- Series: Dover Thrift Editions
- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Dover Publications; Unabridged edition (August 1, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780486415864
- ISBN-13: 978-0486415864
- ASIN: 0486415864
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 6,554 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Great Expectations (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – Unabridged, August 1, 2001
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From the Back Cover
In this unflaggingly suspenseful story of aspirations and moral redemption, humble, orphaned Pip, a ward of his short-tempered older sister and her husband, Joe, is apprenticed to the dirty work of the forge but dares to dream of becoming a gentleman. And, indeed, it seems as though that dream is destined to come to passbecause one day, under sudden and enigmatic circumstances, he finds himself in possession of "great expectations." In telling Pip's story, Dickens traces a boy's path from a hardscrabble rural life to the teeming streets of 19th-century London, unfolding a gripping tale of crime and guilt, revenge and reward, and love and loss. Its compelling characters include Magwitch, the fearful and fearsome convict; Estella, whose beauty is excelled only by her haughtiness; and the embittered Miss Havisham, an eccentric jilted bride.
Written in the last decade of Dickens' life, Great Expectations was praised widely and universally admired. It was his last great novel, and many critics believe it to be his finest. Readers and critics alike praised it for its masterful plot, which rises above the melodrama of some of his earlier works, and for its three-dimensional, psychologically realistic characters characters much deeper and more interesting than the one-note caricatures of earlier novels. "In none of his other works," wrote the reviewer in the 1861 Atlantic, "does he evince a shrewder insight into real life, and a cheaper perception and knowledge of what is calledthe world." To Swinburne, the novel was unparalleled in all of English fiction, with defects "as nearly imperceptible as spots on the sun or shadows on a sunlit sea." Shaw found it Dickens' "most completely perfect book." Now this inexpensive edition invites modern readers to savor this timeless masterpiece, teeming with colorful characters, unexpected plot twists, and Dickens' vivid rendering of the vast tapestry of mid-Victorian England.
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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).
If you haven’t read <i>Great Expectations</i>, I encourage you to do so. Yes, it was first published in 1861, and the syntax is more eloquent than that we’ve become accustomed to, but once this tale grabs hold, you will forget the language and year it was written and be all in with these new friends. The love, the heartbreak and the lessons still hold true today. Some choices, once made, can leave long-reaching scars on the hearts of those we never knew we touched. A good deed can ripple through time to places never imagined. The consequences of our actions must be accounted for, and there will always be outcomes we could never have anticipated.
<i>Great Expectations</i> is the real deal! The deliciously-satisfying prose is the whipped cream on the proverbial sundae that is Dickens. The plot and subplots (and sub-subplots) are astounding! The way he can weave this tangled web yet keep the interest of the reader while giving nothing away until the perfect moment … and BAM! He has you, and you sigh with the perfection of it all.
You’ve missed a gorgeous piece of literature if you don’t dive into this book.
A great "series" and pretty realistic. I've read a few reviewers talk about Downtown Abbey as good but Bleak House as dark and bleak. No kidding. It's the 1800's and if you didn't have money life was pretty horrendous. Also, Downton Abbey was the early 1900's, 50+ years later than is shown here.
Downton Abbey, although a favorite, it is very detailed and realistic for the rich, with little to no realistic reflection of the details of poverty other than what's shown of the downstairs workers.
Gillian is good but has the same 3 looks used over and over. I get she's lived a tortured life and has made decisions, i.e. marrying her husband, for her own survival and welfare but we really don't get to see much beyond the one dimensional presentation of her living an unhappy rich life.
The other characters are far more interesting only because they've fleshed out their characters. Sadly I was unaware of the history and although I knew it was Season 1 in 2005, I believed there was a Season 2. So, I'd not realized when it's done, it's done. No more.
It should really be presented as a Mini-series.
I won't ruin it for those who haven't seen it, so I'll only say I really liked watching however I thought the last 30-60 minutes could have been done better.
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It's so fun to trip over a Dickens tale I had yet to read or know about.
This one in particular presents us with one of the first Detectives in English...Read more