I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip.' 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, encoutering a variety of extraordinary characters ranging from Magwitch, the excaped convict, to Miss Havisham, locked up with her unhappy past and living with her ward, the arrogant, beautiful Estella. In this compelling story, Dickens shows the dangers of being driven by desire for wealth and social status. Pip must establish his own sense of self against the plans which others seem to have for him, and thus discover a firm set of values and priorities. Whether such values will allow one to prosper in the complex world of early Victorian England is, however, the major question posed by Great Expectations, one of Dicken's most fascinating, and disturbing, novels. This edition use the text of the Clarendon edition, with a new Introduction and Explanatory Notes. The Appendices give the original, discarded ending, Dicken's brief working notes, and the serial instalments and chapter divisions in different editions.
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.