- Series: Penguin Classics
- Paperback: 848 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reissue edition (August 1, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140436111
- ISBN-13: 978-0140436112
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.5 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 480 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,201 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Pickwick Papers (Penguin Classics) Paperback – August 1, 2000
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“No essay in fiction ever gave more incontestable assurance of genius. . . . Never, perhaps, was satire so large-hearted and so entertaining.”—George Gissing
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.
Mark Wormald is a Fellow and College Lecturer in English at Pembroke College, Cambridge.
Top customer reviews
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I had attempted reading the novel decades ago, but tackled it again. The first few chapters are a mosh of characters being dumped out of a sack with the inclusion of a narrator, hitch we never hear from again. After that, there is a flow of sorts.
The story does have a plot line running through it, but it is also like a news digest. There are bits and pieces that are well worth following for their own sake.
...and of course Dickens' delicious prose is enjoyable. His description of a man at a military review chasing his hat that has been blown off by the wind. The obligatory ghost story where the young man says (shakily) to the ghost "You know, I don't understand why you ghosts persist in staying where you were so miserable! Why not go somewhere pleasant?" And the ghost saying "I never thought of that! I am much obliged!" and vanishing, with the young man calling after it, "You would make us all very grateful if you would spread the word."
It also contains, toward the end, one of the most moving tales of retribution, mercy and kindness, with a speech by Mr. Pickwick's barrister on the subject of mercy.
A fun, touching, sometimes uproarious book.
This book was the first Dickens and originally published in monthly installments. The chapters are loosely tied together through the characters of the book but most stand alone. We have stories of Goblin's, shyster lawyers, drinking in vast quantities, short stories within chapters, a stay in a Debtors Prison and vast amounts of humanity.
The episodes where Pickwick prefers a Debtors Prison to paying a disgraceful Court decision are sobering. It's staggering that people were just left to die in prison because of civil debt.
Generally, however humour is the driver and this book is very funny. I imagine P G Wodehouse must have had a great working knowledge of this book because his Bertie & Jeeves tales are Pickwick taken to the nth degree.
I can say honestly that not once in 700 pages did my interest flag; reading from beginning to end was a wonderful experience.