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David Copperfield: The Personal History of David Copperfield (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

Charles Dickens , H.K. Browne , Jeremy Tambling
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (268 customer reviews)
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Book Description

24 Jun 2004 Penguin Classics

Drawing on Charles Dickens's own, often difficult childhood, to create a compelling story of personal success, David Copperfield is edited with an introduction and notes by Jeremy Tambling in Penguin Classics.

David Copperfield is the story of a young man's adventures on his journey from an unhappy and impoverished childhood to the discovery of his vocation as a successful novelist. Among the gloriously vivid cast of characters he encounters are his tyrannical stepfather, Mr Murdstone; his brilliant, but ultimately unworthy school-friend James Steerforth; his formidable aunt, Betsey Trotwood; the eternally humble, yet treacherous Uriah Heep; frivolous, enchanting Dora Spenlow; and the magnificently impecunious Wilkins Micawber, one of literature's great comic creations. In David Copperfield - the novel he described as his 'favourite child' - Dickens drew revealingly on his own experiences to create one of the most exuberant and enduringly popular works, filled with tragedy and comedy in equal measure.

This edition uses the text of the first volume publication of 1850, and includes updated suggestions for further reading, original illustrations by 'Phiz', a revised chronology and expanded notes. In his new introduction, Jeremy Tambling discusses the novel's autobiographical elements, and its central themes of memory and identity.

Charles Dickens is one of the best-loved novelists in the English language, whose 200th anniversary was celebrated in 2012. His most famous books, including Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield and The Pickwick Papers, have been adapted for stage and screen and read by millions.

If you enjoyed David Copperfield, you might like Dickens's Great Expectations, also available in Penguin Classics.

'The most perfect of all the Dickens novels'

Virginia Woolf

Frequently Bought Together

David Copperfield: The Personal History of David Copperfield (Penguin Classics) + A Tale of Two Cities (Wordsworth Classics) + The Old Curiosity Shop (Wordsworth Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 1024 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (24 Jun 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140439447
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140439441
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 4.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (268 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 352,626 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"The greatest achievement of the greatest of all novelists" (Leo Tolstoy)

"David Copperfield is Dickens's Hamlet... I can't remember being so moved by one of his novels... What puts David Copperfield right up there with Bleak House and Great Expectations, however, is its sweet nature, and its surprising modernity... Completing David Copperfield has left me feeling bereft" (Nick Hornby)

"I couldn't put it down" (Barbara Taylor Bradford)

"There were never such people as the Micawbers, Peggotty and Barkis, Traddles, Betsey Trotwood and Mr. Dick, Uriah Heep and his mother. They are fantastic inventions of Dickens's exultant imagination...you can never quite forget them" (W. Somerset Maugham)

"Dickens is huge - like the sky. Pick any page of Dickens and it's immediately recognizable as him, yet he might be doing social satire, or farce, or horror, or a psychological study of a murderer - or any combination of these" (Susannah Clarke) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

'The most perfect of all the Dickens novels' Virginia Woolf --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Whether I shall turn out to be the hero1 of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Tale of Two Halves 9 Nov 2012
By Harris
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've now read D.C. three times and it gets better every time. It was apparently his own favourite book and certainly seems to draw heavily on his own past at times. But ... there's always a point, just after the first half of the book, when it loses its initial momentum and brilliance - basically as David starts to grow up and become an adult. And at times it lapses into the mushy sentiment and melodrama that is always a bit of a mountain to climb for modern readers. In other words, it's at its best when David is a child, and the vulnerability that Dickens must have experienced so painfully himself, is always present. But there's always such a wonderful parade of characters throughout the book: Betsy Trotwood is one of the best female characters throughout his novels (and one of the few convincing ones to my mind) with her fear of intruding donkeys and blunt ways, and the sympathetically drawn mentally-fragile Mr Dick. The Micawbers, of course, and 'umble' Uriah Heap, who has to be one of the most loathsome villains in the history of fiction, and then there's the terrifying Murdstones, who never get the come-uppance you feel they deserve.
Although the narrator is the adult looking back, one feels that he never loses the boy he describes so well, and that I'm sure is probably true of Dickens, who unlike most adults, retained that inner child to an unusual degree. The caricatures that are such a hallmark of Dickens style, singling out oddities and building on them to create characters, is straight out of a child's mind, and never does he do it better than here.
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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His Favourite 4 Jan 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was Dickens' own personal favourite of all his novels, and here we are presented it with an active table of contents. There is no doubt that this is a great novel and has been admired by Tolstoy and Woolf amongst many authors who have enjoyed it or have been given inspiration due to it. Of all Dickens' novels this is also his most autobiographical.

The story although long is simple in itself, it is the tale of David Copperfield from his birth through to his maturity, what obstacles he faces in life and what friends he makes. With a whole host of great characters there is nothing to dislike with this tale, and in the case of Betsy Trotwood, were inspired by real people. Betsy was based on Mary Strong who lived at Broadstairs and really did chase the boys and their donkeys off her lawn, resulting in legal proceedings being initiated. Other characters and events were based on real happenings.

If you like to read for pleasure and want to immerse yourself in something that is really great then you can't really go wrong with this book.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is not just a book 14 Feb 2008
By Justix
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is not just a book, it's more of a whole of life experience. You will have to prepare yourself for the long haul and almost breathe your way through Mr Copperfield's life. But it is worth it because it is quite a life story and you will get to know and like or even dislike quite a few people along the way. I read it because I had enjoyed Oliver Twist and Great Expectations and love to understand and appreciate the simplicities and difficulties of the Victorian way of life and the great characters Dickens always invents.... and to be sure, he didn't let me down with this one either.

It's a long read and not for the faint hearted in any way. Some passages are long and by todays standards very cumbersome and long winded but if you like a good story, great characters and fancy a step out of the digital age for a while then this is for you.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MAGNIFICENT NOVEL 29 Feb 2004
This book is amazing and touching. Normally I would not attempt to read such a big book but I felt like a challenging read and I can not put it down. It is the story of David's life and I would recommend it to anybody since it is the only novel that has ever brought a tear to my eye. For me, this is not a book that I can read and return to a library, I need a copy of the magic within. The language may be difficult to understand at first but if you are patient, you will get the hang of it and it will be many times more rewarding. When reading a book, I like to read the story and come to the end of the book so that I know how it ends but with David Copperfield, of course I want to come to the end, but I also want to make the book last. I have been reading it for a month now and I still have 1/4 of the book to read. Because it is taking to long, it feels to me as though I am following David slowly through his life and I believe that is how this novel should be read.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Put it on your Kindle Library Today 10 Jun 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
David Copperfield is the classic coming of age story, and supposedly Dickens favourite novel out of all his brilliant work. David as a boy grows up without a father and is raised by his mother and her loyal maid, Clara Peggoty. All is good until David's mother marries the indignant Mr. Murdstone. David is sent off to Boarding school, run by a cruel schoolmaster Mr. Creakle. David's mother dies and at the age of 10, the boy is sent to work in London. He runs away to search for his aunt, Betsy Trotwood, who eventually adopts him. The second part of this novel shows the grown-up David Copperfiel apprenticed as a clerk to work in a law firm. He meets his boss's daughter Dora and falls in love and we meet the infamous and revolting Lawyer, Uriah Heap. Disaster is around the corner but all will be re-deemed.

Superbly crafted classic that sits invitingly in my Kindle library.

The Spire Chronicle
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