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About the Author
Considered by many to be the greatest novelist of the English language, Charles John Hummham Dickens was born Februrary 7, 1812, in Portsmouth, England. Some of his most populars works include Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Nicholas Nickleby, A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations.
Considered by many to be the greatest novelist of the English language, Charles John Huffam Dickens was born February 7, 1812, in Portsmouth, England. Some of his most popular works include Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Nicholas Nickleby, A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations.
Date of Birth:February 7, 1812
Date of Death:June 18, 1870
Place of Birth:Portsmouth, England
Place of Death:Gad's Hill, Kent, England
Education:Home-schooling; attended Dame School at Chatham briefly and Wellington
Read an Excerpt
Excerpted from "Great Expectations"
Copyright © 2012 Charles Dickens.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Young Readers Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of ContentsIntroduction Acknowledgements A Note on the Text Charles Dickens: A Brief Chronology
- Volume I
- Volume II
- Volume III
Appendices: Contemporary Documents
Appendix A. The Composition of the Novel
- Dickens’s Working Memoranda
- Dickens’s Letters
Appendix B. Contemporary Responses to the Novel
- Athenaeum (13 July 1861)
- Examiner (20 July 1861)
- Saturday Review (20 July 1861)
- Atlantic Monday (September 1861)
- The Times (17 October 1861)
- British Quarterly Review (January 1862)
- Rambler (January 1862)
- Blackwood’s Magazine (May 1862)
- Temple Bar (September 1862)
Appendix C. On Class and Language
- Charles Dickens, “Hard Experiences in Boyhood” in John Forster, The Life of Charles Dickens (1872-74)
- Charles Dickens, “Travelling Abroad” The Uncommercial Traveller (1861)
- Alexis deTocqueville, The Old Regime and the French Revolution (1856)
- Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, “Gentlemen” Cornhill Magazine (1862)
- William Sewell, “Gentlemanly Manners” Sermons to Boys at Radley School (1854-69)
- John Ruskin, “Of Vulgarity,” Modern Painters (1860)
- J.H. Newman, “Liberal Knowledge Viewed in Relation to Religion,” The Scope and Nature of University Education (1859)
- Thomas Carlyle, “Labour,” Past and Present (1843)
- Samuel Smiles, “Character: The True Gentleman,” Self Help (1859)
- Mrs. Craik, John Halifax, Gentleman (1856)
- Thomas Hughes, Tom Brown’s Schooldays (1857)
- Reports on the State of Popular Education in England (1861)
Appendix D. On Crime & Punishment
- Mrs. Trimmer, The Charity School Spelling Book (1818)
- Charles Dickens, “Criminal Courts,” Sketches by Boz (1839)
- Charles Dickens, “A Visit to Newgate,” Sketches by Boz (1839)
- Report from the Select Committee on Transportation (1838)
- Henry Savery, Quintus Servinton (1830-31)
- Marcus Clarke, His Natural Life (1870-72)
- “The Autobiography of a Convict,” The Voices of Our Exiles (1854)
- John Binny, “Thieves and Swindlers,” in London Labour and the London Poor (1861)
- Thomas Carlyle, Model Prisons (1850)
- Thomas Beard, “A Dialogue Concerning Convicts,” All the Year Round (1861)
- Charles Dickens, “The Ruffian,” The Uncommercial Traveller (1868)
Maps and Illustrations Showing Settings
Map A: Estuaries of the Thames and Medway Map B: City of London Map C: Pip’s London Illustration A. Smithfield Market Illustration B. Barnard’s Inn Illustration C. The River Front at Hammersmith Illustration D. Covent Garden Market Illustration E. The Royal Exchange Illustration F. The Temple Stairs Illustration G. London Bridge Illustration H. Billingsgate Market
What People are Saying About This
"Dickens's figures belong to poetry, like figures of Dante or Shakespeare, in that a single phrase, either by them or about them, may be enough to set them wholely before us." T.S. Eliot
"All his characters are my personal friendsI am constantly comparing them with living persons, and living persons with them." Tolstoy
"Psychologically the latter part of Great Expectations is about the best thing Dickens ever did." George Orwell
Observe how finely the narrative is kept in one key. It begins with a mournful impessionthe foggy marshes spreading drearily by the seaward Thamesand throughout recurs this effect of cold and damp and dreariness; in that kind Dickens never did anything so good.... No story in the first person was ever better told.
Reading Group Guide
Pip, a poor orphan being raised by a cruel sister, does not have much in the way of great expectations between his terrifying experience in a graveyard with a convict named Magwitch and his humiliating visits with the eccentric Miss Havisham's beautiful but manipulative niece, Estella, who torments him until he is elevated to wealth by an anonymous benefactor. Full of unforgettable characters, Great Expectations is a tale of intrigue, unattainable love, and all of the happiness money can't buy. Great Expectations has the most wonderful and most perfectly worked-out plot for a novel in the English language, according to John Irving, and J. Hillis Miller declares, Great Expectations is the most unified and concentrated expression of Dickens's abiding sense of the world, and Pip might be called the archetypal Dickens hero.
From the Trade Paperback edition.