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David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

David Copperfield (original 1850; edition 2012)

by Charles Dickens

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13,027165175 (4.1)3 / 839
Title:David Copperfield
Authors:Charles Dickens
Info:Simon & Brown (2012), Paperback, 950 pages
Collections:supposed classics
Tags:read2012, audio books

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David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (1850)


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English (156)  Spanish (5)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (165)
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Warning: this review contains spoilers


It took me five months to read this, off and on, but when I did sit down to read it, it drew me in, and each chapter fairly flew by. The cast of characters is wide-ranging and numerous, and all of their fates are drawn together by the end of the book. This was a satisfying device but it did lead to some confusion on my part as I'd forgotten a few characters from the very beginning of the book. There were moments of humour (Aunt Betsey's war on the donkeys), terror (the Murdstones' cruelty toward David Copperfield), sadness (the death of Dora) and joy (the restoration of Em'ly). It was also interesting to read as an example of cultural history -- for example, seeing the original characters behind the oft-referenced Mr Micawber and Uriah Heep, not to mention David Copperfield himself.

Of the characters, I think Aunt Betsey was probably my favourite, and I just learned that Maggie Smith played her in an adaptation with a young Daniel Radcliffe as David. Maggie Smith would be perfect for that sort of role. That is a little how I imagined her! One of the "good" characters I found annoying was Dora, because she was so ceaselessly silly and fragile and helpless. Nevertheless, I was a bit sad when she died, because toward the end she was aware of her frailties and limitations. She could have been a lot less silly if she'd tried.

I did lose a bit of steam toward the end because for some reason I thought there were only 60 chapters, not 65, so when I discovered Chapter 61 I was taken aback. But I did have to find out what happened to everyone, so I persevered.

This would be a good book to read off-and-on, because it was originally published serially. However, don't take too long between reading sessions, because there are a lot of characters to keep track of. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Jan 30, 2016 |
In his most autobiographical novel, Dickens tells the story of David Copperfield from his childhood misfortunes to his adult success as an author. It has all the elements you normally find in a Dickens novel: a few quirky but hilarious characters and social commentary on the plight of the poor in London, among other things.

This was not my favorite Dickens novel. I didn't dislike it, I just didn't enjoy it as much as I have some of his others. At over 900 pages, it's the longest novel every written in the English language (or at least it was at one time; I don't know if this is still true). I think Dickens could have cut out quite a bit to have made it flow a bit faster. Experts generally place it near the top of any list of all-time greatest novels, and it's worth reading for that reason alone, but if you want to experience Dickens at his best, I would recommend Nicholas Nickleby. ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
The memoirs of fictional character David Copperfield his growth from child to adult and the details of joy and tragedy that touch his life.

Great memorable characters. ( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
In persuading me to read David Copperfield by Charles Dickens this recent autumn, a friend described that book thus: "It's basically David Copperfield's whole life story. That's it. Just his whole life."

Some one thousand plus pages later (depending on which edition you read), it's a pretty accurate description. Beginning just before his birth, with David telling the story as it was related to him, the first-person account ends sometime in Copperfield's mid-life. From his orphaned childhood to step-parents with less than scrupulous morality, David's childhood has all the hallmarks of 19th century England, at least in so far as it is portrayed by Dickens, the Bronte sisters, or George Elliot (or even Victor Hugo, who finished Les Miserables in Britain's Guernsey). Orphans, step-parents, premature death (as in, death by some means other than of old age), the conflict between marriages for love and for money, and the constant worries about annual income, debt, and debtor's prison all make their appearance in David Copperfield.

When I first began reading David Copperfield, I bemoaned the length. I was reminded by another friend (who knew I had so many friends...and friends that read Dickens?) that unlike more recently written novels, 19th century writers like Copperfield (and Thackery) would publish their stories in serial format. Essentially, I was binge reading the 19th century equivalent of Netflix. Indeed.

Regardless, it is a long read, and there are times when it feels like it, as well. On the other hand, if you understand that it was read in weekly (or bi-weekly?) installments, by people whose light was limited to what was afforded by coal, oil, candle, or daylight, and this was the cutting edge of entertainment--the boob tube was still a century away--then the length takes on a different perspective. We are growing with Copperfield, sharing his travails as his mother is forced to send him away to boarding school, his adventures as he sets off on the road, alone and nearly penniless, to find a long-lost aunt who spurned him at birth upon discovering that he was, much to her dismay, a boy instead of a girl, and the warm flush of young love, as well as the loss of love's labors lost...it's a regular, serialized drama, fit for the age.

That said, it doesn't lose much it's shine, though the style took some time for me to warm to. By the end, though, if just be the sheer number of pages during which I've been in his head, Copperfield is a friend, and I was a bit sad to put down the book. Dickens' world is small, even while it reflects a much larger world "out there," and the universe of characters is finite and all of them will play a role in his protagonist's life (a character who, in himself, often seems to echo Dickens' own self-conception). Dickens gives each their own story that is both connected to and separate from the others. Their voices are distinct, proving Dickens' ear for dialect, class, and education, not to mention character. I loved to hear the eccentricities of Betsey Trotwood's aversion to donkeys in her yard, Wilkins Micawber's elaborate way of speaking, the sniveling of the villainous Uriah Heep, and the contrasts between innocent Dora Spenlow and the "girl next door" Agnes Wickfield. Through both tragedy and triumph, all get their just deserts in way that is satisfying, if more trite than we might expect in a modern novel. But this is not a modern novel--it is a reflection of an age when life was short and brutal, when England ruled the waves, and literature was still a rare occupation. As such, it's a rare treasure, a classic, and appreciable for the window it opens on an age now past. ( )
  publiusdb | Jan 12, 2016 |
long winded. I don't know why this book is a classic. a paragraph per sentence, really? ugh. so glad I'm finished. .I read fast but this took forever ( )
  faerychikk | Jan 5, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 156 (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 (168 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charles Dickensprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dickens, Charlesmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Austen, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Browne, Hablot KnightIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Browne, Hablot KnightCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buck Jr., Philo MelvynEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ford, George H.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gunnarsson, JakobTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jarvis, MartinNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnson, EdgarAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lang, AndrewIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Priestley, J. B.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, EdithEditorsecondary 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
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.
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.)
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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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blurb; Here is one of the greatest books of all time, a book whose magnificent scope and narrative power have captivated readers for over a hundred years, and will continue to do so as long as man can read.
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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)

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A young boy in nineteenth-century London runs away from an unhappy home, finds employment in a wine factory, and becomes acquainted with a wide variety of characters in the city streets.

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4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140439447, 0141031751, 0141199164, 0141343826

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