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Pickwick Papers (Penguin Popular Classics) Paperback – 25 Aug 1994

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Product details

  • Paperback: 896 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (25 Aug. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140621105
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140621105
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 3.7 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,639,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"No essay in fiction ever gave more incontestable assurance of genius. . . . Never, perhaps, was satire so large-hearted and so entertaining." --George Gissing --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

'His greatest success' George Orwell --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 79 people found the following review helpful By "literarywannabe" on 2 Mar. 2004
Format: Paperback
The Pickwick Papers was my first real encounter with a Charles Dickens novel. Before I started reading this epic comedy, my only experience of Dickens was having read the seasonal Christmas Books (mini-masterpieces in themselves)and seen the various cinematic adaptations that we are all bought up on. I will confess at this point that I had already seen Noel Langley's 1952 film version of the book, which I deem to be one of the most hilarious films i've ever had the pleasure of seeing, and so I was a bit biased when I started reading.
However, from the first chapter I was hooked and can safely say that the novel surpassed any expectations the film had given me. Never before have I encountered a piece of literature that has made me laugh so much. The novel depicts the adventures of Mr Pickwick and his friends as they travel the country in order to observe human nature. Beyond this, there is only the faintest notion of a plot but this is the intention of the author due to the monthly form in which the book was published. The novel pretends to be nothing more than it is.
And what the novel IS, is jolly good fun. It does not take itself seriously and spans all kinds of humour, ranging from the verbal kind to memorable scenes of slapstick.This is the book by which all other comedies, be they written or cinematic, should be judged! Each new situation is unique and virtually all the characters, be they major ones or minor, are so vividly drawn that they remain with the reader a long while after the novel ends. Each of them from Mr Pickwick to Dodson and Fog are distinct, and what is even more wonderful is that the reader can laugh both at, and with, the characters.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Didier TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 20 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback
For some reason I had been reading - as I'm writing this - English literature quite intensively for the last 25 years but had never read anything by Dickens. Was it because I feared being disappointed by the books, having seen several film and television adaptations? Or because of the rumours of his 'flat' characters? Whatever the case, when I recently determined this could no longer do I simultaneously resolved to go about it methodically and read Dickens' novels chronologically, which meant starting with 'The Pickwick Papers'.

I confess I felt at first rather daunted by the prospect due to the sheer size of this novel (in comparison: Oliver Twist (Oxford World's Classics) is a mere 480 pages, Hard Times (Oxford World's Classics) just over 300 pages), but as soon as I got started I was hooked instantly, and every time I opened the book to read on (an urge I could barely suppress, even during working hours) I was immediately transported back to the England of the 1820s, in the delightful company of Mr. Samuel Pickwick and his companions.

In a way, this is surprising as 'The Pickwick Papers' has little, if anything, of a plot. Mr. Pickwick founds an amateur club 'to enlarge his sphere of observation, to the advancement of knowledge, and the diffusion of learning' (as it says on page 1), and the rest of the book chronicles the adventurous travels across England of Mr. Pickwick and his 3 companions (Mr. Snodgrass, Mr. Tupman, and Mr. Winkle). So why would one feel this incessant appetite to read on and find out 'what happens next'?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 31 Dec. 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a piece of a masterpiece. It is amazing that an young author, hardly over twenty, with a scarce experience, could produce such a piece of comic satire, just under contract! Among Dickens'works I consider this the best, together with David Copperfield and Great Expectations.

Pickwick, as everybody surely knows is an ironic, yet not bitter picture of the English society of the Regency time: the leisurely retired gentlemen of means who can spend money, the arranged marriages coupled the need for a fixed income, the rigid separation social classes, the squalor of the proletariat during the incipient industrial revolution, the religious revival.

In many ways it is written, be it a coincidence or not, under the pattern of Don Quixote: a leisurely rich retired gentleman goes abroad to learn about the real world (Don Quixote tried to mend it!), in the company of his friends that more often than not spoil his fun. Like Don Quixote, Mr Pickwik makes a first outing, where he meets Jingle, who is to play an important part in all the novel. For his second journey he hires a servant, Sam Weller, who like Sancho Panza, is all down-to-earth knowledge, puns, wisecracks and love for his master. Mr Weller senior is a jewell that would merit a whole novel by himself. Sancho Panza in the end believes in Don Quixote and suffers him gladly, Sam Weller sticks to his master through thin and thick, in order to better serve him, whom he loves dearly. Perhaps Dickens had Sterne's "Tristam Shandy" in mind when he wrote Pickwik: not only Mr Pickwick, but Mr Weller Sr have problems with their respective widows (or vidder, as Mr Weller said). One can only remember Uncle Tobby and his pains with the beautiful widow. Sterne was also a great Quixotic admirer.
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