interminably. Rather than have one main compelling story line, with conflict, climax, etc. that drives the narrative, David Copperfield has numerous storylines, each with their own conflict and climax, so that the reader is left weary and glazed-eyed. Rather than stuff all of them into this one overlong book, Dickens would have done better to break this book up into several books.
All that being said, David Copperfield does contain some of Dickens' most quirky, interesting and unforgettable characters. Even Dora ended up being one of my favorites, if only because she is that rarest of Dickens' characters, one who actually grows and changes (or perhaps in this case she didn't so much change, as reveal a different side of her character as the story progressed). At any event, I started out feeling neutral about her, then didn't like her, then admired her greatly.
If you're a Dickens fan then by all means read this. If you're not particularly a Dickens fan, or new to Dickens, then don't start with David Copperfield; it will wear you out and probably turn you off to Dickens entirely. Start with one of his more compelling books (those I listed above among my favorites).
I actually listened to two different audio versions of this; the first one I was unable to finish before it had to be returned to the library (and couldn't be renewed). So I purchased a second version in order to finish. In comparing the two (this version produced by Blackstone Audio vs. the version produced by Recorded Books narrated by Patrick Tull which doesn't seem to exist on Amazon) I like the narrator of the Blackstone Audio version slightly better. His characterizations are nearly as colorful as the narrator of the Recorded Books version, but he doesn't make everyone sound quite so old (particularly David Copperfield).
I will definitely listen to this again, if for no other reason than to catch the parts I missed the first time around due to my attention wandering.
by Charles Dickens 1853
It was not uncommon in those days for people to live and die while waiting for a deliberation on their court case. It brings to mind judges wearing white wigs. The story is life in the shadow of an ongoing law suit with no foreseeable end but as you will see is much more than that. Life does go on in spite of an unresolved court case. Charles Dickens is very good at developing his characters in the story and there are many of them. The plot is like a finely woven tapestry often going off in tangents. The main character is transformed from her unfortunate beginnings to becoming a respectable and beloved person. The story takes some surprising turns along the way. It is easy to see how this book is a classic.