Mr. Dickens may be reasonably proud of these volumes.... he has written a story that is new, original, powerful and very entertaining.... It is in his best vein, and although it is too slight, and bears many traces of hasty writing, it is quite worthy to stand beside Martin Chuzzlewit and David Copperfield.
July 20, 1861
Returning to print after more than a decade, this first volume in the relaunch of the Classics Illustrated series presents a handsomely rendered adaptation of the orphaned Pip's first-person narrative of his journey from humble childhood to adulthood as an English gentleman. Though quite involving, this retelling of the Dickens classic registers as a "fast forward" version of the epic tale of one man's evolution and the hard lessons learned from it, but that aspect is a minor quibble shoved aside by Geary's charmingly cartoony art. Long hailed for his unique work in such diverse showcases as the New York Times, National Lampoon and his exceptional continuing series A Treasury of Victorian Murder, Geary's fleshy characterizations breathe a near-animated life into the classic tale. This pleasant graphic interpretation can serve as an introduction to Dickens for younger readers and perhaps eventually steer them to the wider world of the source material and beyond. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
KLIATT - George Galuschak
Great Expectations opens on Christmas Eve. Seven-year-old Pip sits at his parents' tombstones in the marshes. He is set upon by an escaped convict, who demands food and a file; when the convict is recaptured, Pip settles back to life with his sister and her husband. The first great event in Pip's life occurs when he is escorted to the spooky old mansion of Miss Havisham to become the playmate of her ward, Estelle. Miss Havisham still wears her ancient bridal dress, and her decayed bridal cake sits on the table. She makes Pip want to be a gentleman so that he can win Estelle's hand. Soon afterwards a mysterious benefactor swoops in, and Pip is sent to London to be educated. Pip is happy that his dreams are coming truehe will become a gentleman and marry Estelle. Too bad life doesn't work that way. Many graphic adaptations of classics aren't exactly classics themselves, but Great Expectations is an enjoyable read that made me want to read the actual book, so mission accomplished. The story is gripping, with lots of twists and turns. Pip grows as a person, andunlike real lifethe characters get what they deserve. The full-color art is done by Rick Geary, who has worked in the Graphic Classics series. Great Expectations contains depictions of the human condition and is recommended for junior high and high school graphic novel collections, especially those that stockpile graphic adaptations of classics. Reviewer: George Galuschak
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up
A young man's burning desire to fulfill his "great expectations" of fame and fortune is presented in Charles Dickens's classic tale of love, madness, forgiveness, and redemption. Simon Vance's masterful narration brings to life such diverse personalities as Miss Havisham, the old woman who was abandoned on her wedding day and is determined to wreak revenge through her beautiful adopted daughter Estella; Joe, Pip's lumbering and slow-witted, but emotionally wise and faithful friend; the mysterious Magwitch, a convict who turns out to be Pip's financial benefactor; and Pip, the boy who longs for a destiny greater than that of living out his days as a blacksmith's apprentice. The companion ebook features automatic start-up, keyword searching, PDF printable format, and table of contents. An exceptionally skilled rendering of this classic.-Cindy Lombardo, Cleveland Public Library, OH
From the Publisher
"Expertly narrated by Simon Vance, with a PDF copy of the book included on the first disc." Library Journal Starred Audio Review
Sally Mitchell Temple University
“The notes to this edition of Great Expectations are extremely helpful, and the supporting materials are useful, clear, and well-selected. Law and Pinnington have put together an edition that takes into account what the contemporary (and especially, the non-British) reader needs in order to appreciate the novel. All in all, this is an excellent edition.”
Carol Hanbery MacKay University of Texas - Austin
"It is high time for this Dickens masterpiece to receive the kind of critical and contextual attention that this edition of Great Expectations affords. The editors provide essential information about Dickens's compositional as well as publishing practices, and they further support this background with a sampling of the lively contemporary dialogue about the text in the periodicals of the day. They issues raised by the novel—namely class and language, and crime and punishment—are amply explored by pertinent historical documentation, including highly-charged autobiographical writing by Dickens himself that was not available to his contemporary readership. Moreover, the introduction expertly guides the reader though the application of these materials in a creative and inviting manner. Law and Pinnington have gathered together an impressive array of contemporary documents to promote an informed reading of this classic text...In particular, the maps and illustrations of the novel's various settings allow the non-expert to quickly gain insights which should lead to intriguing arguments about how the novel has worked—for its own time as well as our own. I especially commend the editors for their resourceful choices related to the Victorian conception of what constitutes a true gentleman—itself perhaps the key question that helps to unlock the novel."
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 iswhat'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 questionwhat's the point? (Graphic Classics) Reviewer: Jan Chapman
Expertly narrated by Simon Vance, with a PDF copy of the book included on the first disc. Great Expectations also won an Audie in 2010 for classic and solo narration—male (Audio Connoisseur, narrated by Charlton Griffin), but that edition will likely be more difficult for libraries to acquire.
Read an Excerpt
My father's family name being Pirrip, and my christian name Philip, my
infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than
Pip. So, I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip.
I give Pirrip as my father's family name, on the authority of his tombstone
and my sister – Mrs. Joe Gargery, who married the blacksmith. As I never saw
my father or my mother, and never saw any likeness of either of them (for
their days were long before the days of photographs), my first fancies
regarding what they were like, were unreasonably derived from their
tombstones. The shape of the letters on my father's, gave me an odd idea
that he was a square, stout, dark man, with curly black hair. From the
character and turn of the inscription, "Also Georgiana Wife of the Above,"
I drew a childish conclusion that my mother was freckled and sickly. To
five little stone lozenges, each about a foot and a half long, which were
arranged in a neat row beside their grave, and were sacred to the memory of
five little brothers of mine – who gave up trying to get a living exceedingly
early in that universal struggle – I am indebted for a belief I religiously
entertained that they had all been born on their backs with their hands in
their trousers-pockets, and had never taken them out in this state of
Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within as the river wound,
twenty miles of the sea. My first most vivid and broad impression of the
identity of things, seems to me to have been gained on a memorable raw
afternoon towards evening. At such a time Ifound out for certain, that
this bleak place overgrown with nettles was the churchyard; and that Philip
Pirrip, late of this parish, and also Georgiana wife of the above, were
dead and buried; and that Alexander, Bartholomew, Abraham, Tobias, and
Roger, infant children of the aforesaid, were also dead and buried; and
that the dark flat wilderness beyond the churchyard, intersected with dykes
and mounds and gates, with scattered cattle feeding on it, was the marshes;
and that the low leaden line beyond was the river; and that the distant
savage lair from which the wind was rushing, was the sea; and that the
small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all and beginning to cry, was
"Hold your noise!" cried a terrible voice, as a man started up from among
the graves at the side of the church porch. "Keep still, you little devil,
or I'll cut your throat!"
A fearful man, all in coarse grey, with a great iron on his leg. A man with
no hat, and with broken shoes, and with an old rag tied round his head. A
man who had been soaked in water, and smothered in mud, and lamed by
stones, and cut by flints, and stung by nettles, and torn by briars; who
limped, and shivered, and glared and growled; and whose teeth chattered in
his head as he seized me by the chin.
"Oh! Don't cut my throat, sir," I pleaded in terror. "Pray don't do it,
"Tell us your name!" said the man. "Quick!"
"Once more," said the man, staring at me. "Give it mouth!"
From the Paperback edition.
What People are saying about this
Observe how finely the narrative is kept in one key. It begins with a mournful impessionthe foggy marshes spreading drearily by the seaward Thamesand throughout recurs this effect of cold and damp and dreariness; in that kind Dickens never did anything so good.... No story in the first person was ever better told.
From the Publisher
Winner of the 2012 Fifty Books/Fifty Covers show, organized by Design Observer in association with AIGA and Designers & Books
Winner of the 2014 Type Directors Club Communication Design Award
Praise for Penguin Drop Caps:
"[Penguin Drop Caps] convey a sense of nostalgia for the tactility and aesthetic power of a physical book and for a centuries-old tradition of beautiful lettering."
“Vibrant, minimalist new typographic covers…. Bonus points for the heartening gender balance of the initial selections.”
—Maria Popova, Brain Pickings
"The Penguin Drop Caps series is a great example of the power of design. Why buy these particular classics when there are less expensive, even free editions of Great Expectations? Because they’re beautiful objects. Paul Buckley and Jessica Hische’s fresh approach to the literary classics reduces the design down to typography and color. Each cover is foil-stamped with a cleverly illustrated letterform that reveals an element of the story. Jane Austen’s A (Pride and Prejudice) is formed by opulent peacock feathers and Charlotte Bronte’s B (Jane Eyre) is surrounded by flames. The complete set forms a rainbow spectrum prettier than anything else on your bookshelf."
—Rex Bonomelli, The New York Times
"Classic reads in stunning covers—your book club will be dying."
Great Expectations is the first novel I read that made me wish I had written it; it is the novel that made me want to be a novelistspecifically, to move a reader as I was moved then. I believe that Great Expectations has the most wonderful and most perfectly worked-out plot for a novel in the English language; at the same time, it never deviates from its intention to move you to laugher and tears.