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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.
The humour of the shop and the pilgrimage counterbalance the tragic and sentimental story of Little Nell. The story is rich in Dickensian characters, including Mrs Jarley, Quilp, Dick Swiveller, and the Marchioness. A Disney production of THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP has recently finished shotting in Ireland, starring James Fox, Peter Ustinov, and Tom Courtenay.
With an Introduction and Notes by Peter Preston, University of Nottingham. Illustrations by Hablot K. Browne (Phiz) and George Cruickshank. The Old Curiosity Shop (1840-41), with its combination of the sentimental, the grotesque and the socially concerned, and its story of pursuit and courage, which sets the downtrodden and the plucky against the malevolent and the villainous, was an immediate popular success. Little Nell quickly became one of Dickens' most celebrated characters, who so captured the imagination of his readers that while the novel was being serialised, many of them wrote to him about her fate. Dickens was conscious of the 'many friends' the novel had won for him, and 'the many hearts it turned to me when they were full of private sorrow', and it remains one of the most familiar and well-loved of his works.
Introduction and Notes by Dinny Thorold, University of Westminster. Illustrated by F. Walker and Maurice Greiffenhagen. Unusually for Dickens, Hard Times is set, not in London, but in the imaginary mid-Victorian Northern industrial town of Coketown with its blackened factories, downtrodden workers and polluted environment. This is the soulless domain of the strict utilitarian Thomas Gradgrind and the heartless factory owner Josiah Bounderby. However human joy is not excluded thanks to 'Mr Sleary's Horse-Riding' circus, a gin-soaked and hilarious troupe of open-hearted and affectionate people who act as an antidote to all the drudgery and misery endured by the ordinary citizens of Coketown. Macaulay attacked Hard Times for its 'sullen socialism', but 20th-century critics such as George Bernard Shaw and F.R. Leavis have praised this book in the highest terms, while readers the world over have found inspiration and enjoyment from what is both Dickens' shortest completed novel and also one of his important statements on Victorian society.
Ebenezer Scrooge is a mean and lonely businessman who despises the meaning of Christmas until one Christmas Eve when he is visited by the ghosts of his past, present and future... What are the themes? Relationships, individual vs. society and responsibility. Teaching points Many excellent passages which are good models for students' writing.
The most popular of all ghost stories was first published on 17 December 1843, and by Christmas Eve 6, 000 copies had been sold at a published price of five shillings. The story of Scrooge, a miser who becomes a different man when he is presented with visions of past, present and future by Marley's ghost, was an immediate success and has remainded so ever since. It is a book to read on Christmas Eve beside a blazing fire - and the best introduction to Dickens for young readers not quite ready for his longer novels. Arthur Rackham, master of the fantastic, illustrated the story in 1915.
One of Dicken's great middle period novels, in which fairy tale, melodrama and realism mingle with halluncinatory power, DOMBEY AND SON weaves together a number of stories which centre upon the family of the self-important merchant, Paul Dombey, and his children Paul and Florence. Supplied with the usual extraordinary cast of Dickensian grotesques, both comic and sinister, the novel also boasts a wonderful villain, in the person of Mr Carker, who tries to seduce Florence and meets his death under a train - the first such death in literary history.
With an Introduction and Notes by Dr John Bowen, Department of English, University of Keele. Illustrations by Hablot K. Browne (Phiz). Martin Chuzzlewit is Charles Dickens' comic masterpiece about which his biographer, Forster, noted that it marked a crucial phase in the author's development as he began to delve deeper into the 'springs of character'. Old Martin Chuzzlewit, tormented by the greed and selfishness of his family, effectively drives his grandson, young Martin, to undertake a voyage to America. It is a voyage which will have crucial consequences not only for young Martin, but also for his grandfather and his grandfather's servant, Mary Graham with whom young Martin is in love. The commercial swindle of the Anglo-Bengalee company and the fraudulent Eden Land Corporation have a topicality in our own time. This strong sub-plot shows evidence of Dickens' mastery of crime where characters such as the criminal Jonas Chuzzlewit, the old nurse Mrs Gamp, and the arch-hypocrite Seth Pecksniff are the equal to any in his other great novels. Generations of readers have also delighted in Dickens' wonderful description of the London boarding-house - 'Todgers'.
After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille the aging Dr Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil lanes of London, they are all drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror and soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine.
In his last completed novel, published in 1864-5, Dicens confirmed his reputation as a story-teller of genius while extending the sphere of his imagination to new worlds. Like all Dickens' novels, OUR MUTUAL FRIEND weaves together many stories, uniting them in the bizarre symbolism of the wealth which derives from a rubbish tip. With all the energy of his earlier novels, this one has an extra resonance and depth of shade.
The story of the orphan Oliver, who runs away from the workhouse only to be taken in by a den of thieves, shocked readers when it was first published. Dickens' tale of childhood innocence beset by evil depicts the dark criminal underworld of a London peopled by vivid and memorable characters - the arch-villain Fagin, the artful Dodger, the menacing Bill Sikes and the prostitute Nancy. Combining elements of Gothic Romance, the Newgate Novel and popular melodrama, in Oliver Twist Dickens created an entirely new kind of fiction, scathing in its indictment of a cruel society, and pervaded by an unforgettable sense of threat and mystery.
Coketown is dominated by the figure of Mr Thomas Gradgrind, school headmaster and model of Utilitarian success. Feeding both his pupils and family with facts, he bans fancy and wonder from any young minds. As a consequence, his obedient daughter Louisa marries the loveless businessman and 'bully of humanity' Mr Bounderby, and his son Tom rebels to become embroiled in gambling and robbery. And, as their fortunes cross with those of free-spirited circus girl Sissy Jupe and victimized weaver Stephen Blackpool, Gradgrind is eventually forced to recognize the value of the human heart in an age of materialism and machinery.
This fiercely comic tale stands in marked contrast to its genial predecessor, The Pickwick Papers. Set against London's seedy back street slums, Oliver Twist is the saga of a workhouse orphan captured and thrust into a thieves' den, where some of Dickens's most depraved villains preside: the incorrigible Artful Dodger, the murderous bully Sikes, and the terrible Fagin, that treacherous ringleader whose grinning knavery threatens to send them all to the ghostly gallows. Yet at the heart of this drama is the orphan Oliver, whose unsullied goodness leads him at last to salvation. In 1838 the publication of Oliver Twist firmly established the literary eminence of young Dickens. It was, according to Edgar Johnson, a clarion peal announcing to the world that in Charles Dickens the rejected and forgotten and misused of the world had a champion.
Pip doesn't expect much from life...His sister makes it clear that her orphaned little brother is nothing but a burden on her. But suddenly things begin to change. Pip's narrow existence is blown apart when he finds an escaped criminal, is summoned to visit a mysterious old woman and meets the icy beauty Estella. Most astoundingly of all, an anonymous person gives him money to begin a new life in London. Are these events as random as they seem? Or does Pip's fate hang on a series of coincidences he could never have expected?
With an Introduction and Notes by Doreen Roberts, University of Kent at Canterbury. Illustrations by Hablot K. Browne (Phiz). Bleak House is one of Dickens' finest achievements, establishing his reputation as a serious and mature novelist, as well as a brilliant comic writer. It is at once a complex mystery story that fully engages the reader in the work of detection, and an unforgettable indictment of an indifferent society. Its representations of a great city's underworld, and of the law's corruption and delay, draw upon the author's personal knowledge and experience. But it is his symbolic art that projects these things in a vision that embraces black comedy, cosmic farce, and tragic ruin. In a unique creative experiment, Dickens divides the narrative between his heroine, Esther Summerson, who is psychologically interesting in her own right, and an unnamed narrator whose perspective both complements and challenges hers.
Ebenezer Scrooge is a miserly old skinflint. He hates everyone, especially children. But at Christmas three ghosts come to visit him, scare him into mending his ways, and he finds, as he celebrates with Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim and their family, that geniality brings its own reward. This finest of all Christmas stories is beautifully illustrated with Arthur Rackham's superb line drawings.
Dicken's third novel, published in 1839, is a brilliant and vivid melodrama of honest youth triumphing over vice and injustice. Bursting with energy and populated by a whole world of inimitable and memorable characters - including especially the theatrical troupe with whom Nicholas performs - the book is both a griping story and a series of magnificent scenes. It is also indignant protest against cruelty and oppression, most memorably encapsulated in Dickens's powerful portrayal of Mr Squeers and his wicked boarding school - a passage which was to be instrumental in helping to reform the Victorian education system. The novel has been adapted for television stage and screen.
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