- Series: Wordsworth Classics
- Paperback: 784 pages
- Publisher: Wordsworth Editions (May 5, 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781853260520
- ISBN-13: 978-1853260520
- ASIN: 1853260525
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.5 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 483 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #301,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Pickwick Papers (Wordsworth Classics) Paperback – May 5, 1992
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From the Back Cover
Samuel Pickwick, his well-fed body and unsinkable good spirits clad in tights and gaiters, sallies forth through the noisy streets of London and into the colorful country inns of rural England for a picaresque series of sparkling encounters with love and misadventure.
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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.
Based on the five books I've read so far, it appears that Dickens' stories are all pretty much the same. There's always orphans, much benighted, but stout hearted, moral and persistent. There's usually some kind of deformed villain, a ne'er-do-well sponger, a kindly old gentleman or two, an eccentric spinster, and likely a few other character types. Oh yeah, many, but not all, lawyers are conniving and grasping.
Anyway, The Old Curiosity Shop has all this in spades. It's the story of Little Nell and her grandfather, more-or-less. Also the story of Kit. There's lots of pathos, but, what's rather fun, lots of Dickens' wry humorous portrayal of the frailties of humanity. Dickens blathers incessantly, but it's such entertaining blather that one can never tire of it. I wonder why it took me so many decades to discover Dickens?