Great Expectations

Great Expectations

by Charles Dickens
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Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Great Expectations follows the life of the orphan, Pip. We first meet him as a tiny, terrified child in a village churchyard. Years later, through the help of an anonymous benefactor, Pip will travel to London, full of expectations to become a gentleman. But his life is already inextricably tangled in a mystery that surrounds a beautiful woman, an embittered recluse, and an ambitious lawyer.

Great Expectations is both a finely crafted novel and an acute examination of Victorian society. Filled with unforgettable settings and characters, it achieves greater dramatic richness through Frank Muller's masterful narration. Dickens supplied two endings to this great work. Both are included in the recording.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9783829029681
Publisher: Konemann
Publication date: 03/28/1999
Series: Cloth Bound Pocket Series
Product dimensions: 4.93(w) x 6.85(h) x 1.05(d)

About the Author

A literary phenomenon in his lifetime and renowned as much for his journalism and public speaking as for his novels, Charles Dickens now ranks as the most important Victorian writer and one of the most influential and popular authors in the English language. His memorable and vividly rendered characters and his combination of humour, trenchant satire and compassion have left an indelible mark on our collective imagination.

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


Home-schooling; attended Dame School at Chatham briefly and Wellington

Read an Excerpt

Chapter I.

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!"

"Pip, sir."

"Once more," said the man, staring at me. "Give it mouth!"

From the Paperback edition.

Table of Contents

Chronology of Charles Dickens's Life and Workxv
Historical Context of Great Expectationsxvii
Great Expectations1
The Original Ending of Great Expectations599
Interpretive Notes614
Critical Excerpts621
Questions for Discussion631
Suggestions for the Interested Reader633

What People are Saying About This

George Gissing

Observe how finely the narrative is kept in one key. It begins with a mournful impession—the foggy marshes spreading drearily by the seaward Thames—and 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."
Fast Company

“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."

John Irving

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 novelist—specifically, 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.

Reading Group Guide

Pip, a poor orphan being raised by a cruel sister, does not have much in the way of great expectations between his terrifying experience in a graveyard with a convict named Magwitch and his humiliating visits with the eccentric Miss Havisham's beautiful but manipulative niece, Estella, who torments him until he is elevated to wealth by an anonymous benefactor. Full of unforgettable characters, Great Expectations is a tale of intrigue, unattainable love, and all of the happiness money can't buy. Great Expectations has the most wonderful and most perfectly worked-out plot for a novel in the English language, according to John Irving, and J. Hillis Miller declares, Great Expectations is the most unified and concentrated expression of Dickens's abiding sense of the world, and Pip might be called the archetypal Dickens hero.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

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Great Expectations 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 330 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This "free" book begins with chapter 30. I assume there are at least two other volumes to this book, but I do not know how to find them as there are no distinguishing notations in the title advising you that this is a later volume, and none of the other versions advise you that they are the earlier verision. A rotten trick. What good is part 3? At least give us part one which would tempt us in and leave us wanting to PURCHASE the real book to finish it. THIS is pointless.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The pages were badly scanned
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too many errors
Jennifer Kirila More than 1 year ago
I actually love this book and was excited to find it for free. Unfortunately, the book is so riddled with typographical errors and strange characters that it's virtually impossible to read. I'm going to go hunt around for one that is error free, even if I have to pay.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This has too many typos and this is very confusing. The book itself was great but it is missing chapters. IT DOES NOT EVEN START AT THE FIRST CHAPTER!!! Someone should really make this clear and typo-less.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was quite dismayed to discover that this edition starts at chapter thirty. Neddless to say I am glad I did not pay anything for it
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was boring at first but then it got better and better with a bunch of events being thrown at you all at the same time. With every event unexpected you never know whats going to happen next. I reccomend this book to anyone from 3rd grade to 12th that likes the unexpected.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Have people no idea what the differebces are between Old, Middle and Modern English. The original Beowulf and Canterbury Tales were Old English. To modern Americans Old English is indecipherable. Check out Beowulf as Chaucer wrote it. Then you will experience Old Eng. It is not found in Dickens nor in Shakespeare for that matter. What are they teaching?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is epic
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book.
SarcasticCynic More than 1 year ago
Seriously, I would rather scoop my eye out with a rusty spoon than read this again. Personally I find Dickens' writing style boring and verbose. Save yourself the agony and read the cliff notes.
Anonymous 7 months ago
It's very British and written in older English phrasing. It's an interesting story, but the pacing is quite slow in some parts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nnnns amazing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I lean on his shoulder
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walks in wearing a black tee d black ripped skinny jeans. Holding pierces hand
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walked in.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Next res
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Scanned text. So many errors that it is completely unreadable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Solomiya Nysak More than 1 year ago
I had great expectations (pun intended) about this book, but unfortunately I was not impressed. I know that Great Expectations is regarded as one of Dickens' most important works, but personally I didn't find it interesting. At the beginning, Magwitch's confrontation with Pip did get me hooked, but the events that ensued slowly drained my interests. Although there were plenty of events going on like Orlick disabling Mrs. Joe and Miss Havisham's dress catching on fire, the story seemed dull and flat at times. I felt that it was too wordy. The characters were quite vivid and very different from each other. From Orlick's wickedness to Joe's kindness, every character seemed unique to me.  I despised the plot twists within the story, especially because there were so many. Besides the plot twist involving Magwitch being the benefactor of Pip, all the other ones seemed pointless. The lengthy descriptions and nineteenth-century language created a dull atmosphere. For example, Dickens spent almost three pages describing how Mrs. Joe put the butter on the roll at the beginning! As for the ending, I think it was disappointing because it was not believable. I can't understand the enthusiastic praise the book always receives. Perhaps I failed to see the profoundness that makes it into a beloved classic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago