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Great Expectations (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 16 Feb 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Longman; 1 edition (16 Feb. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141439564
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141439563
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2.4 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (528 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Review

"No story in the first person was ever better told."

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

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 7 May 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Great Expectations succeeds beyond almost all novels of its time in exploring the roots of character and moral behavior. Charles Dickens makes the case for there being the potential for good in everyone. Evil and sin follow from a combination of being self-absorbed and selfish. What is remarkable about the way these themes are handled is that they are clearly based on an assessment of human psychology, long before that field was established.
The book is also remarkable for its many indelibly memorable and complex characters. Miss Havisham, Pip, Magwitch, Mr. Jaggers, and Estella are characters you will think about again and again in years to come.
The book also surrounds you with a powerful sense of place. Although the England described here is long gone, it becomes as immediate as a nightmare or a dream that you have just awakened from.
For a book about moral questions, Great Expectations also abounds in action. The scenes involving Pip and Magwitch are especially notable for way action expresses character and thought.
Great Expectations also reeks of irony, something that is seldom noticed in more modern novels. Overstatements are created to draw the irony out into the open, where it is unmistakable. Yet the overstatements attract, rather than repel. The overstatements are like the theatrical make up which makes actors and actresses look strange in the dressing room, but more real on the stage when seen from the audience.
At the same time, the plot is deliciously complex in establishing and solving mysteries before that genre had been born. As you read Great Expectations, raise your expectations to assume that you will receive answers to any dangling details. By reading the book this way, you will appreciate the craft that Mr. Dickens employed much more.
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80 of 86 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
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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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By lowell duluth on 27 Feb. 2003
Format: Paperback
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Didier TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 12 Oct. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It took me a very long time to get around to reading Dickens, but then - about a year ago, in a moment of sheer folly I guess - I undertook to read (or reread in some cases) all major English novels since the beginning of the genre. And that, inevitably, brought me to Dickens before long. I have now virtually read every novel he has written (apart from A Tale of Two Cities (Oxford World's Classics) and Our Mutual Friend (Oxford World's Classics)). Some I have liked better than others, all have their merits, but none affected me as strongly as 'Great Expectations'.

Strangely enough, just why this should be so is somehow hard for me to pinpoint. Is it Pip? Perhaps so, to a degree. He is by no means a flawless character (compared to Little Dorrit for instance, or Florence Dombey) and clearly has his faults, but perhaps it's precisely that which makes him so eminently human and likeable. Who among us would not, at the very least, be tempted to ignore poor friends from the past if riches suddenly came our way? But I sympathized as readily with Joe, who with his simple and straightforward principles becomes the very emblem of steadfastness and compassion. And I identified completely with Magwitch: he may be a criminal, but above all he is a father, and being one myself I could immediately relate to his feelings and actions, sacrificing everything for the sake of his beloved child. He may not be acquitted by a court of law, but he fully redeems his sins of the past in the eyes of Pip. And I've not even mentioned Estella and Miss Havisham, surely they too are amongst the most unforgettable characters Dickens created.

'Great Expectations' is of a timeless relevance and beauty. I will definitely reread it myself in years to come, I'm sure it only gets better each time around.
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