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Dombey and Son (1848)

by Charles Dickens

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,523463,055 (3.99)203
Mr. Dombey's idealistic vision of his "Dombey and Son" shipping firm rests on the shoulders of his delicate son Paul. However, when the firm faces ruin, and Dombey's second marriage ends in disaster, it is his devoted daughter Florence, unloved and neglected, who comes to his aid.This new edition contains Dickens's prefaces, his working plans, and all the original illustrations. The text is that of the definitive Clarendon edition, which is supplemented by a wide-ranging Introduction that highlights Dickens's sensitivity to the problems of his day, including those of familyrelationships, giving the novel added depth and relevance. The Notes and Bibliography have been substantially revised, extended, and updated.… (more)
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English (44)  Spanish (1)  All languages (45)
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
[a:Charles Dickens|239579|Charles Dickens|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1387078070p2/239579.jpg], more than any other author I know of, has come to symbolize his times; with barely a person alive today who would not equate Victorian England with Dickens, if only through his book, [b:A Christmas Carol|36295028|A Christmas Carol (Annotated)|Charles Dickens|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1506250793l/36295028._SX50_.jpg|3097440]. Many of his books are very well-known and still frequently taught and read, but [b:Dombey and Son|50827|Dombey and Son|Charles Dickens|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1320513735l/50827._SY75_.jpg|4998726] is one that I would count as more obscure. Having now read it, I wonder why. It is a remarkable piece of literature, emblematic of the coming of the Industrial Age, and loaded with everything that makes Dickens so unique.

I read this in much the way Victorian readers would have done, because I read it one chapter a day with a terrific group, Dickensians!. Of course, even this was accelerated reading, the Victorians would have gotten it over a much longer spread, since Dickens released it in 20 monthly installments.

This is primarily the story of Mr. Dombey, a man obsessed with his company and money, and his desire to leave his kingdom to a male heir. Dombey has his heir in the first chapter of the novel, a lovely boy named Paul, a child he worships, but he also has a daughter, Florence, whom he resents and mistreats abominably. This is a dysfunctional household and family, made more pitiful by the death of the mother with the birth of the son, and we are given to see that much more clearly by Dickens’ presenting us with two other households that are nowhere near as wealthy, but contain all the loving relationships this one is missing. In many ways, this is Florence’s story...the story of a daughter, not a son.

In the course of this novel, Dickens addresses pride, deceit, the value of love over money, child to parent relationships, the degradation of the human soul, unrequited love, the insufferability of blowhards, retribution, revenge, and reclamation. If I took a few minutes, I could probably make another list just as long of themes he explores, for he explores the human condition in all its glory and shame. He accomplishes this through an array of unforgettable characters, the proud and beautiful Edith, the evil James Carker, the delightful Toodles, precious Captain Cuttle, strong Susan Nipper, devoted Mr. Toots, and the faithful Walter and Uncle Sol.

One of the things I most appreciated about this story was Dickens' ability and willingness to depict strong women and to show that strength does not exclude deep or motherly feeling. On the other hand, he also showed us some mothers who were unfit to raise kittens, let alone children. Dickens is never afraid of any level of society or any emotion, showing a balanced view of upper and lower classes, and men and women, that I believe was rare in his time.

In addition to loving this book, I must say how much more interesting and meaningful it was to read it with the Dickensians! group. Our leader, the inimitable Bionic Jean, is a wealth of information on both Dickens and his era. She adds another level of understanding to all of his works, and it is a privilege to be allowed to read and discuss with so many intelligent and informed readers. The last time I got this kind of background and information from a group, I was in college and they were making me pay for the course. But, far from feeling like I was sitting in a stuffy classroom, this kind of reading is so, so much fun. I am glad to have now read Dombey and Son. I have four more Dickens novels to read before I can say I have read them all. I have read many of his novels more than once, and I imagine I will be reading them until I take my last breath, because, read them as often as you will, never can you say you have gleaned everything Dickens has to offer. ( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
A mixed reaction. Too long, too much on non compelling story lines (Edith Granger, Cleopatra), not fantastic leads (Mr. Dombey, Florence), unlikely (straining) plot developments... BUT .. great characters: Captain Cuttle, Susan Nipper, Uncle Sol, Bagshot, Toots and more! Worth it for all these great characters, amusing scenes and poignant (perhaps a bit overdone) melodrama. ( )
  apende | Jul 12, 2022 |
4/25/22
  laplantelibrary | Apr 25, 2022 |
Fair/poor small pencil mark, undecipherable
  GoshenMAHistory | Apr 25, 2022 |
The title character, Mr. Dombey, is a wealthy shipping merchant whose wife dies giving birth to their second child, a long-hoped-for son and heir, Paul. The elder child, Florence, being female, is neglected by her father. When Paul’s health is broken by the rigours of boarding school and he dies, Dombey’s hopes are dashed. In her grief, Florence draws emotional support from her father’s employee Walter Gay. Resentful of their relationship, Dombey sends Gay to the West Indies, where he is shipwrecked and presumed lost. Dombey then takes a new wife—the poor but proud widow Edith Granger—who eventually runs off with Dombey’s trusted assistant. After his ultimately empty pursuit of the pair, Dombey returns bereft and bankrupt. Walter Gay, meanwhile, has returned with the story of his rescue by a China clipper and asked Florence to marry him. They set sail for the East, returning a few years later with a baby son—named Paul—to find Mr. Dombey on the brink of suicide. The family’s reconciliation concludes the book in a typically Dickensian glow. ( )
  Marcos_Augusto | Jan 20, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (42 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dickens, Charlesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bourne, John CookeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Browne, Hablot KnightIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fairclough, PeterEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Furniss, HarryIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garrod, H. W.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Griffin, CharltonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pitz, Henry C.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pryce-Jones, AlanAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Timson, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tuomikoski, AinoTranslatorsecondary 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.
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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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Mr. Dombey's idealistic vision of his "Dombey and Son" shipping firm rests on the shoulders of his delicate son Paul. However, when the firm faces ruin, and Dombey's second marriage ends in disaster, it is his devoted daughter Florence, unloved and neglected, who comes to his aid.This new edition contains Dickens's prefaces, his working plans, and all the original illustrations. The text is that of the definitive Clarendon edition, which is supplemented by a wide-ranging Introduction that highlights Dickens's sensitivity to the problems of his day, including those of familyrelationships, giving the novel added depth and relevance. The Notes and Bibliography have been substantially revised, extended, and updated.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140435468, 0141199911

 

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