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Great Expectations (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

Charles Dickens
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)

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Book Description

22 Dec 1998 Penguin Classics
Great Expectations charts the progress of Pip from childhood through often painful experiences to adulthood, as he moves from the Kent marshes to busy, commercial London, encountering a variety of extraordinary characters ranging from Magwitch, the escaped convict, to Miss Havisham, locked up with her unhappy past and living with her ward, the arrogant, beautiful Estella. Pip must discover his true self, and his own set of values and priorities. Whether such values allow one to prosper in the complex world of early Victorian England is the major question posed by Great Expectations, one of Dickens's most fascinating, and disturbing, novels. This edition includes the original, discarded ending, Dickens's brief working notes, and the serial instalments and chapter divisions in different editions. It also uses the definitive Clarendon text.

Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Longman; 1 edition (22 Dec 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140434895
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140434897
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.2 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 816,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Charles Dickens was born in 1812 near Portsmouth where his father was a clerk in the navy pay office. The family moved to London in 1823, but their fortunes were severely impaired. Dickens was sent to work in a blacking-warehouse when his father was imprisoned for debt. Both experiences deeply affected the future novelist. In 1833 he began contributing stories to newspapers and magazines, and in 1836 started the serial publication of Pickwick Papers. Thereafter, Dickens published his major novels over the course of the next twenty years, from Nicholas Nickleby to Little Dorrit. He also edited the journals Household Words and All the Year Round. Dickens died in June 1870.

Product Description


The Puffin Classics series is a perfect marriage of the old and the new. Enjoy some of the best books from the past and find out why and how they inspired some of the best writers of the present (Julia Eccleshare Lovereading4kids) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

A major new adaptation, forming part of the BBC's celebration of Dickens and the bicentenary of his birth in 2012. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
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. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
79 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Addictive 20 Jan 2006
By A Customer
I spent most of my 45 years since leaving school doing my best to avoid anything by Charles Dickens, quite why, I'm not sure. A recent illness and enforced idleness had me rummaging around some books I had come by and there was Great Expectations. I thought I'd try just the first chapter, but was hooked from the first page. This is one helluva book! The pace, the characterisation, the plot, the atmosphere, the everything are masterly. But it isn't all misery as there are frequent moments of irony and typically English gallows humour. Outstanding, but it'll make you cry.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It does it for me everytime........ 9 April 2007
By Jen
I have a handful of books I can read over and again and this is top of the list, it may even be my desert island choice. The descriptive passages are wonderful and the characters are so richly painted. Pip and Joe is the best relationship - some funny moments, sad moments and some really heartbreaking moments. Every time I get to the part where Pip thinks he is too good for Joe and Joe irritates him it makes my skin crawl. Estella is a wonderful character, cruel, cold and twisted but not her fault and she ends up in a sad situation. Miss Havisham - a truly creepy lady, what an excellent creation. The story is fabulous with such a great ending - who would have thought? This book is absolutely fantastic. Brilliant characters, described so well that the most unimaginative reader will have vivid mental images of them all and you won't forgot them or this book. Ever.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sad as a Thames twilight 27 Feb 2003
Having just read G E for the first time, what strikes me is its infinite sadness and sense of melancholia. While there is much of Dickens`s customary wit and punning humour in the writing, the
impression is of a man in the grip of an atypical desire to express some deep pain, a sadness inconsolable, exemplified in the self-torturing central figure of Pip, growing up in a household dominated by a much elder sister/mother who is forever `on the Rampage` and a long-suffering, seemingly ineffectual uncle/father, Joe, who is nevertheless virtually the one constant source of hope in the novel - a thoroughly good, unlettered yet deeply human man (an almost Hardyesque figure; and it is in G E that Dickens perhaps foreshadows such works as Tess and The Mayor of Casterbridge) who is nevertheless far more dignified and, in his way, proud than he at first appears. He, Joe, refuses to outstay his welcome both times he visits Pip in London, not only from a sense of incongruity, but also a strong feeling of self-preservation,a gentle pride in his own realness - something Pip himself nearly loses.
Dickens`s final, tentatively hopeful chapter, Pip and Estella in the ruins of Miss Havisham`s garden, is suitably downbeat, refusing to allow the saddened reader too much sunlight, even as we are gladdened by the catharsis of self-knowledge so hard-won by Pip over the course of the previous 500 pages.
This is, like Wuthering Heights, The Mayor of Casterbridge or Jane Eyre, one of the timeless, lightning-struck landmarks of 19th century literature, if anything the most regretfully sombre of all of them.
A mature, autumnally beautiful book.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Expectations 11 July 2004
Format:Audio CD
An excellent narration by Hugh Laurie who captures the emotions and feeling of the characters in this classic book so well.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, touching, dramatic, unexpected. 3 Feb 2002
Don't bother reading this if you are immature. When I tried to read it at the age of 15 with the desire of becoming 'intelligent', I lacked the insight to appreciate its humour. I thought it was 'boring' didn't get beyond the first 100 pages and would probably have given it 1 star at that age.
However, 11 years on, having exhausted all of Wilkie Collins' novels, I decided to give his friend a second chance. I'm so glad I did.
His dark sense of humour comes through the description and interaction of the characters. His dramatic timing is simply perfect and the props he uses sets the reader up for shocks and surprises. He shows us that most of us, like Pip, don't fall into the category of good and evil, but that we are flawed human beings, capable of doing good deeds or making terrible mistakes. The characters cover a vast spectrum, by degrees, from the purely innocent, to likable villains, down to cold-hearted individuals.
It's beautifully written, very atmospheric... from the misty marshes to the dusty, dirty claustrophobic London. I laughed. I was moved. I was intrigued. I read with wide-eyed surprise at the unfolding of events. And I defy anyone who reads this story to forget Miss.Havisham.
If you understand the English language and have a pulse you should enjoy this immensely.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Expectations - at speed 21 Nov 2011
By jab
Format:Audio CD
I chose this for a long car journey with the family. Hugh Laurie reads very well, with great voices for the different characters, but he reads fast. Although I knew this version was abridged, I had no idea how much would be cut out - to the point where it was sometimes hard to follow the story. The fast pace and the abridged text made this a more breathless and pacy experience than I anticipated. However, we all enjoyed the story immensely. Next time I will take care to choose a longer version. This felt like a mere taster for someone who intends reading the book, or a reminder for those who know the book already.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 4 days ago by mary
5.0 out of 5 stars a book to come back to as I have.
Charles Dickens has always been a favourite author of mine. His style of writing keeps me wanting to read more of his books.
Published 9 days ago by colinay
5.0 out of 5 stars Still as wonderful today
I decided I should read a classic novel for a change. Glad I did and enjoyed it immensely. A wonderful book.
Published 3 months ago by MARION EL-QASEM
4.0 out of 5 stars brilliant as a child i love this book.could have been proof read better as some errors.but still favorite charactor miss haversham she is great.brilliant
Published 4 months ago by jane
3.0 out of 5 stars Preferred the film by David Lean
I know that's sacrilege to Dickens lovers but I always hated Dickens's writing even if I enjoyed most of his stories. Read more
Published 4 months ago by A. Phillips
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Definitely one of my all time favourite books. Glad i chose to read it and i plan to read some more Dickens novels.
Published 5 months ago by J
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Great.
Having read many of Dickens novels (as well as some of the Bronte sisters) I approached this book expecting it to live up to its reputation. Read more
Published 6 months ago by G. Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars better than the film
A really cracking read which had me up all night. Beautiful illustrations in a well formatted edition for kindle. Dickens is very much the master storyteller.
Published 8 months ago by Jim..
5.0 out of 5 stars book
its a really good book by dickens another classic example of Victorian London and rags to riches a real pleasure to read
Published 8 months ago by David Walker
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourites
I was very impressed by David Lean's classic film as a child, and have always wanted to read the book. Here it is in all its glory, masterfully formatted and choicely illustrated.
Published 8 months ago by bsms585
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