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Great Expectations
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Great Expectations Paperback - 2002

by Charles Dickens; Charlotte Mitchell (Editor); Introduction by David Trotter

"Great Expectations" is at once a superbly constructed novel of spellbinding mastery and a profound examination of moral values. Here, some of Dickens's most memorable characters come to play their part in a story whose title itself reflects the deep irony that shaped Dickens's searching reappraisal of the Victorian middle class.


About this book

Great Expectations is a classic novel by Charles Dickens, published in 1861. It tells the story of Pip, a young orphan boy brought up by his abusive sister and her blacksmith husband in rural England. Pip dreams of becoming a gentleman and escaping poverty, but his life takes a dramatic turn when he receives a large fortune from an anonymous benefactor. As he rises in society, he becomes involved with a host of colorful characters, including the eccentric Miss Havisham and her adopted daughter Estella, and learns valuable lessons about love, loyalty, and the true meaning of happiness. The novel is considered one of Dickens' greatest works and a masterpiece of English literature.

Summary

The orphan Pip’s terrifying encounter with an escaped convict on the Kent marshes, and his mysterious summons to the house of Miss Havisham and her cold, beautiful ward Estella, form the prelude to his “great expectations.” How Pip comes into a fortune, what he does with it, and what he discovers through his secret benefactor are the ingredients of his struggle for moral redemption.


 

From the publisher

Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Landport, Portsea, England. He died in Kent on June 9, 1870. The second of eight children of a family continually plagued by debt, the young Dickens came to know not only hunger and privation,but also the horror of the infamous debtors’ prison and the evils of child labor. A turn of fortune in the shape of a legacy brought release from the nightmare of prison and “slave” factories and afforded Dickens the opportunity of two years’ formal schooling at Wellington House Academy. He worked as an attorney’s clerk and newspaper reporter until his Sketches by Boz (1836) and The Pickwick Papers (1837) brought him the amazing and instant success that was to be his for the remainder of his life. In later years, the pressure of serial writing, editorial duties, lectures, and social commitments led to his separation from Catherine Hogarth after twenty-three years of marriage. It also hastened his death at the age of fifty-eight, when he was characteristically engaged in a multitude of work.


Charlotte Mitchell is lecturer in English at University College London.


David Trotter is Quain Professor of English Language at the University College London.


Charlotte Mitchell is lecturer in English at University College London.

First Edition Identification

Great Expectations by Dickens was first published on 6 July 1861 in London by Chapman and Hall. It is considered not only the rarest and most valuable of Dickens's works, but arguably his greatest. Copies in the original cloth are particularly desirable.

Published in 3 volumes, the first edition of Great Expectations has the original publisher’s violet wavy-grain cloth binding with floral decoration in blind on covers and spines lettered in gilt.

Five impressions of the first edition were printed, each of the latter four with a new edition statement on the title page.

The first edition first issue of Great Expectations’ rarity has been attributed to the probable small binding-up of copies with the first title page, coupled with the fact that the first edition was almost entirely taken up by the libraries.


Details

  • Title Great Expectations
  • Author Charles Dickens; Charlotte Mitchell (Editor); Introduction by David Trotter
  • Binding Paperback
  • Edition [ Edition: Repri
  • Pages 544
  • Volumes 1
  • Language ENG
  • Publisher Penguin Group, London
  • Date 2002-12-31
  • Features Bibliography, Maps
  • ISBN 9780141439563 / 0141439564
  • Weight 0.8 lbs (0.36 kg)
  • Dimensions 7.68 x 5.06 x 0.91 in (19.51 x 12.85 x 2.31 cm)
  • Ages 18 to UP years
  • Grade levels 13 - UP
  • Reading level 890
  • Library of Congress subjects England, Bildungsromans
  • Library of Congress Catalog Number 2003277030
  • Dewey Decimal Code FIC

Media reviews

Citations

  • Entertainment Weekly, 08/19/2011, Page 109

About the author

Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Landport, Portsea, England. He died in Kent on June 9, 1870. The second of eight children of a family continually plagued by debt, the young Dickens came to know not only hunger and privation, but also the horror of the infamous debtors' prison and the evils of child labor. A turn of fortune in the shape of a legacy brought release from the nightmare of prison and "slave" factories and afforded Dickens the opportunity of two years' formal schooling at Wellington House Academy. He worked as an attorney's clerk and newspaper reporter until his Sketches by Boz (1836) and The Pickwick Papers (1837) brought him the amazing and instant success that was to be his for the remainder of his life. In later years, the pressure of serial writing, editorial duties, lectures, and social commitments led to his separation from Catherine Hogarth after twenty-three years of marriage. It also hastened his death at the age of fifty-eight, when he was characteristically engaged in a multitude of work.

David Trotter is Quain Professor of English Language and Literature and Head of Department at University College London.

Charlotte Mitchell is Lecturer in English at University College London.

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