Great Expectations

Great Expectations Cover

Great Expectations

By Charles Dickens; Michael Slater (Introduction by)

Everyman's Library, Hardcover, 9780679405795, 544pp.

Publication Date: March 10, 1992

Description

One of Charles Dickens's most fascinating novels, Great Expectations follows the orphan Pip as he leaves behind a childhood of misery and poverty after an anonymous benefactor offers him a chance at the life of a gentleman.
From the young Pip's first terrifying encounter with the convict Magwitch in the gloom of a graveyard to the splendidly morbid set pieces in Miss Havisham's mansion to the magnificently realized boat chase down the Thames, Great Expectations is filled with the transcendent excitement that Dickens could so abundantly provide.
Written in 1860, at the height of his maturity, it also reveals the novelist's bittersweet understanding of the extent to which our deepest moral dilemmas are born of our own obsessions and illusions.
This edition includes Dickens's original, discarded conclusion to the novel, the 1907 Everyman preface by G. K. Chesterton, and twenty illustrations by F. W. Pailthorpe.
(Book Jacket Status: 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. WithPickwick 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) andThe 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) andLittle Dorrit(1855-7)reveal his deepening concern for the injustices of British Society.A Tale of Two Cities(1859), Great Expectations(1860-1) andOur 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 Great Expectations

Great Expectations may be called a novel without a hero . . . In [it] Dickens was really trying to be a quiet, a detached, and even a cynical observer of human life . . . And the final and startling triumph of Dickens is this: that even to this moderate and modern story he gives an incomparable energy which is not moderate and which is not modern. He is trying to be reasonable; but in spite of himself he is inspired.” –G. K. Chesterton

Great Expectations [is] generally regarded as Dickens’s artistic masterpiece, and a novel profoundly serious in its psychological and sociological import . . . Dickens tell[s] a universal story of human passions, mutual exploitation, selfishness, self-delusion, and selflessness . . . [It] is the subtlest and most profound, as well as the most triumphantly achieved, of all his great novels.” –From the Introduction by Michael Slater

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