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Great Expectations (Penguin Classics) Paperback – December 31, 2002
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"No story in the first person was ever better told."
About the Author
Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Landport, Portsea, England. He died in Kent on June 9, 1870. The second of eight children of a family continually plagued by debt, the young Dickens came to know not only hunger and privation,but also the horror of the infamous debtors’ prison and the evils of child labor. A turn of fortune in the shape of a legacy brought release from the nightmare of prison and “slave” factories and afforded Dickens the opportunity of two years’ formal schooling at Wellington House Academy. He worked as an attorney’s clerk and newspaper reporter until his Sketches by Boz (1836) and The Pickwick Papers (1837) brought him the amazing and instant success that was to be his for the remainder of his life. In later years, the pressure of serial writing, editorial duties, lectures, and social commitments led to his separation from Catherine Hogarth after twenty-three years of marriage. It also hastened his death at the age of fifty-eight, when he was characteristically engaged in a multitude of work.
David Trotter is Quain Professor of English Language and Literature and Head of Department at University College London.
Charlotte Mitchell is Lecturer in English at University College London.
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I purchased the Kindle version, and was very happy with it. Many books that are transferred from print over to e-book format show up with errors, missing text, or scanning mistakes that are not corrected. Those involved in creating the Kindle version of this book did a wonderful job. Any errors were corrected, the paragraph breaks were perfect, punctuation was correctly placed, and I was able to read my favorite Christmas story without a single annoying interruption.
I think we all have seen at least one version of A Christmas Carol in the movies or on television. I believe everyone should read all about Scrooge and his haunting companions in the Dickens original, if they really wish to enjoy the full message of the story. This well-translated and perfectly-formatted version, complete with its charming artwork, is a great place to start.
Many of Mr. Dickens novels are quite lengthy. He often wrote them in serial form and they were published chapter by chapter in periodicals, almost like the Victorian version of a television mini series. No matter how enjoyable they are they can be quite lengthy. One will find themes and artistic styles of Charles Dickens from these longer works encapsulated within this fine shorter work.
This story is a novella. Personally I intentionally stretched it out over the Christmas Season, but it can be read fairly quickly. I chose to savor the experience.
In addition to the Kindle edition which was essentially free, I also purchased an audiobook read by the great great grandson of Charles Dickens. His performance was superb. I am really glad that I did that. Thank You...
Now we come to the greatest chracter- at lease to my mind- of any great writer. Madam Defarge is the villain to match any in fiction. With her constant knitting- knitting a death list of her enemies into the design- she is ruthless and determined to not only exterminate all the nobility that have let the country become a multitude of desperate, starving people but righting her own wrongs, down to the children of any line that happens to have crossed her in any way. She is humorless, determined, and will shoot you and hack off your head for a pike if you get in her way. The Evrémondes are her prime targets, and Dickens helps here by making the Marquis somebody we don't mind seeing murdered in his sleep. His nephew is a prime character, and even though he, like Lucy, seems too good to be real, he is the counterpoint not only to his Uncle, who not only supports the abusive policies of the nobility but intends to pursue them with even greater brutality, but to the mindless exterminations of the Revolution, where being a noble was enough to warrant death. Dickens shows that the nobility brought themselves to that point, but that the Republic was less brutal.
Remember when you read that this was a balance of great writing with a bit of serial cliffhanger, and you can almost feel what it must have been like, waiting for the next installment of a great old story.
Charles Dickens novels have a good deal in common, but, at the same time, each tend to be unique. Charles Dickens novels have a good deal of ironic humor, pathos, and address social injustice. At the same time, Charles Dickens novels each stand alone in the storyline. Great Expectations is a "coming of age" novel about a particular young man "Pip". A good deal of the novel is narrated by Pip as he grows from youth to adulthood.
Charles Dickens novels, and really many novels of this era in Great Britain, tend to be lengthy and "wordy" by modern American popular reading standards. This is the most common criticism that I hear from modern readers who I speak with who do not care for Dickens. At the same time, I know many people who wish to read at least one book by all the greatest novelists. Therefore if one wanted to read only one Charles Dickens novel, this really would be as good as any. In that many do Mr. Dickens works are lengthy by modern standards, I find it easier to commit myself to a leisurely reading experience and I read other, shorter works along the way. Thank You...