GREAT EXPECTATIONS is Charles Dickens' thirteenth novel and his penultimate completed novel; a bildungsroman which depicts the personal growth and personal development of an orphan nicknamed Pip. It is Dickens's second novel, after David Copperfield, to be fully narrated in the first person. The novel was first published as a serial in Dickens's weekly periodical All the Year Round, from 1 December 1860 to August 1861. In October 1861, Chapman and Hall published the novel in three volumes.
It is set among marshes in Kent, and in London, in the early to mid-1800s, and contains some of Dickens' most memorable scenes, including the opening, in a graveyard, where the young Pip is accosted by the escaped convict, Abel Magwitch. GREAT EXPECTATIONS is full of extreme imagery -poverty; prison ships and chains, and fights to the death-and has a colorful cast of characters who have entered popular culture. Dickens's themes include wealth and poverty, love and rejection, and the eventual triumph of good over evil. GREAT EXPECTATIONS is popular both with readers and literary critics, and has been translated into many languages, and adapted numerous times into various media.
Upon its release, the novel received near universal acclaim. Thomas Carlyle spoke disparagingly of "all that Pip's nonsense". Later, George Bernard Shaw praised the novel, as "All of one piece and consistently truthful." During the serial publication, Dickens was pleased with public response to GREAT EXPECTATIONS and its sales; when the plot first formed in his mind, he called it "a very fine, new and grotesque idea." (more on www.wisehouse-classics.com)
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About the Author
Charles Dickens (1812-1870) is probably the greatest novelist England has ever produced, the author of such well-known classics as A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, David Copperfield and Oliver Twist. His innate comic genius and shrewd depictions of Victorian life — along with his indelible characters — have made his books beloved by readers the world over.
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
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
So...my thoughts ranged from positive to negative throughout the whole book. Before reading, I had hoped that I'd at least somewhat like it. And now, after reading, I do like it somewhat. However, there were points when I disliked the book and/or found it boring. Was that flowery paragraph about the wind really necessary? Pip is an orphaned lower-class young boy who lives with his strict sister and her husband. At first he is content to be a mere blacksmith apprentice, until he receives a mysterious fortune that allows him to rise into the higher class. He navigates life's ups and downs in the city, learning important life lessons along the way and making some shocking discoveries. Dickens's talent for creating interesting characters and eventful plotlines is evident in this novel, but so is his tendency for inserting long, dragging descriptions of who knows what. These descriptions usually prevented me from becoming immersed into the story, which was disappointing. However, the backstories and connections of each of the characters was always intriguing, and I was sometimes genuinely and pleasantly surprised at the plot twists. The author's portrayal of society around him was also thought-inducing, and I kept wondering what people during his time thought of his criticism. Did Dickens inspire them to rethink about society, or did they dismiss him as an exaggerator? Or did they simply read this story as a story to entertain, not advise? It's an interesting topic to ponder. I would recommend this novel to anyone who likes classic books or books with deep symbolic meanings.