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David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

David Copperfield (original 1850; edition 1986)

by Charles Dickens (Author), Hablôt K. Browne (Illustrator), W. Somerset Maugham (Afterword)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
15,768208203 (4.1)4 / 1074
Title:David Copperfield
Authors:Charles Dickens (Author)
Other authors:Hablôt K. Browne (Illustrator), W. Somerset Maugham (Afterword)
Info:The Readers Digest Association, Inc. (1986), Edition: 1st, 751 pages
Collections:Your library, Great Books ~ 300

Work details

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (1850)

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Showing 1-5 of 194 (next | show all)
A most excellent book. Rather a shame that I didn't discover Dickens until the twilight (rather a long one, I expect) of my life. Although this book is not quite as good as Great Expectations, it's close.

Basically, it follows the life of David Copperfield from youth to adulthood. There are lots of misadventures along the way, lots of quirky characters, rather a number of scoundrels, and oodles of observations on the human condition. This should be on everyone's to-read list. ( )
  lgpiper | Jun 21, 2019 |
La huella autobiográfica que Charles Dickens (1812-1870) dejó en David Copperfield, una de sus obras más importantes, convirtió este libro en el más cercano a su corazón. David, como Dickens, vivió una infancia feliz leyendo y asistiendo a la escuela hasta que su suerte cambió. La transmutación íntima de ambos, protagonista y autor, fue compleja y sutil. Aunque ficción y realidad no siempre coinciden, las desdichas de la niñez, el trabajo en la abogacía, la condición de escritor y varios de los personajes responden a la experiencia personal de su autor. Narrada desde la distancia del adulto, la vida de David Copperfield encierra sátira y humor irónico, luto y angustia, pero también mucha alegría y ruido de personas.
  Haijavivi | May 31, 2019 |
One critic says that the young David when confronted with hardship tends to be “despairing and romanticizing”, and I think I used to be very bad along those lines as well. I’d like to reread the book to observe that more closely. I’d also like to give it another look to see just how cool Agnes really is.
  smallself | May 2, 2019 |
This classic Dickens work follows the life of an orphaned David Copperfield and the people who shaped his life. He and his mother lived with a beloved servant Peggoty. After his mother's death, his stepfather removes him from school, sending him to work in a factory. Life is terrible, so David runs away to his aunt who agrees to give him a home. She calls him "Trotwood." He encounters the people from his past on many occasions and encounters more people who play a role in his life. The strength of the work lies in character development. The Penguin classics edition includes a large introduction as well as excerpts from a Dickens biography and early outlines of the novel. ( )
  thornton37814 | Mar 23, 2019 |
I know many people consider it one of Dickens's best-- my Penguin Classics edition's introduction by Jeremy Tambling makes the case that it unites the "early" Dickens with the "late" Dickens-- but for me, I think it's solidly middle-tier. It's no Great Expectations or Our Mutual Friend, but neither is it as dull as Hard Times or A Tale of Two Cities.

The first quarter or so of the novel, however, surely ranks among Dickens's best writing. Young David has a horrible life, and Dickens executes it with his trademark combination of melancholy, comedy, and well-observed character. The story of David's actual birth is hilarious (I subjected a lot of people to it after reading it), but the story of David's life with his stepfather and step-aunt is depressing and hard to take, especially what ends up happening to his mother. The stuff about David at school is funny; David's attempt to leave London and find his aunt is depressing and funny all at once. His relationship with Peggotty is touching.

The effect is all aided by some nice narrative choices by Dickens. We (and I kind of blame the modernists for this) like to stereotype Victorian fiction as being very staid. But there are some bits of David Copperfield we might call "experimental," except I think Dickens was less concerned with experimenting and more concerned with just telling the story the best way possible. Though most of the story is told in the first-person past tense, every now and again the narrator (an older David; the full title is The Personal History and Experience of David Copperfield the Younger) shifts into the present tense as he re-enacts a particularly vivid memory. It's a neat technique and usually very effective, isolating key moments and heightening their emotional repercussions-- because you can tell how important they still are to the narrator all those years later, so much so they he thinks of them as still happening.

After David reunites with his aunt, though, I found the energy of the novel dissipated. The last three-quarters just don't have the same drive as the first quarter. Not that it's ever bad: nothing here ever sinks as low as the tedium of the middle of A Tale of Two Cities or Hard Times, and there are lots of good jokes still (I liked when David tries to get out of his apprenticeship at the law firm). But for big chunks, the stakes are vague, and I have to admit I never really cared about Uriah Heep. But every now and then you still get that flash of Dickensian brilliance, and the ending is excellent, so there you go.
  Stevil2001 | Mar 16, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 194 (next | show all)
David Copperfield relates the story of his life - transmuting many of the early experience of his creator - right from his birth to his attainment of settled maturity and successful authorship. On his journey, David encounters a gallery of memorable characters, kind, cruel or grotesque: Mr Micawber, Uriah Heep and Steerforth are among the many who shape his development.

By turns absorbingly comic, dramatic, ironic and tender, the novel brings into energetic life the society and preoccupations of the mid-Victorian world
added by letonia | editPenguin Popular Classics

» Add other authors (172 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charles Dickensprimary authorall editionscalculated
Austen, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blount, TrevorForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buck Jr., Philo MelvynEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Degen, PaulIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ford, George H.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gunnarsson, JakobTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hill, JamesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jarvis, MartinNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnson, EdgarAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malden, R. H.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
PhizIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Priestley, J. B.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, EdithEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tambling, JeremyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Winterich, John T.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Affectionately inscribed to the Hon. Mr and Mrs Richard Watson, of Rockingham, Northamptonshire
This Christmas book is cordially inscribed to my English friends in Switzerland.
First words
Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I have been informed and believe) on a Friday, at twelve o’clock at night. It was remarked that the clock began to strike, and I began to cry, simultaneously.
Once upon a time, it matters little when, and in stalwart England, it matters little where, a fierce battle was fought.
I shall never desert Mr. Micawber
To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I have been informed and believe) on a Friday, at twelve o'clock at night.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is the main work for David Copperfield. It should not be combined with any adaptation, abridgement, student edition, etc. If this is your book but you have an abridged or adapted version, please update your title and ISBN, so that your book can be combined with the correct abridgement or adaptation.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140439447, Paperback)

Beginning in 1854 up through to his death in 1870, Charles Dickens abridged and adapted many of his more popular works and performed them as staged readings. This version, each page illustrated with lovely watercolor paintings, is a beautiful example of one of these adaptations.

Because it is quite seriously abridged, the story concentrates primarily on the extended family of Mr. Peggotty: his orphaned nephew, Ham; his adopted niece, Little Emily; and Mrs. Gummidge, self-described as "a lone lorn creetur and everythink went contrairy with her." When Little Emily runs away with Copperfield's former schoolmate, leaving Mr. Peggotty completely brokenhearted, the whole family is thrown into turmoil. But Dickens weaves some comic relief throughout the story with the introduction of Mr. and Mrs. Micawber, and David's love for his pretty, silly "child-wife," Dora. Dark nights, mysterious locations, and the final destructive storm provide classic Dickensian drama. Although this is not David Copperfield in its entirety, it is a great introduction to the world and the language of Charles Dickens.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:32 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

David Copperfield, whose stepfather casts him out after the death of David's mother, lives through trials and tribulations, first at a boys' school and then as a young man in London before he goes to live with his great-aunt and eventually finds happiness.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140439447, 0141031751, 0141199164, 0141343826

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