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Dombey and Son (1848)

by Charles Dickens

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,154382,920 (3.99)185
Mr. Dombey is a successful businessman who looks forward to the day when his young son Paul will be old enough to join the family business. But Dombey also has a loving daughter, Florence, whom he ignores, lavishing all his attention on his precious son. Set in the 1840s, against a background of Britain's emerging industrial power, the world of commerce and the developing railway, Dickens tells a moving story of a dysfunctional family and society.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
A very high three stars. This book has some very funny passages, and a lot of emotion. It's not one of the greatest Dickens works, and it definitely loses some of the drive after the major tragedy one-third of the way into the book, however it is still very interesting, full of fascinating themes and characters. The 14th of Dickens' major works, and the seventh of his novels, Dombey and Son sits very comfortably in the second act of Dickens' life, in which his social and communal responsibilities slightly lowered his novel-writing output, and his desire for integrated works of character growth and investigation - begun with Martin Chuzzlewit - is in full swing.

Perhaps it's because the first third, with the aching characters of Paul and Flora, and young Paul, is so strong and unified, that the gradual splintering of the plot leads one to feel a little bit underwhelmed as things move toward a climax. The climax itself, being in many ways an emotional rather than narrative one, is also unlike anything Dickens had previously entertained. It's really rather powerful at times. As I said, this is a high three-stars, but it definitely just creeps into my Dickens Top Ten. ( )
  therebelprince | Apr 27, 2020 |
VG condition ( )
  ME_Dictionary | Mar 20, 2020 |
I'm actually surprised that this one isn't covered more in schools, except for the length. Which is extreme, even for a Dickens novel. It is an interesting story and somewhat complex. I have to say that the character of Edith was more interesting to me than most of the other Dombeys, but she seemed less like a caricature than many of Dickens's characters. All that rage is certainly something.

Anyway. Lovely read. ( )
  slmr4242 | Oct 16, 2019 |
Definitely not Dickens at his best. I would not recommend, even to those who typically enjoy his oeuvre of work. Yuck. ( )
  DanielSTJ | May 5, 2019 |
With the completion of this novel, I have now read every Dickens novel at least once in my lifetime. I have to say this is not one I am likely to read ever again, certainly not in a hurry. I found it difficult to be get absorbed in, in part as there is no strong central character with whom I as a reader can empathise: Paul Dombey senior is a cold and callous father, obsessed with the future of his business and dynasty, and cruelly neglectful of his daughter Florence, especially after the death of his sickly son Paul junior aged six. These offspring are archetypal Dickens child characters: the death of Paul is like a male version of the death of Little Nell in Old Curiosity Shop, while Florence, the leading female character, is a bland and beautiful cipher, arousing sympathy only due to the plight of her near orphan status, abandoned by her father and her mother having died at Paul junior's birth. Edith Skewton, Dombey's second wife is slightly more interesting and tragic in a different way, having been effectively "bought" by her husband as a trophy wife. As often, some of the lesser characters are more interesting and colourful, such as Mr Toots, Susan Nipper, Old Mrs Brown, and Captain Cuttle. Dickens's usual portrayals of abject poverty are rarer in this novel, mostly through the tragic figure of Alice, Good Mrs Brown's betrayed daughter. There is a much redemption and a lot of marriages in the last few chapters. As a curiosity, this novel also gives an interesting description of the coming of the railways in the 1830s, depicting them as a noisy and chaotically violent disruption of the landscape. ( )
1 vote john257hopper | Nov 24, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (54 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charles Dickensprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bourne, John CookeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Browne, Hablot KnightIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fairclough, PeterEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garrod, H. W.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pitz, Henry C.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pryce-Jones, AlanAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Timson, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Williams, RaymondIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dombey sat in the corner of the darkened room in the great arm-chair by the bedside, and Son lay tucked up warm in a little basket bedstead, carefully disposed on a low settee immediately in front of the fire and close to it, as if his constitution were analogous to that of a muffin, and it was essential to toast him brown while he was very new.
She brings daily in her little basket ... in sheets of curl-paper, morsels of cold meats, tongues of sheep, halves of fowls, for her own dinner.
They were black, cold rooms; and seemed to be in mourning, like the inmates of the house. The books precisely matched as to size, and drawn up in line, like soldiers, looked in their cold, hard, slippery uniforms, as if they had but one idea among them, and that was a freezer. The bookcase, glazed and locked, repudiated all familiarities.
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Average: (3.99)
1 3
2 14
2.5 6
3 70
3.5 25
4 167
4.5 15
5 118

Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140435468, 0141199911

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