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Nicholas Nickleby (Collector's Library) Hardcover – 1 Sep 2004

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 1216 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan Collector's Library; Main Market Ed. edition (1 Sept. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904633846
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904633846
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 5.2 x 15.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 502,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"The novel has everything: an absorbing melodrama, with a supporting cast of heroes, villains and eccentrics, set in a London where vast wealth and desperate poverty live cheek-by-jow" -- Jasper Rees The Times "Nicholas Nickleby was a revelation. Here was a school - Dotheboy's Hall, with its grotesque headmaster, Wackford Squeers - which was even worse than the prison camp to which my poor innocent parents had confined me! The story of Dotheboy's Hall seemed horribly familiar - the beatings, the bad food. But here was something to which even a child could respond. As well as being sympathetic to the plight of the children, the author was hilarious" -- A.N Wilson "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

Book Description

Charles Dickens' much-loved classic novel, read by Martin Jarvis --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
There once lived, in a sequestered part of the county of Devonshire, one Mr Godfrey Nickleby: a worthy gentleman, who, taking it into his head rather late in life that he must get married, and not being young enough or rich enough to aspire to the hand of Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By R. S. Stanier on 7 Aug. 2002
Format: Paperback
What can you say? Dickens writes brilliantly.
This entertaining saga follows the handsome eponymous hero through the slings and arrows that follow him into adulthood.
All I had heard about before was Wackford Squeers and Dotheboys Hall, but that is mostly over by the end of the first quarter.
As usual, the plot is a bit pointless but the characters are fantastic, and I thought the cameo role for the villain Mulberry Hawk led to some of the best bits of writing in the book, in particular the description of a drunken argument that leads to a duel. Dickens is such a good writer that he can toss off sensational bits of writing like this on bits of the plot that are far from crucial. His talent just can't be contained.
This, though, is the ignore the main part of the drama as Nickleby fights to overcome the injustices that assail his family. The book certainly has some powerful moments, as well as genuinely funny comic interludes.
Of the characters, Smike is the most tragically drawn and perhaps the most famous: I am not sure that authors today would treat mental impairment the same way, but that is perhaps a failure of today's readers and writers.
I suppose I don't think this novel has the depth of later work like "David Copperfield", which covers similar material, but it is still leagues ahead of most things you will read.
Thoroughly enjoyable and full of humanity.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 1 Sept. 2007
Format: Paperback
A handsome young man who finds himself the sole support of his mother and sister after his father's death, Nicholas Nickleby is hopeful that his uncle, Ralph Nickleby, a weathy speculator in London, will assist the unfortunate family in its hour of need. Ralph's cruel response, however, is to make Nicholas the assistant headmaster at a notoriously abusive school in northern England and to make his beautiful sister a seamstress and part-time hostess at his own parties. There she is subjected to innuendo and to the drunken intentions of men whose accounts help keep Ralph a wealthy man.

This early novel is pure melodrama, with the good characters being unbelievably good, and the evil being unbelievably bad. The multiple adventures of Nicholas through a variety of settings, both in the city and in the countryside, create a broad picture of life in England in the 1830s. Nicholas's job as assistant headmaster exposes him to the horrors of so-called boarding schools for young boys, which were essentially warehouses for young children where they were forced into physical labor, kept malnourished, and beaten regularly. These abuses, based on Dickens's personal observations, so horrified his readers that major reforms of these schools eventually resulted. When Nicholas, in frustration, finally beats headmaster Wackford Squeers for his abuse of the children, Nicholas and Smike, a crippled boy who has been the headmaster's slave, escape together.

Their interlude with a traveling theatrical company, led by friendly Vincent Crummles, gives Nicholas much needed emotional support and provides Smike with a temporary home--until Nicholas is called to return to England to rescue his sister from unwanted attentions fostered by her uncle.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Dis Hammerhand on 8 Jan. 2008
Format: Hardcover
Nicholas Nickleby follows the fortunes and misfortunes of the titular character. There have been other tales in a similar vein but none tell a tale quite the way Dickens does. His characters are larger than life. Wackford Squeers and Uncle Ralph Nickleby are antagonists you love to hate, one can't help pitying Smike and Noggs and the well-meaning Mrs Nickleby torments the reader whenever she opens her mouth.

Dickens rarely abandons his satirical style. I particularly enjoyed his depictions of the Crummles' drama troupe. The scene in which Nicholas gives Squeers a bit of his own medicine is one of the best in literature. There are moments of tragedy in the tale and these are told skillfully.

Some complain of his detailed descriptive style but I find the way he sets a scene pure genius. This is epitomised in his description of the house of Arthur Gride. His furniture tells more about him than any personal description ever could.

This is a book I will read again and again.

One of the difficulties I have had with Dickens' longer novels is finding a well-made edition that didn't look like I was carrying a dictionary around with me. Like the other books in the Collector's Library this book features clear type on high quality blue-white paper and an excellent sewn binding. The charming small size brings to mind the 'pocket editions' from various publishers before the advent of the cheap pulp paperback. Nicholas Nickleby is an amazing two and a half inches thick so it won't go in my coat pocket but it still is a very handy size that is very easy to carry around. The gold edging to the pages, red cloth covered boards and silky ribbon marker are deluxe features of the Collector's library editions. I like the sturdy laminated dustwrappers as well.

Definitely my favourite editon of Nicholas Nickleby.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Timothy W. Dumble on 18 April 2011
Format: Paperback
If Dombey and Son is Dickens's ode to the railway then Nicholas Nickelby represents his portrait of theatre.This novel is a must for all students of 19th Century theatre, peopled as it is by a myriad of melodramatic characters and events.Dickens's brilliantly satirises the early 19th Century theatre by personifying it in the form of the hilariously hammy Crummles and family and the vain Miss Petowker and Snevellicci.

At the heart of the narrative however are the great Dickensian themes of the triumph of altruism over avarice and the cruelty of the 19th Century educational process- ideas further developed in his subsequent work.Squeers could be said to represent a precursor to Thomas Gradgrind and Ralph Nickelby a prototype Dombey.A key subplot is the satirisation of social climbing and sycophancy to the affluent or influential, here brilliantly explored in the Kenwigs and Mrs Nickelby herself.

Nicholas Nickelby is a wonderful social history supported in this edition by an appendix of detailed notes covering issues ranging from: The Corn Laws, The Anatomy Act, legitimate theatre and plagiarism in drama, about which Dickens clearly has a personal grievance.

As ever Dickens's cast of characters are brilliantly sketched - if John Browdie's accent does appear to be a confusing mixture of Yorkshire, Geordie and Scottish dialect!
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