The Pickwick Papers
The Pickwick Papers
Everyman's Library, Hardcover, 9780375405488, 976pp.
Publication Date: March 2, 1999
In this classic social commentary from Dickens, Mr. Samuel Pickwick, retired business man and confirmed bachelor, is determined that after a quiet life of enterprise the time has come to go out into the world. Together with the other members of the Pickwick Club: Tracy Tupman, Augustus Snodgrass and Nathaniel Winkle, the portly innocent embarks on a series of hilariously comic adventures. But can Pickwick retain his good will towards his fellow humans once he discovers the evils of the world?
Charles Dickens's satirical masterpiece, The Pickwick Papers, catapulted the young writer into literary fame when it was first serialized in 1836-37. It recounts the rollicking adventures of the members of the Pickwick Club as they travel about England getting into all sorts of mischief.
Laugh-out-loud funny and endlessly entertaining, the book also reveals Dickens's burgeoning interest in the parliamentary system, lawyers, the Poor Laws, and the ills of debtors' prisons.
As G. K. Chesterton noted, "Before Dickens] wrote a single real story, he had a kind of vision . . . a map full of fantastic towns, thundering coaches, clamorous market-places, uproarious inns, strange and swaggering figures. That vision was Pickwick."
(Book Jacket Status: Not Jacketed)
When the family fortunes improved, Charles went back to school, after which he became an office boy, a freelance reporter and finally an author. With"Pickwick Papers"(1836-7) he achieved immediate fame; in a few years he was easily the post popular and respected writer of his time. It has been estimated that one out of every ten persons in Victorian England was a Dickens reader."Oliver Twist"(1837), "Nicholas Nickleby"(1838-9) and"The Old Curiosity Shop"(1840-41) were huge successes."Martin Chuzzlewit"(1843-4) was less so, but Dickens followed it with his unforgettable, "A Christmas Carol"(1843), "Bleak House"(1852-3), "Hard Times"(1854) and"Little Dorrit"(1855-7)""reveal his deepening concern for the injustices of British Society."A Tale of Two Cities"(1859), "Great Expectations"(1860-1) and"Our Mutual Friend"(1864-5) complete his major works.
Dickens's marriage to Catherine Hoggarth produced ten children but ended in separation in 1858. In that year he began a series of exhausting public readings; his health gradually declined. After putting in a full day's work at his home at Gads Hill, Kent on June 8, 1870, Dickens suffered a stroke, and he died the following day."
“No essay in fiction ever gave more incontestable assurance of genius. . . . Never, perhaps, was satire so large-hearted and so entertaining.”—George Gissing