David Copperfield

David Copperfield

4.2 154
by Charles Dickens, Simon Vance

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David Copperfield is the quintessential novel by England's most beloved novelist. Based in part on Dickens's own life, it is the story of a young man's journey from an unhappy and impoverished childhood to the discovery of his vocation as a successful novelist. Among its gloriously vivid cast of characters, he encounters his tyrannical stepfather, Mr. Murdstone;

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David Copperfield is the quintessential novel by England's most beloved novelist. Based in part on Dickens's own life, it is the story of a young man's journey from an unhappy and impoverished childhood to the discovery of his vocation as a successful novelist. Among its gloriously vivid cast of characters, he encounters his tyrannical stepfather, Mr. Murdstone; his formidable aunt, Betsey Trotwood; the eternally humble yet treacherous Uriah Heep; the frivolous, enchanting Dora; and one of literature's great comic creations, the magnificently impecunious Mr. Micawber-a character resembling Dickens's own father. In David Copperfield-the novel he described as his "favorite child"-Dickens drew revealingly on his own experiences to create one of his most exuberant and enduringly popular works, filled with tragedy and comedy in equal measure.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The most perfect of all the Dickens novels."
—Virginia Woolf
VOYA - Jan Chapman
Ah, poor Charles Dickens! He was the Steven King of his day and his books are now considered the most onerous of required reading assignments. Barrons's Graphic Classics series, in an attempt to present Dickens' immortal classics David Copperfield and Great Expectations to new readers, has given us an illustrated, bare-bones version of the plot of both these works. The question is—what's the point? Gone from these stripped versions are the larger-than-life, vivid characters; the compelling moral and social questions; and the brilliantly complex plot that kept a generation of readers on tenterhooks waiting for the next installment of the serialized novels. That is bad enough, but the illustrations, although competent, are generically bland and fail to portray the liveliness of the characters. The unforgettable Uriah Heep in David Copperfield, for example, is now just a colorless villain. Each title does, however, include useful information on the life of Dickens and a literary history of each title. Re-workings of classic works of literature can be very successful if rendered in a unique and distinctive way. Witness the work of Gareth Hinds, who has re-interpreted Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice (Candlewick, 2008/VOYA June 2008) or Will Eisner, author of a rendition of Cervantes' Don Quixote (NBM, 2003)—to name just two. Even if teen readers are not inspired to tackle the original classics, these works exist on their own literary merit. It is doubtful that any reader who picks up either one of these Dickens' illustrated titles will be inspired to go further. Which brings us back to the original question—what's the point? (Graphic Classics) Reviewer: Jan Chapman
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Great Expectations is the better told of these two classics, but breaking down a 500-page work of literary fiction into 48 pages of graphic text is a much simpler task than retelling the nearly 1000 pages of David Copperfield in the same amount of space, and Morley relies heavily on captions, rather than dialogue, to summarize Copperfield's complicated life story. She does, however, do an able job of summarizing the major plot points, and this could make a big difference for struggling readers. In both books, Gelev's artwork fits the time period, with detailed costumes, houses, and other background scenery. The neutral tones suit Dickens's dank world, and Miss Havisham's ramshackle home and crumbling wedding feast are drawn as readers might picture them. It is doubtful, though, that they would return to these books as particular favorites. They are more useful as classroom resources for readers struggling with Dickens's prose than for a general graphic-novel readership.—Sarah Knutson, American Canyon Middle School, CA

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Product Details

Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date:
Tantor Unabridged Classics Series
Edition description:
Library - Unabridged CD
Product dimensions:
7.50(w) x 7.50(h) x 2.60(d)
Age Range:
12 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

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.

In consideration of the day and hour of my birth, it was declared by the nurse, and by some sage women in the neighbourhood who had taken a lively interest in me several months before there was any possibility of our becoming personally acquainted, first, that I was destined to be unlucky in life; and secondly, that I was privileged to see ghosts and spirits; both these gifts inevitably attaching, as they believed, to all unlucky infants of either gender, born towards the small hours on a Friday night.

I need say nothing here on the first head, because nothing can show better than my history whether that prediction was verified or falsified by the result. On the second branch of the question, I will only remark, that unless I ran through that part of my inheritance while I was still a baby, I have not come into it yet. But I do not at all complain of having been kept out of this property; and if anybody else should be in the present enjoyment of it, he is heartily welcome to keep it.

I was born with a caul, which was advertised for sale, in the newspapers, at the low price of fifteen guineas. Whether seagoing people were short of money about that time, or were short of faith and preferred cork jackets, I don't know; all I know is, that there was but one solitary bidding, and that was from an attorney connected with the bill-broking business, who offered two pounds in cash, and the balance in sherry, but declined to be guaranteed from drowning on any higher bargain. Consequently the advertisement was withdrawn at a dead loss—for as to sherry, my poor dear mother's own sherry was in the market then—and ten years afterwards the caul was put up in a raffle down in our part of the country, to fifty members at half a crown a head, the winner to spend five shillings. I was present myself, and I remember to have felt quite uncomfortable and confused, at a part of myself being disposed of in that way. The caul was won, I recollect, by an old lady with a hand-basket, who, very reluctantly, produced from it the stipulated five shillings, all in halfpence, and twopence halfpenny short—as it took an immense time and a great waste of arithmetic, to endeavour without any effect to prove to her. It is a fact which will be long remembered as remarkable down there, that she was never drowned, but died triumphantly in bed, at ninety-two. I have understood that it was, to the last, her proudest boast, that she never had been on the water in her life, except upon a bridge; and that over her tea (to which she was extremely partial) she, to the last, expressed her indignation at the impiety of mariners and others, who had the presumption to go 'meandering' about the world. It was in vain to represent to her that some conveniences, tea perhaps included, resulted from this objectionable practice. She always returned, with greater emphasis and with an instinctive knowl-edge of the strength of her objection, 'Let us have no meandering.'

Not to meander myself, at present, I will go back to my birth.

I was born at Blunderstone, in Suffolk, or 'thereby,' as they say in Scotland. I was a posthumous child. My father's eyes had closed upon the light of this world six months, when mine opened on it. There is something strange to me, even now, in the reflection that he never saw me; and something stranger yet in the shadowy remembrance that I have of my first childish associations with his white gravestone in the churchyard, and of the indefinable compassion I used to feel for it lying out alone there in the dark night, when our little parlour was warm and bright with fire and candle, and the doors of our house were—almost cruelly, it seemed to me sometimes—bolted and locked against it.

An aunt of my father's, and consequently a great-aunt of mine, of whom I shall have more to relate by-and-by, was the principal magnate of our family. Miss Trotwood, or Miss Betsey, as my poor mother always called her, when she sufficiently overcame her dread of this formidable personage to mention her at all (which was seldom), had been married to a husband younger than herself, who was very handsome, except in the sense of the homely adage, 'handsome is, that handsome does'—for he was strongly suspected of having beaten Miss Betsey, and even of having once, on a disputed question of supplies, made some hasty but determined arrangements to throw her out of a two pair of stairs' window. These evidences of an incompatibility of temper induced Miss Betsey to pay him off, and effect a separation by mutual consent. He went to India with his capital, and there, according to a wild legend in our family, he was once seen riding on an elephant, in company with a Baboon; but I think it must have been a Baboo—or a Begum. Anyhow, from India tidings of his death reached home, within ten years. How they affected my aunt, nobody knew; for immediately upon the separation she took her maiden name again, bought a cottage in a hamlet on the sea-coast a long way off, established herself there as a single woman with one servant, and was understood to live secluded, ever afterwards, in an inflexible retirement.
My father had once been a favourite of hers, I believe; but she was mortally affronted by his marriage, on the ground that my mother was 'a wax doll.' She had never seen my mother, but she knew her to be not yet twenty. My father and Miss Betsey never met again. He was double my mother's age when he married, and of but a delicate constitution. He died a year afterwards, and, as I have said, six months before I came into the world.

This was the state of matters on the afternoon of, what I may be excused for calling, that eventful and important Friday. I can make no claim, therefore, to have known, at that time, how matters stood; or to have any remembrance, founded on the evidence of my own senses, of what follows.

My mother was sitting by the fire, but poorly in health, and very low in spirits, looking at it through her tears, and desponding heavily about herself and the fatherless little stranger, who was already welcomed by some grosses of prophetic pins in a drawer upstairs, to a world not at all excited on the subject of his arrival; my mother, I say, was sitting by the fire, that bright, windy March afternoon, very timid and sad, and very doubtful of ever coming alive out of the trial that was before her, when, lifting her eyes as she dried them, to the window opposite, she saw a strange lady coming up the garden.

My mother had a sure foreboding at the second glance, that it was Miss Betsey. The setting sun was glowing on the strange lady, over the garden fence, and she came walking up to the door with a fell rigidity of figure and composure of countenance that could have belonged to nobody else.

When she reached the house, she gave another proof of her identity. My father had often hinted that she seldom conducted herself like any ordinary Christian; and now, instead of ringing the bell, she came and looked in at that identical window, pressing the end of her nose against the glass to that extent that my poor dear mother used to say it became perfectly flat and white in a moment.
She gave my mother such a turn, that I have always been convinced I am indebted to Miss Betsey for having been born on a Friday.

My mother had left her chair in her agitation, and gone behind it in the corner. Miss Betsey, looking round the room, slowly and inquiringly, began on the other side, and carried her eyes on, like a Saracen's head in a Dutch clock, until they reached my mother. Then she made a frown and a gesture to my mother, like one who was accustomed to be obeyed, to come and open the door. My mother went.
'Mrs. David Copperfield, I think,' said Miss Betsey; the emphasis referring, perhaps, to my mother's mourning weeds, and her condition.

'Yes,' said my mother, faintly.

'Miss Trotwood,' said the visitor. 'You have heard of her, I dare say?'

My mother answered she had had that pleasure. And she had a disagreeable consciousness of not appearing to imply that it had been an overpowering pleasure.

'Now you see her,' said Miss Betsey. My mother bent her head, and begged her to walk in.

They went into the parlour my mother had come from, the fire in the best room on the other side of the passage not being lighted—not having been lighted, indeed, since my father's funeral; and when they were both seated, and Miss Betsey said nothing, my mother, after vainly trying to restrain herself, began to cry.

'Oh, tut, tut, tut!' said Miss Betsey, in a hurry. 'Don't do that! Come, come!'

My mother couldn't help it notwithstanding, so she cried until she had had her cry out.

'Take off your cap, child,' said Miss Betsey, 'and let me see you.'

My mother was too much afraid of her to refuse compliance with this odd request, if she had any disposition to do so. Therefore she did as she was told, and did it with such nervous hands that her hair (which was luxuriant and beautiful) fell all about her face.

'Why, bless my heart!' exclaimed Miss Betsey. 'You are a very baby!'

My mother was, no doubt, unusually youthful in appearance even for her years; she hung her head, as if it were her fault, poor thing, and said, sobbing, that indeed she was afraid she was but a childish widow, and would be but a childish mother if she lived. In a short pause which ensued, she had a fancy that she felt Miss Betsey touch her hair, and that with no ungentle hand; but, looking at her, in her timid hope, she found that lady sitting with the skirt of her dress tucked up, her hands folded on one knee, and her feet upon the fender, frowning at the fire.

'In the name of Heaven,' said Miss Betsey, suddenly, 'why Rookery?'

'Do you mean the house, ma'm?' asked my mother.

'Why Rookery?' said Miss Betsey. 'Cookery would have been more to the purpose, if you had had any practical ideas of life, either of you.'

'The name was Mr. Copperfield's choice,' returned my mother. 'When he bought the house, he liked to think that there were rooks about it.'

The evening wind made such a disturbance just now, among some tall old elm-trees at the bottom of the garden, that neither my mother nor Miss Betsey could forbear glancing that way. As the elms bent to one another, like giants who were whispering secrets, and after a few seconds of such repose, fell into a violent flurry, tossing their wild arms about, as if their late confidences were really too wicked for their peace of mind, some weatherbeaten ragged old rooks'-nests burdening their higher branches, swung like wrecks upon a stormy sea.

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David Copperfield 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 154 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
So often people express reluctance to take on the great literature of the past because of the feeling that it's a little too much like taking medicine. 'I know that reading this 'classic' is good for me because it's a classic, or so I'm told.' This seems to dissuade many readers from approaching works such as David Copperfield. This summer I have read four Dicken's classics, Bleak House, A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations and Copperfield. Copperfield will reward any modern reader with its kaleidoscope of Victorian England, rich with humor and memorable characters. Allow yourself to become lost in the memories of this most famous of fictional autobiographers. The language of Dickens is always a pleasure as he wraps his florobundant prose around a cast of character's and scenes that are never boring and often are filled with humor and pathos, and sometimes both at the same time. It's hard to imagine the inward looking authors of the 20th Century Existing without the foundation of the inward novel from characters such as David Copperfield, Pip of Great Expectations and Esther of Bleak House. David's memories are filtered through his own perception and foreknowledge of what occurs in his life after. Dickens use of the first person narrative in telling David's story anchors you to David's reactions to the events of his life and connects you as a reader to similar events or relationships in your own life. Finally, people are always calling Dickens characters caricatures, but as you read about the Micawbers or Uriah Heep, or Dora and think they seem like immutable beings think about the characters in your own life and see how mutable they are, and Dickens caricatures, even 165 years later seem accurate and rooted in reality. Lastly, don't be fightened by the weight of this tome. Once Dickens envelops you in his world and his language, be it in this work or any of his others, you will glide through his works and reach for the next.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel is another reason Dickens is read generation after generation after generation. I certainly remember reading Dickens in school, but my appreciation for him has grown greater in my later years. There are probably many who grasp Dickens at the high school level and can enjoy him greatly however, it is not untill my later years that I have come to really enjoy him. This novel originally published in magazine form over a duration of time can at first seem long and daunting and yet it seemed in no time that I was able to finish it. The title character obviously is David Copperfield and it is somewhat a biographical sketch of the author Charles Dickens life. While the first of the novel can seem almost unbearbly painful with the character's father dying just several months before his birth and his aunt abondening the family immediatly after Copperfields birth, and the loss of his mother at a young age, things do get better. Dickens intorduces us to a cast of characters that are enjoyable and we get to follow along as David Copperfield goes through his own life. If you enjoyed Dickens in highschool than you are ahead of the game. If you did not enjoy Dickens in high shcool than give him another chance.
KlassicKate More than 1 year ago
There is a reason why Charles Dickens calls this book 'his favorite child'. What a fantastic read! This is truly a classic. Don't get hung up on the 'old English language' used. Just chug on through it. It's well worth it to take a month to read through this novel and get to know David, as well as the rest of the cast of characters that Dickens brings to life throughout each chapter. A well woven, well told story, that should be read by everyone at least once in his/her lifetime.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After absolutely struggling to get through Great Expectations, i groaned when i had to read this book for school. However, I loved it from beginning to end. Dicken creates absolutely brilliant characters, some whom you will love, and some that you hate. all in all an excellent read.
xMissMelaniex More than 1 year ago
This was my first read of Charles Dickens writing and I loved it. His writing style makes you really have to ponder the point he is getting across. I always see a lot of humor in his writing and enjoy the characters thoroughly.
Krod More than 1 year ago
Although I have only read two of Dickens's novels, which include this and the Tales of Two Cities, I must say that David Copperfield has surpassed my expectations and is now perhaps my favorite book. The author's way of communicating human emotions clearly and effectively has the reader completely hooked and very much in tears in most areas of the novel. Without ruining the novel for you, the story is basically about the life of a very young boy who grows up in a tough and tyrannical childhood. Eventually, he escapes this reality and  finds refuge in his aunt, in hopes of making a new beginning for himself and find true happiness.  Yes, I know the size of this novel seems formidable, but I do assure you that you WILL NOT be disappointed at ALL. The characters that Dickens brings out to life are truly memorable (my favorite characters are David, obviously, and Mr. Peggotty) I do advise if you  can to take notes because if you ever decide to reread this novel, it will be interesting to see how you thought years ago. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You ppl who think this book was bad and thought it was hard to read.... honestly i think you are a bad student and have bad reading grades. I bet u didnt even TRY
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
David Copperfield is a long, interesting, dramatic journey through a boy's life. It takes you to his early childhood up to his adulthood. I'd say this a good book for not only for pleasure, but also for psychology purposes because the book sort of goes into detail about how all the difficult events he had gone through impacted him; for instance, when his mother died, finding out he had to go to boarding school for biting his stepfather those kind of things. The only thing I don't like about Charles Dickens's writing is that it's too lengthy and too flowery; but he is a good writer, very imaginative.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an awesome read, one of Dicken's best!
Guest More than 1 year ago
With its vivid descriptions of various episodes of David Copperfield's life, its remarkable cast of characters, its startling blend of humor and tragedy, and its intricate, well-woven tapestry of plots, this is Dickens at its best. This book is wonderful, and anyone that has ever fallen in love, suffered after a parent's remarriage, started off on their own career, or been betrayed by a friend will be able to relate to the narrator's experiences.
Guest More than 1 year ago
David Copperfield is one of the most incredible novels I've ever come across. Charles Dicken's gift for writing manuscript is amazing. His use of words are intelligent, and constructed cleverly. If you wish to enjoyably stagger your vocabulary, read some remarkable conversations, or find yourself dubstruck at many intricate letters {written by Mr. Micawber} this is the book to have. I found it to have interesting characters, an excellent plot, and a captivating discourse. I highly recommend this treasure.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite pieces of literature. A long book, but full of Dickens' classic style, and well worth it. Sad, funny, inspiring, etc. It tears at your emotions, you form strong opinions on the characters, and you get a look into Dickens' actual life. In my opinion, it is slightly better than A Tale of Two Cities. A true classic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'David Copperfield' is a sad but wonderful novel.It talks about a young boy left alone in the world with a cruel stepfather after his parents die!The step father sends him on his own to make his life at a young age so he runs to his aunt's house.He later on grows up in his humble aut's home until he had to go to school.He learned so much as he went to school ,David was a bright kid all threw his years,but always ran into bad luck for some reason.As a grown up Mr. Copperfield realizes all the difficulties of being an adult, but he still manages it.He later lives a life very well with three children and a lovely wife and nice friends. I think 'David Copperfield' should be past on down to others because it has so many life lessons in it.I refer this book to 'the Outsiders' because the moral of this novel is so strong.When I read this book i felt myself being one with Mr. Copperfield, a strong independent man that would be able to manage if left alone in a world.The book really did not sound good to read when i first picked it up but i read it anyway and im glad i didnt judge a book by its cover!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is all about Davey and his life as he grows up. Full of humorous charactors and lessons that David learns as he grows up. Can be sad, happy and provokes anger at the charactors! I think it's an extremely well-written book, but only enjoyed by those who love old-time literature! But I absolutely loved it!
Anonymous 9 months ago
A singing place
Anonymous 9 months ago
I'd like to be either Luka, Gumi or IA, if none of them are taken..
Anonymous 9 months ago
Anonymous 9 months ago
Im here.
InTheBookcase More than 1 year ago
No simple words could describe this book better than saying it is "The Personal History, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery, Which He Never Meant to Be Published on Any Account." Do you catch Dickens humorous mood already? The quotation alone is the real subtitle of the book. And, my, oh my! It's a charming book. A new favorite of mine, in fact. Barely a chapter passed by that I didn't laugh at a scene, or a particular sentence, or even a certain word, the way Dickens wedged it in there. It is David Copperfield's story – from childhood to adulthood. The characters are beautifully drawn out – Pegotty, the Micawbers – ha! – even the villainous characters too. My favorite novel from Dickens! I already cannot wait to read this delightful piece of literature again. “...I should have been perfectly miserable, I have no doubt, but for the old books. They were my only comfort; and I was as true to them as they were to me, and read them over and over I don't know how many times more.” (Chapter 10, David Copperfield)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
David Copperfield is great!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Well? Why am I not?" He asked. "Look at that camp. You, I, and the athotutarians are better than them. Why am I not on that list?"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lurks in every corner
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