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Companion to Charles Dickens Series: MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT, The

Metz, Nancy Aycock
Helm Information Ltd
ISBN: 1873403844
Pages: 554
Format: Hardcover in Dustjacket
Quantity in stock: 0

Condition: FINE

Price: $50.00 (inc GST)


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Dickens's thirteenth novel has remained pre-eminent among readers for good reasons.Great Expectations (published originally as a weekly serial in All the Year Round from 1 December 1860 to 3 August 1861) has an attractive yet flawed first-person narrator. The plot moves forward with compelling momentum, fuelled by mystery, romance and reversals and graced with an artistry many consider Dickens's most nearly perfect literary achievement.
   This new study sets out to recover and illuminate the Victorian culture and allusive verbal worlds that inform the novel. How distinctive are the story's temporal and topographical settings? How carefully has Dickens integrated Pip's life’s story with the embedded histories of a mad, jilted spinster, a beautiful orphan girl, an unscrupulous con man, a fierce yet tender convict and a brilliant criminal lawyer?


About Volume 7: The Companion to ‘Great Expectations’, by David Paroissien The main aim of the ‘Companions’ series to Dickens novels (formerly published by Unwin Hyman) is to provide much more detailed factual and discursive annotations to the texts of Dickens’s fifteen novels than traditional editions usually provide, and Paroissien’s knowledgeable commentary (over 400 pages of it) achieves this admirably. The annotations are clearly keyed to the Norton text of Great Expectations, edited by Edgar Rosenberg (q. v.), but will function with any modern edition. There is a generous accompaniment of illustrations and maps to support the annotations and three geographical appendices, which, as Paroissien explains in a helpful introduction (1-14), are important because Dickens’s ‘compelling topographical verisimilitude’ in the novel arises from his having based the novel on worlds he had known from childhood: ‘the Hoo peninsula of north-east Kent, the city of Rochester ...and the various London locales that appear’ (7). Two other appendices offer information about the complex chronology of the action (‘The Sequence of Events in Pip’s Narrative’) and dates and statistics cocerning the ‘Serial Instalments in ‘All The Year Round’, the weekly magazine in which the novel was originally published. The book will be particularly useful to those who teach ‘Great Expectations’ as a set text, and who need to field all manner of questions relating to the Victorian way of life and Dickens’s use of slang, topical references, literary allusion, and so forth. It is a mine of interesting information in its own right, scrupulously sourced, and read in conjunction with the novel, will prove a valuable corrective to the tendency to over-theorise readings of the text, at the expense of understanding its socio-historical context.


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