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The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
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The Pickwick Papers (edition 2012)

by Charles Dickens

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5,30178831 (3.87)242
Member:Cecrow
Title:The Pickwick Papers
Authors:Charles Dickens
Info:ReadHowYouWant (2012), Paperback, 516 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:classic, humour, easy reading

Work details

The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

  1. 40
    Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (keremix)
  2. 30
    A Child's History of England / Master Humphrey's Clock by Charles Dickens (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Pickwick and the Wellers appear again in this collected serial, in a framing story supporting numerous short works as well as the novels The Old Curiosity Shop and Barnaby Rudge.
  3. 41
    Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens (souloftherose)
    souloftherose: Both books are early Dickens' novels and written in an episodic, picaresque style. Although Nicholas Nickleby is more plot-driven than The Pickwick Papers and contains some darker themes, both works are fundamentally happy Dickens novels and readers who enjoy one would probably enjoy the other.… (more)
  4. 11
    London Lavender by E. V. Lucas (Porua)
    Porua: E.V. Lucas’ London Lavender is the only book I can think of that comes close to the sprawling labyrinth of various narratives and its narrator's humorous but good-natured commentary about it all of Charles Dickens' The Pickwick Papers. I certainly had the same contented feeling after reading London Lavender that I did with The Pickwick Papers.… (more)
  5. 02
    The Darling Buds of May by H. E. Bates (thorold)
    thorold: Pop Larkin and Mr Pickwick are both Londoners who find rural idylls in Kent, and both big fans of tomato sauce, but there's also a deeper connection between these two great comic celebrations of the pleasures of lower-middle-class "vulgarity".
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Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
Dickens's first published novel (1836-37) and what an absolute comic masterpiece this was and still is. Pickwick and Sam Weller are incredibly memorable creations and one of the best comedy double acts in English literature. There are numerous other memorable characters in this novel which, though slightly rambling, does have a central plot other than Pickwick and his companions' peregrinations across the country, that of the slapstick accusation against him of breach of promise by the widow Mrs Bardell and her unscrupulous lawyers, Dodson and Fogg, for which our hero is tried, found guilty, refuses to pay the fine and is in consequence sent to the Fleet prison. This provides Dickens with the opportunity to expose another evil of his time, that of the condition of poor debtors, those unable to pay their way in the prisons of the time, where food and lodging had to paid for by the prisoners, thus meaning that the poor debtors rotted and starved, unless charitable persons outside took pity on them (rich prisoners could afford to pay for luxury and comfort so had a much easier time of it inside). Indeed the whole concept of imprisoning people for debt seems absurd, as they by definition cannot then even try to repay their debts. An absolute gem of a novel that set Dickens on the road to well deserved fame and literary immortality. ( )
  john257hopper | Jul 25, 2014 |
I agree with Roald Dahl -- this book alone is proof that Dickens was a genius. Until I read this I was not aware of how much Wodehouse owed to Dickens. Seriously, though, it's basically a series of short stories loosely linked with a pasted-together plot, but the stories are, by and large, absolutely hilarious. It does slow down a bit with the debtor's prison preachiness, but hey, it's Dickens, you've gotta expect a bit of that. A great, great read. ( )
  bradgers | Feb 6, 2014 |
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2151880.html

I got to page 118 of this and was beginning to despair, to the point that I actually put out a plaintive Tweet/Facebook post wondering if there would be a funny bit soon. But in fact Sam Weller arrives to rescue the book at the end of page 119, thank heavens; although there is a lot of snobbish condescension in Dickens' portrayal of him, he is also given some penetrating insights and just some generally good lines.

There's a defence of The Pickwick Papers which would be similar to what apologists for some parts of Old Who might say: reading this as a novel is contrary to the author's original intent - it was written as a series of humorous installments, when Dickens was 24, and today's reader's experience of it is analogous to the puzzled New Who fan who puts on the newly bought DVD of An Unearthly Child for their first experience of Old Who.

Yet at the same time, that's not really good enough. The book is presented as a novel, and has been since 1837, only a few months after the original publication (unlike An Unearthly Child, broadcast in 1963 and released on video only in 1990), so I think it's fair to criticise its failings as a novel. Pickwick himself is much less clever than he realises, which is nto actually all that funny at first and gets less funny as the book wears on. The plot, such as it is, revolves around some terribly conventional farce tropes which were old-fashioned when Plautus did them in about 200 BC, linking together various set-piece sketches of life in the old days (ie about a decade before the book was actually written).

But what makes the book is a) Weller's sardonic commentary, and b) some of the set-pieces. The Eatanswill by-election is still a favourite among us political types, but reading it in context I was struck that the author's emphasis - and the element from the episode that returns later in the book - is actually on the two local newspapers, who feud with each other in a gloriously fannish style which is very recognisable today. The ghost stories which punctuate various chapters are also neatly done for their type (in general better than the average Poe story) with The Bagman's Tale, in one of the later chapters, surely one of the first examples of a time travel romance in literature?

The Pickwick Papers is a long old slog, however, and I think the casual reader could be excused for seeking out the edited highlights only. ( )
  nwhyte | Aug 1, 2013 |
I read this shortly after reading W. Somerset Maugham's The World's Greatest Novels. Reading that work told me I should read this. It is the least impressive work by Dickens I have read--and I have read I think all his major novels except Our Mutual Friend. ( )
  Schmerguls | Jul 29, 2013 |
This book just isn't funny. It is on rare occasions, but on the whole, it's not. In a book of 801 pages, though "rare occasions" is not often enough. There were moments I really liked it-- Pickwick's supposed ancient artifact, Pickwick's stay in prison-- but on the whole I was reading quickly to try to end it quickly.

I may have to give it another shake someday, though. I was forced to read it quickly because it was exam reading, and maybe reading at a more leisurely pace, I would have appreciated it more.
  Stevil2001 | Jun 5, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (114 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charles Dickensprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Backman, C. J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bomans, GodfriedTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Browne, Hablot KnightIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buss, Robert W.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Casacuberta, MiquelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cock, J.C. deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Darwin, BernardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frith, W.P.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hellström, Lars GustavTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mersand, JosephIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Patten, Robert L.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Russo, RichardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Seymour, RobertIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tull, PatrickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Veer, Bas van derIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wormald, MarkEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
This
The best edition of my books
is, of right, inscribed to my dear friend
John Forster,
Biographer of Oliver Goldsmith,
in affectionate acknowledgment
of his
counsel, sympathy, and faithful friendship
during
my whole literary life.
To Mr. Serjeant Talfourd, M.P. etc. etc.

My Dear Sir,
If I had not enjoyed the happiness of your private friendship, I should still have dedicated this work to you, as a slight and most inadequate acknowledgment of the inestimable services you are rendering to the literature of your country, and of the lasting benefits you will confer upon the authors of this and succeeding generations, by securing to them and their descendants a permanent interest in the copyright of their works.

... Accept the dedication of this book, my dear sir, as a mark of my warmest regard and esteem - as a memorial of the most gratifying friendship I have ever contracted, and of some of the pleasantest hours I have ever spent - as a token of my fervent admiration of every fine quality of your head and heart - as an assurance of the truth and sincerity with which I shall ever be,

My dear Sir,
Most faithfully and sincerely yours,
Charles Dickens.

48 Doughty Street,
September 27, 1837.
First words
The first ray of light which illumines the gloom, and converts into a dazzling brilliancy that obscurity in which the earlier history of the public career of the immortal Pickwick would appear to be involved, is derived from the perusal of the following entry in the Transactions of the Pickwick Club, which the editor of these papers feels the highest pleasure in laying before his readers, as a proof of the careful attention, indefatigable assiduity, and nice discrimination, with which his search among the multifarious documents confided to him has been conducted.
Quotations
There are very few moments in a man's existence when he experiences so much ludicrous distress, or meets with so little charitable commiseration, as when he is in pursuit of his own hat.
It is an established axiom that 'every bullet has its billet.' If it apply in an equal degree to shot, those of Mr. Winkle were unfortunate foundlings, deprived of their natural rights, cast loose upon the world, and billeted nowhere.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is the main work The Pickwick Papers. Please do NOT combine with part 1 or part 2.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140436111, Paperback)

‘Rising rage and extreme bewilderment had swelled the noble breast of Mr Pickwick, almost to the bursting of his waistcoat’

Few first novels have created as much popular excitement as The Pickwick Papers – a comic masterpiece that catapulted its twenty-four-year-old author to immediate fame. Readers were captivated by the adventures of the poet Snodgrass, the lover Tupman, the sportsman Winkle and, above all, by that quintessentially English Quixote, Mr Pickwick, and his cockney Sancho Panza, Sam Weller. From the hallowed turf of Dingley Dell Cricket Club to the unholy fracas of the Eatanswill election, via the Fleet debtor’s prison, characters and incidents sprang to life from Dickens’s pen, to form an enduringly popular work of ebullient humour and literary invention.

This edition is based on the first volume edition of 1837, and includes the original illustrations. In his introduction, Mark Wormald discusses the genesis of The Pickwick Papers and the emergence of its central characters.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:05 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

The Pickwick Papers was the comic masterpiece that carried 24 year-old Dickens to fame as it appeared in monthly instalments in 1836-7. It records the 'perambulations, perils, travels, adventures' of the Pickwick Club's members: the founding chairman, former business man and amateur scientist Mr Pickwick, his trusted companion Sam Weller, the sportsman Winkle, the poet Snodgrass and the lover Tracy Tupman. Beginning in haste to meet magazine deadlines and continuing in exuberant confidence, Dickens drew on his own experiences, on theatre, trials, romances and popular novels. Characters and incidents blossomed in his hands and Pickwick's rotund charm is now the stuff of mythology. If this endearing 'angel in tights and gaiters' still speaks to us from his early nineteenth-century world, it is due, at least in part, to Dickens's brilliant skill in handling the enduring currency of everyday speech. This Penguin Classic, edited by Mark Wormald, makes available the first volume edition of 1837 together with the original illustrations.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 19 descriptions

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