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Martin Chuzzlewit (1844)

by Charles Dickens

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,386362,688 (3.8)1 / 196
This edition of one of Dickens's earlier novels is based on the accurate Clarendon edition of the text and includes the prefaces to the 1850 and 1867 editions and Dickens's Number Plans.

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Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
The first chapter was so dense and indecipherable I was in half a mind to give it up. Glad I didn't. This is one of Dicken's funniest books, with humor pouring out of sentences. It has its usual cast of saintly and villainy characters. Tom Pinch would have been unbelievable if he doesn't know how to stand up for himself. Pecksniff is not Dicken's most villainy character though he must have been the most pretentious. I eagerly waited for him to be exposed; there was certainly a dramatic scene where he was exposed by old Chuzzlewit. But it wasn't that satisfying; Dickens didn't really describe his humiliated state. He chose to inflict it on his daughter, Charity. As is Dicken's style, she was ironically named. She certainly didn't show charity to her sister Mercy. She got her just desserts when her fiance deserted her on her wedding day, in front of all her relatives whom she disliked but invited to boast of her happiness. The unlikely relationship between old Chuzzlewit and Mercy was rather touching; he gave her refuge and showed her concern when she was at her most downcast. The theme of this book is very clear - self and how it causes greed and bring about the most undesirable behavior in people. But total selflessness is also absurd, as shown by Mark Tapley, although he is one of the most likable characters in the book. ( )
  siok | Sep 5, 2020 |
Holy cow, this took a while to get through. I must remember that Dickens is best read all at once; there's a certain momentum that needs to build, especially since he adds in so much detail that is easily forgotten. I blew through Nicholas Nickleby in two weeks and was expecting the same here, but this took much longer.

Now that I'm done (and read the last 300 pages relatively quickly), I really liked it. The final events are satisfying and develop quickly, while the middle section (especially in America) dragged. The entire Pecksniff arc was my favorite. ( )
  beautifulshell | Aug 27, 2020 |
Dickens' particular combination of cynicism and sentimentality is downright revolting.
  cstebbins | Jul 12, 2020 |
What a total, meandering mess of a book. ( )
  vernaye | May 23, 2020 |
Martin Chuzzlewit feels like the beginning of Dickens' second act. While all of his previous books had strengths (and I probably still viscerally prefer Nicholas Nickleby), this, his 9th major work and 6th novel, was written after the celebrity Dickens' return from America, and marks the start of a busier lifestyle for the author, which included social engagements, speaking tours, and community responsibilities, not to mention a growing household. My suspicion is that he started devoting more time to the nuances of his writing - not the descriptions, which have always been first-rate, but the character arcs. The vivid characters of Pecksniff and Mrs. Gamp have a comic life of their own, while the analysis of human folly among the Chuzzlewit family is a deeper, more internal attempt at storytelling which Dickens would return to in his next novel, Dombey and Son. For the first time, Dickens hasn't felt the need to make his central character a paper-thin but sentimental naif (not that young Martin is exactly the most scintillating of figures).

We'll dock a couple of points for the American sequences, which have a reasonable level of thematic resonance but are clearly filler, but this is a new, more "novelistic" side of Dickens that can't be ignored. I certainly think more people should be reading Martin Chuzzlewit when they feel like a taste of Dickens. ( )
  therebelprince | Apr 27, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (48 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charles Dickensprimary authorall editionscalculated
Barrett, SeanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Browne, Hablot KnightIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Furbank, P.N.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Houghton, Arthur BoydCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ingham, PatriciaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ingham, PatriciaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mathias, RobertCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Russell, GeoffreyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wall, StephenChronologysecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
To Miss Burdett Coutts this tale is dedicated, with the true and earnest regard of the author
First words
As no lady or gentleman, with any claims to polite breeding, can possibly sympathise with the Chuzzlewit Family without being first assured of the extreme antiquity of the race, it is a great satisfaction to know that it undoubtedly descended in a direct line from Adam and Eve; and was, in the very earliest times, closely connected with the agricultural interest.
Quotations
"You have heard of him whose misery (the gratification of his own foolish wish) was, that he turned every thing he touched into gold. The curse of my existence, and the realization of my own mad desire, is that by the golden standard which I bear about me, I am doomed to try the metal of all other men, and find it false and hollow."
But it's no use to despond. I can but do that, when I have tried everything and failed; and even then it won't serve me much.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This work is Martin Chuzzlewit as a unified work (and with no additional stories). Please do not combine with compilations or with individual volumes of Martin Chuzzlewit. Thank you.
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This edition of one of Dickens's earlier novels is based on the accurate Clarendon edition of the text and includes the prefaces to the 1850 and 1867 editions and Dickens's Number Plans.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140436146, 0141198907

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