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Charles Dickens was born in Landport, Hampshire, during the new industrial age, which gave birth to theories of Karl Marx. Dickens's father was a clerk in the navy pay office. He was well paid but often ended in financial troubles. In 1814 Dickens moved to London, and then to Chatham, where he received some education. The schoolmaster William Giles gave special attention to Dickens, who made rapid progress. In 1824, at the age of 12, Dickens was sent to work for some months at a blacking factory, Hungerford Market, London, while his father John was in Marshalea debtor's prison. "My father and mother were quite satisfied," Dickens later recalled bitterly. "They could hardly have been more so, if I had been twenty years of age, distinguished at a grammar-school, and going to Cambridge." Later this period found its way to the novel LITTLE DORRITT (1855-57). John Dickens paid his £40 debt with the money he inherited from his mother; she died at the age of seventy-nine when he was still in prison.
Following the phenomenal popularity of Sketches by Boz and The Pickwick Papers, Dickens produced two short volumes of Sketches of Young Gentlemen and Young Couples, in response to the appearance of Sketches of Young Ladies by 'Quiz'. Each volume purports to dissect the characteristics of familiar types such as 'The Bashful Young Gentleman', 'The Literary Young Lady', and 'The Couple who Coddle themselves'. Whimsical, satirical, witty and exuberant, the sketches ridicule the behaviour of their subjects with perfect comic effect, rendering Mr Whiffler, Mrs Chopper and their companions instantly recognizable. They offer intriguing glimpses of courtship rituals and relations between the sexes at the outset of the Victorian era, and fascinating evidence of a writer learning his craft and refining his style. This edition includes the original illustrations by Phiz, and an introduction that examines the appeal of the sketch, a literary genre in which Dickens excelled throughout his career.
This edition of The Christmas Carol is one of a range of marvellous comic books created in the '50s and '60s now with artwork re-coloured and covers digitally enhanced for a new generation. Perfect bound at a terrifically good value price. A message from the publisher: We're delighted to re-introduce these marvellous comic books to new generations of readers who will surely enjoy them as fantastic tales of adventure and excitement but will also improve their reading skills as a result and be inspired to read the complete versions of many of these fine works. I sincerely hope that you enjoy these superb adaptations and are similarly inspired as I was, nearly 50 years ago - Jeff Brooks, CEO, Classic Comic Store Ltd
The twists (excuse the pun) and turns of Oliver's life make this a totally engrossing read. The book includes some of the most memorable characters from literature, grotesque and fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable. January 2010 Guest Editor Diana Gabaldon on CHARLES DICKENS Nobody does characters like Dickens did, and that's why his books endure. He told excellent stories and painted a vivid portrait of Victorian society, but that society consists of people who live, breathe, and speak on the page. I learned from him the art of evoking a character: naming and describing people in such vivid detail as to make them live.
History is boring? Well think again. This piece of history and literature by Charles Dickens provides a fast-paced, relevant, exciting history with witty observations and compelling narrative, which will capture a child’s (and parents) imagination. It’s an absolutely fascinating treasure trove to delve in to. This spectacular new edition has been carefully edited and lightly abridged to ensure that children in the 21st century will gain as much and more from it than those who read it 150 years before.
David Copperfield runs away from home to stay with his Aunt Betsey and turn his life around, which he does, while facing many challenges along the way. In this Compact Edition cuts have been made to overlong passages of description and dialogue and some scenes or incidents with minor characters have been reduced but all the memorable eccentrics have been kept.
August 2014 Guest Editor Gerald Seymour on A Tale of Two Cities... The most important book to me, the greatest influence on my own writing, has to be ‘Tale of Two Cities’. It is a classic novel and also a superb thriller, and it produces the most compelling hero of British literature, Sidney Carton. I am a huge fan of the atmospheric writing that describes the hard, mean streets of Paris at the time of the Revolution, the power and brutality of the mob when passions are let loose, but above all is the Carton character: he is the failed, booze ridden advocate who can dominate a massive court room scene when a life is on the line, win when it matters. The lines at the end of the story as he gives his own life to protect the husband of the woman he has put on a personal pedestal are incredibly moving, and his gentleness with the young girl who will go before him up the steps to the guillotine. Wonderful, and an inspiration. September 2013 Guest Editor Daisy Waugh on A Tale of Two Cities... A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens – is the Emperor of historical fiction, after all. I remember weeping like a baby at the end of it… And boring everyone silly (as if I were making a new discovery) about what an earth shatteringly brilliant novel it was... A 2012 World Book Night selection. This text is a revised edition of Dickens' classic tale.
One of Sir Trevor McDonald's favourite books. This definitive edition uses the text from the first published edition of 1861. It includes a map of Kent in the early nineteenth century, and appendices on Dickens’s original ending and his working notes, giving readers an illuminating glimpse into the mind of a great novelist at work.
'When Dickens has described something you see it for the rest of your life' George Orwell In 1844, Charles Dickens took a break from novel writing to travel through Italy for almost a year, and Pictures from Italy is an illuminating account of his experiences there. He presents the country like a magic-lantern show, as vivid images ceaselessly appear before his - and his readers' - eyes. Italy's most famous sights are all to be found here - St Peter's in Rome, Naples with Vesuvius smouldering in the background, the fairytale buildings and canals of Venice - but Dickens's chronicle is not simply that of a tourist. Combining compelling travelogue with piercing social commentary, he portrays a nation of great contrasts: between grandiose buildings and squalid poverty, ancient monuments and everyday life, past and present. Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Kate Flint
Cast out by his cruel stepfather to the brutal boarding school Salem House, young David Copperfield quickly learns that he must fight for a better life. After discovering his mother has died while he has been away, David is left all alone in the world and is sent to work in his stepfather's factory. He decides his only option is to run away. He escapes London and finds his way to Dover. Once there he hopes to be taken in by his only known relative, his eccentric Aunt Betsy Trotwood. But will he ever be able to find the love and security he needs?
The Old Curiosity Shop was expanded from a short tale to save Dickens's failing periodical Master Humphrey's Clock (1840-1); it is the first of his novels of which the complete manuscript, many corrected proofs, and some working notes survive. This makes it uniquely interesting to both the textual critic and general reader. Forster's Life of Dickens played down the novelist's dependence on his friend's help, but the proofs reveal at first hand the nature of Forster's assistance as well as Dickens's own practice. In conjunction with the manuscript, which contains two previously unprinted notes to his publisher, they show Dickens dealing with the unexpected demands of weekly serialization of an unplanned, full-length novel. This is most obvious as he approaches the death of Little Nell, in whose fate both he and his readers became emotionally involved. This is the first edition to benefit from the recent revelation of material which Dickens had himself obscured or discarded on manuscript versos, and the first to scrutinize the importance and impact of the wood engravings dropped into the text.
This ninth volume presents about 1,100 letters, many unpublished, from the years 1859 to 1861. It records Dickens's writing of two major novels, A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations, both published weekly in All the Year Round: the letters give an unusual insight into the inspiration for both. It also shows him planning planning and writing a substantial amount of the three Christmas numbers of this period, `A Haunted House', `A Message from the Sea', and `Tom Tiddler's Ground'. He expends great energy in establishing All the Year Round, to succeed Household Words, and during 1860 writes the first fourteen of his Uncommercial Traveller series. During these three years he gives two provincial tours of readings, in addition to readings in London. He spends a considerable part of his time at Gad's Hill, relying on his daughter Mamie and sister-in-law Georgina Hogarth to act as hostesses; the All the Year Round office becomes his London base. Ellen Ternan continues to act, though with diminishing success; in January 1859 Dickens almost certainly buys a long lease of 2 Houghton Place, Ampthill Square, for the Ternan family.
A testament to the energy and creativity of a writer and journalist without equal, Charles Dickens's Selected Journalism 1850-1870 is edited with an introduction and notes by David Pascoe in Penguin Classics. Throughout his writing career Charles Dickens was a hugely prolific journalist. This volume of his later work is selected from pieces that he wrote after he founded the journal Household Words in 1850, up until his death in 1870. Here subjects as varied as his nocturnal walks around London slums, prisons, theatres and Inns of Court, journeys to the continent and his childhood in Kent and London are captured in remarkable pieces such as 'Night Walks', 'On Strike', 'New Year's Day' and 'Lying Awake'. Aiming to catch the imagination of a public besieged by hack journalism, these writings are an extraordinary blend of public and private, news and recollection, reality and fantastic description. David Pascoe's introduction traces the development of Dickens's career as a journalist and examines his fusion of real events with flights of fancy. This edition also includes explanatory notes, a bibliography and a Dickens chronology. Charles Dickens is one of the best-loved novelists in the English language, whose 200th anniversary was celebrated in 2012. His most famous books, including Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield and The Pickwick Papers, have been adapted for stage and screen and read by millions. If you enjoyed Selected Journalism 1850 - 1870, you might like Dickens's Sketches by Boz, also available in Penguin Classics.
One of the BBC's '100 Novels That Shaped Our World' 'The great poet of the city. He was created by London' Peter Ackroyd Our Mutual Friend centres on an inheritance - Old Harmon's profitable dust heaps - and its legatees: young John Harmon, presumed drowned when a body is pulled out of the Thames, and kindly dustman Mr Boffin, to whom the fortune defaults. With brilliant satire, Dickens portrays a dark, macabre London, inhabited by such disparate characters as Gaffer Hexam, scavenging the river for corpses; enchanting, mercenary Bella Wilfer; the social-climbing Veneerings; and the unscrupulous street-trader Silas Wegg. Dickens's last completed novel is richly symbolic in its vision of death and renewal in a city dominated by the fetid Thames, and of the corrupting power of money. Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Adrian Poole
With an Introduction and Notes by Peter Preston, University of Nottingham. Illustrations by S.L. Fildes and Hablot K. Browne (Phiz). Dickens's final novel, left unfinished at his death, is a tale of mystery whose fast-paced action takes place in an ancient cathedral city and in some of the darkest places in nineteenth-century London. Drugs, sexual obsession, colonial adventuring and puzzles about identity are among the novel's themes. At the centre of the plot lie the baffling disappearance of Edwin Drood and the many explanations of his whereabouts. A sombre and menacing atmosphere, a fascinating range of characters and Dickens's usual superb command of language combine to make this an exciting and tantalising story. Also included in this volume are a number of unjustly neglected stories and sketches, with subjects as different as murder and guilt and childhood romance. This unusual selection illustrates Dickens's immense creativity and versatility.
Interest in supernatural phenomena was high during Charles Dickens' lifetime. He had always loved a good ghost story himself, particularly at Christmas time, and was open-minded, willing to accept, and indeed put to the test, the existence of spirits. His natural inclinations toward drama and the macabre made him a brilliant teller of ghost tales, and in the twenty stories presented here, which include his celebrated A Christmas Carol, the full range of his gothic talents can be seen. Chilling as some of these stories are, Dickens has managed to inject characteristically grotesque comedy as he writes of revenge, insanity, pre-cognition and dream visions, he indulges also in some debunking of contemporary credulity.
An anthology of writing by Dickens which is one of a series offering classic and contemporary fiction for schools to suit a range of ages and tastes.
Despite the title, Dickens's portrayal of early industrial society here is less relentlessly grim than that in novels by contemporaries such as Elizabeth Gaskell or Charles Kingsley. Hard Times weaves the tale of Thomas Gradgrind, a hard-headed politician who raises his children Louisa and Tom without love, of Sissy the circus girl with love to spare who is deserted and adopted into their family, and of the honest mill worker Stephen Blackpool and the bombastic mill owner Josiah Bounderby. The key contrasts created are finally less those between wealth and poverty, or capitalists and workers, than those between the head and the heart, between Fact -the cold, rationalistic approach to life that Dickens associates with utilitarianism-and Fancy -a warmth of the imagination and of the feelings, which values individuals above ideas. Concentrated and compressed in its narrative form, Hard Times is at once a fable, a novel of ideas, and a social novel that seeks to engage directly and analytically with political issues. The central conflicts raised in the text, between government's duty not to intervene to guarantee the liberty of the subject, and between quantitative and qualitative assessments of progress, remain unresolved today in the late or post industrial stages of liberal democracies.
With an Introduction and Notes by Deborah Wynne, Chester College. Illustrated by Marcus Stone. Our Mutual Friend, Dickens' last complete novel, gives one of his most comprehensive and penetrating accounts of Victorian society. Its vision of a culture stifled by materialistic values emerges not just through its central narratives, but through its apparently incidental characters and scenes. The chief of its several plots centres on John Harmon who returns to England as his father's heir. He is believed drowned under suspicious circumstances - a situation convenient to his wish for anonymity until he can evaluate Bella Wilfer whom he must marry to secure his inheritance. The story is filled with colourful characters and incidents - the faded aristocrats and parvenus gathered at the Veneering's dinner table, Betty Higden and her terror of the workhouse and the greedy plottings of Silas Wegg.
With an Introduction and Notes by Peter Preston, University of Nottingham. With Illustrations by Hablot K. Browne (Phiz). Little Dorrit is a classic tale of imprisonment, both literal and metaphorical, while Dickens' working title for the novel, Nobody's Fault, highlights its concern with personal responsibility in private and public life. Dickens' childhood experiences inform the vivid scenes in Marshalsea debtor's prison, while his adult perceptions of governmental failures shape his satirical picture of the Circumlocution Office. The novel's range of characters - the honest, the crooked, the selfish and the self-denying - offers a portrait of society about whose values Dickens had profound doubts. Little Dorrit is indisputably one of Dickens' finest works, written at the height of his powers. George Bernard Shaw called it `a masterpiece among masterpices', a vedict shared by the novel's many admirers.
This eighth volume presents about 1,500 letters many of them unpublished, from the years 1856 to 1858. This period includes several major changes in Dickens's public and private life, notably in 1858 when he separates from his wife and starts a new career of paid readings from his works. But throughout 1856 and part of 1857, his main preoccupation is the writing of his monthly serial Little Dorrit; for much of 1856 he continues to reside happily in France with his family, both in Boulogne and Paris, giving racy accounts of its theatres and his meetings with writers and artists. At his own amateur theatricals in 1857, his great success in Wilkie Collins's The Frozen Deep has lasting consequences; at the close of his work for the Douglas Jerrold Fund, the play is repeated with professional actresses, including three members of the Ternan family. Later rumours of his relations with a young actress (Ellen Ternan) provoke him to an ill-advised public statement which leads to a breach with his publishers and with one of his closest friends, Mark lemon. Finally, he embarks on the first of many strenuous reading tours, giving 85 readings in over 40 towns, all within three months. His usual activities are not neglected: he makes many speeches for good causes, and continues to edit Household Words (and its successor All the Year Round), with help from his friend and assistant editor Wills. Throughout, there is new material, both in the letters and in the editors' annotation, with some fresh interpretation of controversial matters.
'Sets out the London of the 1830s before you, streets, people, pleasures, low life, prisons' Claire Tomalin Charles Dickens's first published book, Sketches by Boz is a funny and touching collection of observation, fancy and fiction showing the London he knew in all its complexity - its streets, theatres, inns, pawnshops, law courts, prisons and, of course, the river Thames. His descriptions of everyday life and people seem to anticipate characters from his great novels - garrulous matrons, vulgar young clerks, Scrooge-like bachelors - while his powers of social critique shine in his unflinching depictions of the city's forgotten citizens, from child workers to prostitutes. This edition includes the original illustrations by George Cruikshank. Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Dennis Walder
With illustrations by Edward Landseer, Daniel Maclise, Clarkson Stanfield, Frank Stone, Richard Doyle, John Leech and John Tenniel, and with a new Introduction by Cedric Watts, Research Professor of English, University of Sussex. In these five long stories, written specifically for Christmas, Dickens combines his concern for social ills with the myths and memories of childhood and traditional seasonal lore. A Christmas Carol, the first of the selection, has become a touchstone of English festive fiction and an enduring favourite internationally. Repeatedly adapted, parodied, staged and filmed, this richly influential tale is powerfully vivid and moving. The other stories, The Chimes, The Cricket on the Hearth, The Battle of Life and The Haunted Man, blend whimsy, sentiment, comedy, satire, the didactic and the fantastic, developing resourcefully the theme of individual and social regeneration.
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