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The Old Curiosity Shop (Everyman's Library Series)
     

The Old Curiosity Shop (Everyman's Library Series)

3.9 43
by Charles Dickens, Peter Washington (Editor)
 

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Charles Dickens’s story of selfless Little Nell and her ailing grandfather and their persecution by the magnificently malignant villain Quilp has seized the imaginations and wrung the hearts of generations of readers.

Dickens’s talent was superabundant in every way: in his dramatic force and his massive productivity, in his almost surreal comic

Overview

Charles Dickens’s story of selfless Little Nell and her ailing grandfather and their persecution by the magnificently malignant villain Quilp has seized the imaginations and wrung the hearts of generations of readers.

Dickens’s talent was superabundant in every way: in his dramatic force and his massive productivity, in his almost surreal comic power, in his compassion and thirst for justice, and in the imaginative pressure he brought to bear on even the most incidental of his characters. The delightfully various figures in The Old Curiosity Shop range memorably from jaunty Dick Swiveller and his little half-starved Marchioness to the hard-hearted siblings Sampson and Sally Brass, jovial Mrs. Jarley, devoted Kit Nubbles, the hunchbacked Daniel Quilp, and, of course, tragic Little Nell herself. Dickens’s depiction of the fate of his main characters is famously harrowing and unfailingly suspenseful, but not the least of its charms is that it is embellished with a supporting cast of figures as grotesque and colorful as anything in the Old Curiosity Shop itself.
           
This edition reprints the original Everyman’s preface by G. K. Chesterton and features seventy-five illustrations by Cattermole and Phiz.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679443735
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/28/1995
Series:
Everyman's Library
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
624
Sales rank:
328,230
Product dimensions:
5.41(w) x 8.28(h) x 1.60(d)

Meet the Author

Charles Dickens was born in a little house in Landport, Portsea, England, on February 7, 1812. The second of eight children, he grew up in a family frequently beset by financial insecurity. At age eleven, Dickens was taken out of school and sent to work in London backing warehouse, where his job was to paste labels on bottles for six shillings a week. His father John Dickens, was a warmhearted but improvident man. When he was condemned the Marshela Prison for unpaid debts, he unwisely agreed that Charles should stay in lodgings and continue working while the rest of the family joined him in jail. This three-month separation caused Charles much pain; his experiences as a child alone in a huge city–cold, isolated with barely enough to eat–haunted him for the rest of his life.

When the family fortunes improved, Charles went back to school, after which he became an office boy, a freelance reporter and finally an author. With Pickwick Papers (1836-7) he achieved immediate fame; in a few years he was easily the post popular and respected writer of his time. It has been estimated that one out of every ten persons in Victorian England was a Dickens reader. Oliver Twist (1837), Nicholas Nickleby (1838-9) and The Old Curiosity Shop (1840-41) were huge successes. Martin Chuzzlewit (1843-4) was less so, but Dickens followed it with his unforgettable, A Christmas Carol (1843), Bleak House (1852-3), Hard Times (1854) and Little Dorrit (1855-7) reveal his deepening concern for the injustices of British Society. A Tale of Two Cities (1859), Great Expectations (1860-1) and Our Mutual Friend (1864-5) complete his major works.

Dickens's marriage to Catherine Hoggarth produced ten children but ended in separation in 1858. In that year he began a series of exhausting public readings; his health gradually declined. After putting in a full day's work at his home at Gads Hill, Kent on June 8, 1870, Dickens suffered a stroke, and he died the following day.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
February 7, 1812
Date of Death:
June 18, 1870
Place of Birth:
Portsmouth, England
Place of Death:
Gad's Hill, Kent, England
Education:
Home-schooling; attended Dame School at Chatham briefly and Wellington

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The Old Curiosity Shop 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 43 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ah, Dickens. If only we could spend our days only with you. He truly is The Inimitable. I won't lie to you, folks. This book isn't perfect. If you haven't read David Copperfield, Great Expectations or Oliver Twist (the three i'd read before this one) - i'd go for one of those. Any Dickens novel, though, if its your first, will be a remarkable experience. His devotion to CHARACTER, and PLOT (don't know how to use italics, so capitals will do for emphasis), as opposed to getting bogged down in long dissertations on what he thinks the story's about, like many Victorians did - is incredible. He did so much for creating the NOVEL as we know it today. When you pick up Old Curiosity Shop, or another one, just try and have fun. Settle back in a nice comfortable chair, and go back in time to Victorian England, and walk through the streets with these remarkable characters, characters that you WILL remember after you've turned the final page. And there are memorable characters in this one. Curiosity Shop has copped a lot of flack in recent years on charges of sentimentality. My answer to that is a shrug. The book's also uneven, and i should warn you that its not actually written in the first person - you lose the narrator you begin with after the first few chapters - which i found slightly deceptive. But don't think of it in analytical terms, think of it as a young Dickens, only twenty five, having only published Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickelebey, and being the hottest new thing in Victorian England. People wait on streetcorners, howling for the next number of Dickens's journals, which carry monthly installments of his novels. But i can't possibly reproduce, and i won't try, the sights sounds and smells of his stories, which if you sit down with them in a quiet place for long enough, you become part of. The Old Curiosity Shop is really about Nell, a little girl, a pure soul, who's surrounded by a bunch of lunatics! Some of the funny, some of them terrifying. What kept Victorians buying the numbers, i think, was wanting to know what happens to Nell in this horrible atmosphere, but i found myself in sheer delight over the characters - which is the most important thing i ask of a novel.
EverythingFragrant More than 1 year ago
Dickens knew that the monsters of fairy tales really do exist in life. He often places an innocent child into the midst of monsters, all disguised of course as fathers and mothers, sisters, brothers, aunts and uncles, judges, lawyers, and without a doubt one of the scariest of them all, schoolmasters. In The Old Curiosity Shop, He gives us the story of Little Nell, orphaned, trapped in poverty, and in the care of one of the book's biggest monsters, her grandfather. If you have never read a Dickens novel, I recommend that you start elsewhere, like Great Expectations. If you like starting at the top, then Bleak House. But if you like Dickens and are looking for more, you'll love this book. The great monsters are here, such as Quilp the sexy dwarf. The classic confused , absurd combinations of man and beast are here, such as Dick Swiveler, the priceless minute descriptions of things that is particular to Dickens' genius are here. If you love Dickens, you'll love this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A cat watches the camp silently from the brush surrounding the camp filled with cats. Feeling no good reason to make their precense known they stay still watching.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A pale tan and yellow apprentice with very long claws as sharp as razors and teeth like needles walks in and slumps down in a leech den sleeping
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He watched the camp silently.
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K got it
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent story. I had to adjust to the "old style" of writing but I enjoyed it.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too many errors almost unreadable.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I remembered reading this book as a kid so it was a joy to revisit it, but this edition is filled with errors. It was obviously scanned and compiled by software and not edited. It might be worth dowloading to sample but I ended up buying a real edition.
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The_BibliophileJM More than 1 year ago
What is there left to say about Charles Dickens? The Old Curiosity Shop is why Dickens holds his own in the circle of classical liturature. Dripping with Dickens charm, The Old Curiosity Shop is an understanding tale about the traps of addiction, the iron fist of poverty, and the abounding strength of love and the human spirit. Readers can empathize with pure, little Nell, steadfast and courageous Kit, and even Nell's frail, but good hearted grandfather, as they go through a string of discouragements brought on by debt. The Old Cusiosity Shop deserves a place in every school library and on every book shelf in every American home. Get your children started on Dickens as early as possible. Dickens isn't something you can afford to grow up without.