- 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 1.4 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (429 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,498 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
From the Publisher
This book is in Electronic Paperback Format. If you view this book on any of the computer systems below, it will look like a book. Simple to run, no program to install. Just put the CD in your CDROM drive and start reading. The simple easy to use interface is child tested at pre-school levels.
Windows 3.11, Windows/95, Windows/98, OS/2 and MacIntosh and Linux with Windows Emulation.
Includes Quiet Vision's Dynamic Index. the abilty to build a index for any set of characters or words. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Despite its length, Pickwick never tries your patience. It's delightfully humorous from beginning to end. Samuel Pickwick is the bumbling, middle-aged, wealthy namesake of this novel. He's the leader of a small group of single men that gets into all sorts of mischief, both physical and social. Booze is rampant. Apparently liquor back then was much more a part of daily life than today; everywhere these guys go they party and get drunk. They get into trouble with the law, women, unsavory characters, and more.
Characterization is superb. This is one of the few novels I've read for which I can actually say that I got to know the characters. In most books I've read, the characters remain two-dimensional and the plot is what carries the story. In Pickwick, the *characters* are the essence of the story and the novel wouldn't be memorable at all if a lesser author were attempting to breathe life into these people.
The Penguin edition includes a decent collection of endnotes to help explain unfamiliar portions of the text. Nevertheless, there were still quite a few words and concepts peculiar to early 19th century England that I didn't grasp. This edition also has maps of southern England and a key to the specific locations that the Pickwickians visit. In addition, two appendices reprint some of the announcements and prefaces that Dickens wrote in relation to the work.
Highly recommended, particularly if you enjoy classic literature! Dickens's later works overshadow this gem due to their maturity, but Pickwick beats them all in enthusiasm, humor, and wit.
"The Pickwick Papers" is one of Dickens's earliest works, written when the author was a mere twenty-four years old. You wouldn't know his age by reading the story, though. "Pickwick" is a work that delivers healthy doses of sophisticated humor, keen observations on pressing social issues, romance, and a mature knowledge of human behavior. It's of course fiction, although Dickens presents the story as a true series of events documented by the "Pickwick Club," a social organization founded by retired businessman and all around merry fellow Samuel Pickwick. In the 1820s, Pickwick and several friends embark on a series of journeys through Southern England, a journey that lasts for roughly two years. Ostensibly, the businessman and his fellows take the trips to learn more about their country. Instead, their travels turn into a series of often hilarious events mixed with a few serious scrapes. Pickwick must constantly save individuals from the machinations of one Alfred Jingle, an itinerant scalawag with a penchant for wooing women for their money. In between these adventures, our hero must contend with a lawsuit filed by a former female employee who thought he wanted to marry her, save his friends from numerous imbroglios involving members of the opposite sex, survive a stay in a debtor's prison, and live through a couple hundred other adventures both major and minor.
If I had to list one overarching theme I enjoyed most about "The Pickwick Papers," it's got to be the humor. This book is one of the funniest things I've read in ages. We're talking laugh out loud and laughing later when remembering scenes from the book funny. Much of the humor centers on Pickwick's manservant Sam Weller, a guy prone to uttering some of the most hilarious sayings you'll likely see in any book. Weller's father is even more amusing, and when father and son sit down to write a letter to a lovely young woman who's caught Sam's eye, well, prepare to hold your sides. Also worth a belly laugh or two is the chapter where Pickwick and his friends visit the town of Eatanswill in time to witness the results of a contentious local election. Dickens's observations about party politics and media manipulation are not only highly amusing, but also relevant to our own age. And who can forget the courtroom scenes where the lawyer makes Pickwick, this kindly old gentleman who wouldn't hurt a fly, look like an absolute monster? I could go on and on. If you read this book without cracking up, check your pulse because you're probably dead.
Another element of the book I enjoyed concerns Dickens's ability to write scenes that simply overflow with the joy of living. A lengthy chapter describing Pickwick's stay with some country friends over Christmas serves as an excellent example. The sheer bliss of this part of the book is infectious, as Dickens makes us marvel at the simple delight of spending a few days in the company of good friends, good food, and good entertainment. On the other hand, the author isn't above indulging in an activity he's become famous for, namely showing the reader the depths of human suffering. There is far less misery in "The Pickwick Papers" than there is in "Oliver Twist," to cite one example, but it's still here. The debtor's prison in which Pickwick stays for a time provides the author with a perfect forum for attacking England's tradition of imprisoning those unfortunate souls who cannot pay their creditors. I marvel at how Dickens can balance these two extremes in the space of a single novel. In this way, "The Pickwick Papers" manages to encompass life in both its good and bad aspects.
I read the Penguin Classics edition of "The Pickwick Papers," and I'm glad I did. The supplementary material is copious and helpful more often than not. I didn't care much for the introduction from Robert L. Patten, however, which I thought tried to read too much into the story. I did appreciate the footnotes that help explain the English geography, slang, and popular culture references found throughout the story. Further material provides information on the three illustrators who worked on the story, biographical details of Dickens's life, and even maps tracing Pickwick's myriad travels through the English countryside. Reading "The Pickwick Papers" makes me realize that I've neglected this author's works for far too long. I can't praise this book enough; it's that entertaining and that good. Give it a go as soon as possible!
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.