Published in 1860, Great Expectations is perhaps the most compelling coming-of-age story in the language, telling the tale of the forsaken Pip as he makes his way through a London crowded with unforgettable characters: the convict Magwitch, the mysterious Miss Havisham and her ward, the arrogant, beautiful Estella.
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.