The Pickwick Papers (Paperback)
In Charles Dickens’ first (and, I find, most endearing) book, we follow
the ludicrous Mr. Pickwick and friends as they ramble about England
to “observe things” for the club that they are a part of. Along the way
they meet up with the quintessential Dickensian array of insane
characters. The format of having them wandering about without a clear
purpose besides observation really gives Dickens the chance to stretch
his legs comedically. hilarious, even for Dicken, though it is equally
wise. I would not recommend it on that basis alone. It contains some of
his best social commentary, a thing which he became well known for,
mocking a decadent aristocratic class that is just a blown up version of
those we see today.
'One of my life's greatest tragedies is to have already read Pickwick Papers - I can't go back and read it for the first time' Fernando Pessoa
Few first novels have created as much popular excitement as The Pickwick Papers - a comic masterpiece that catapulted its twenty-four-year-old author to immediate fame. Readers were captivated by the adventures of the poet Snodgrass, the lover Tupman, the sportsman Winkle and, above all, by that quintessentially English Quixote, Mr Pickwick, and his cockney Sancho Panza, Sam Weller. From the hallowed turf of Dingley Dell Cricket Club to the unholy fracas of the Eatanswill election, via the Fleet debtors' prison, characters and incidents spring to life from Dickens's pen, to form an enduringly popular work of ebullient humour and literary invention. This edition is based on the first volume edition of 1837, and includes the original illustrations. In his introduction, Mark Wormald discusses the genesis of The Pickwick Papers and the emergence of its central characters.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
About the Author
Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Landport, Portsea, England. He died in Kent on June 9, 1870. The second of eight children of a family continually plagued by debt, the young Dickens came to know not only hunger and privation,but also the horror of the infamous debtors’ prison and the evils of child labor. A turn of fortune in the shape of a legacy brought release from the nightmare of prison and “slave” factories and afforded Dickens the opportunity of two years’ formal schooling at Wellington House Academy. He worked as an attorney’s clerk and newspaper reporter until his Sketches by Boz (1836) and The Pickwick Papers (1837) brought him the amazing and instant success that was to be his for the remainder of his life. In later years, the pressure of serial writing, editorial duties, lectures, and social commitments led to his separation from Catherine Hogarth after twenty-three years of marriage. It also hastened his death at the age of fifty-eight, when he was characteristically engaged in a multitude of work.
Mark Wormald is a Fellow and College Lecturer in English at Pembroke College, Cambridge.
“No essay in fiction ever gave more incontestable assurance of genius. . . . Never, perhaps, was satire so large-hearted and so entertaining.”—George Gissing