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Great Expectations (A Penguin Classics Hardcover) Hardcover – October 27, 2009
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Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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Was there ever a novelist who created more memorable characters than Dickens? Here, we meet perhaps his most intriguing - Miss Havisham. For anyone unfamiliar with the story, I will not spoil it by describing her. The story is similar to parable about the prodigal son - good Pip inexplicably comes into some money and goes off to the corrupting city.
AN IMPORTANT THING TO NOTE: Dickens wrote two ending for this book. His friends thought that the original ending was too downbeat and they asked him to come up with a different one. It is the upbeat ending that is the official ending of the novel. However, most critics agree that the original unpublished ending is better. Most modern editions feature the unpublished ending in an appendix. MAKE SURE YOU BUY A COPY THAT CONTAINS THE ORIGINAL ENDING!
After writing A Tale of Two Cities, which was unique among his novels in that it had none of his trademark humor, Dickens set out to make Great Expectations rich in comic elements. This despite, or perhaps because of, being in a depressed state of mind himself at the time. The conventional critical view is that he largely failed in this attempt, but I strongly disagree. The book is hilariously funny in parts and the main character, Pip, exhibits a characteristically British humour-in-adversity throughout his adventures. There is also the host of minor comic characters that we expect from Dickens. And he for once manages pathos without spilling over into bathos, so there are tears as well as laughter here, sometimes both at once.
If you have not yet read any Dickens, this is not a bad book with which to start, although for younger readers (teens) I would recommend Hard Times or A Tale of Two Cities as their first. Great Expectations demands a mature sensibility to appreciate its symbolism and psychological depth. Perhaps because it chiefly concerns the childhood and youth of the protagonist, it is often given to young people to read and is a set text in some High School classes. This is a pity because, in its dark complexity, it is more likely to turn youngsters off, rather than onto, Dickens.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Is Charles Dickens one of the greatest novelists in the English language? That is probably not even debatable. Is Great Expectations one of his great novels? Read morePublished 14 hours ago by Paul Mastin
This was one of my favorite Reading/Language Arts book selections from my time in high school back in the 70s. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Nancy Sheaffer
An enduring classic; well written, as expected of a Dickens' novel. I liked the story but felt the ending was a little rushed; I would have liked to see it rounded out a bit more... Read morePublished 2 days ago by LilleyB29
This is one of my all time favorite novels, and I think that it is Dickens' best writing. You'll fall in love with the characters, and they all feel dynamic and real. Read morePublished 7 days ago by MaximumSmoove
This was a good book. It did have a complicated plot and the old English was hard to understand. Maybe someone should make a more current version of the book. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Harry L. Criswell Jr.