The Pickwick Papers

The Pickwick Papers Cover

The Pickwick Papers

By Charles Dickens; Peter Washington (Introduction by)

Everyman's Library, Hardcover, 9780375405488, 976pp.

Publication Date: March 2, 1999

Description

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)



About the Author
Charles Dickens was born in a little house in Landport, Portsea, England, on February 7, 1812. The second of eight children, he grew up in a family frequently beset by financial insecurity. At age eleven, Dickens was taken out of school and sent to work in London backing warehouse, where his job was to paste labels on bottles for six shillings a week. His father John Dickens, was a warmhearted but improvident man. When he was condemned the Marshela Prison for unpaid debts, he unwisely agreed that Charles should stay in lodgings and continue working while the rest of the family joined him in jail. This three-month separation caused Charles much pain; his experiences as a child alone in a huge city cold, isolated with barely enough to eat haunted him for the rest of his life.

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."


Praise For The Pickwick Papers

“No essay in fiction ever gave more incontestable assurance of genius. . . . Never, perhaps, was satire so large-hearted and so entertaining.”—George Gissing