- Series: Ignatius Critical Editions
- Paperback: 704 pages
- Publisher: Ignatius Press (August 1, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1586174266
- ISBN-13: 978-1586174262
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 2 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 14,052 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,193 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Great Expectations (Ignatius Critical Editions) Paperback – August 1, 2010
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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of excerpts from critical essays (usually several decades old) which are sometimes interesting, but almost always superseded by more recent scholarship.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).
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.
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.
I enjoyed the romance and affection given in subtle ways by three suitors; three of them unsuccessful. All weighed in and were even willing to give life and wealth to save their adored.