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David Copperfield (Puffin Classics) Paperback – Abridged, May 2, 2013
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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When David Copperfield escapes from the cruelty of his childhood home he embarks on a journey to adulthood which leads him through comedy and tragedy love and heartbreak and friendship and betrayal Over the course of his adventures David meets an array of eccentric characters and learns hard lessons about the world
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There are a few Kindle versions, including a free one and this $1.99 one.
I have both, and the only difference is the $1.99 version includes the 38 images by Hablot Browne from the original serial installments (19 monthly installments of 3 chapters each, released during 1849-1850, with 2 images per installment) and the first edition of the book (1850). Browne did the illustrations for 10 of Dickens' novels.
The images in the Kindle version are low-resolution scans of the original images (or perhaps scans of other scans).
On the Kindle Paperwhite, I don't think the images look very good, and some detail is hard to make out on some of the images. On the 10" iPad running the Kindle app, the images are much easier to see, both in their original size and when blown up to take up almost the full screen. However, the low-resolution images don't look very crisp on the high-resolution iPad display.
I'll attach pictures of the same image on the Paperwhite and the 10" iPad (running the Kindle app) in hopes they'll help give you a better idea what you're getting for $1.99 on either device.
Note that you can see all the images online for free. (I'll put a link in the first comment.) However, the site I link to doesn't tell you where each image belongs in the book, which chapter it goes with. I guess that's the biggest reason I can think of to pay the $2 - the Kindle book has each image embedded in the place where it appears in the print version of the book. The images are of historic significance, each one adds to the story (the artist was working with Dickens), and I enjoy them a lot.
Just set your expectations low if you're getting it for your Paperwhite.
More than most Dickens novels, this one needs annotations if you're really going to understand the target of the satire: the pre-1852 English Chancery Court. Yes, you do get the basic idea without fully understanding the historical background, but the novel is much richer if you do. The Norton annotations in this regard are uniformly concise and helpful. The many allusions (both to high and low culture) are also glossed, and while you may be well-versed enough in the Christian Bible to do without some of these, Dickens' reading otherwise was highly idiosyncratic -- to the point that even the most well-read consumer is probably going to need a hand from time to time (e.g., Dickens will allude very specifically to a line from something like Milton's *Comus* instead of one of the more important works). As to the popular culture, I defy anyone other than a time traveler or historian specializing in the period to identify references to popular songs, ballads, etc. without some one pointing them out. That the annotations appear at the bottom of the page -- rather than forcing you to flip to the back -- is a welcome bonus.
As for the other features of this edition, the critical apparatus (comparing differences in various editions that appeared within Dickens' lifetime) is unlikely to interest anyone other than specialists, but there are other, more helpful features for the general reader. There is a very good introduction to the Chancery Court (oddly missing from the Modern Library edition -- which otherwise uses the same base text and contains the same annotations if you need a hardback edition), some helpful primary documents about some of the topics that inform the novel, and (like all Norton Critical Editions) a small sampling of excerpts from critical essays (usually several decades old) which are sometimes interesting, but almost always superseded by more recent scholarship.
The trade paperback binding is flexible and durable --allowing you to lay the open book on a flat surface without immediately cracking the spine. You could even read it this way so long as you're not doing silly things like mashing the book completely flat. Though the pages might be fractionally thinner than some may prefer, it does help to keep the bulk down in such a lengthy novel (saving shelf space, as well as making it easier to handle while reading). The type is high enough contrast with the page so as not to cause undue eyestrain, and the font is not minuscule to save space. This edition does include the illustrations by Phiz (Hablot Browne), which are essential as far as I am concerned.
Bottom line: this is a quality, useful edition of one of Dickens' most important novels, and while I appreciate the look and feel of quality hardbacks like the lovely Nonesuch editions, I primarily buy books to read -- not to look attractive on the shelf. I would avoid non-trade paperbacks (good luck not cracking the spine for such a long novel), cheaply bound trades that are likely to begin falling apart after one reading, or hardbacks that don't include at least cursory notes (unless you really are buying more for the look and feel -- I would suggest the leather spines and sewn bindings of the Nonesuch for this).
Needless to say, I became extremely suspicious, I checked the inside jacket and -- ABRIDGED. While many of my high school classmates might have breathed a sigh of relief at the assignment's abbreviation to a mere 276 pages, I was devastated that instead of revisiting an old friend in all its detail, I was reading a summary of the plot points. I personally do not understand why anyone would abridge any novel, but I accept that some people must prefer to read abridged versions. My problem, however, is that nowhere on the Amazon page does it say that this version IS abridged, nor does it say so on the front or back covers of the book (if it had, I would have returned the book immediately)!!! So there is no way of knowing until you receive the book that you have not, in fact, received Dickens' entire work -- and even then you have to do some snooping in the inside cover to find the truth.
If you want to enjoy the full, true David Copperfield experience -- and what an experience it is -- DO NOT BUY THIS VERSION.
If you want the long-form SparkNotes to get through an assignment, you've come to the right place.
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But it continues to thrill and amuse me every time.