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Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens, Fiction, Classics

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Containing a Faithful Account of the Fortunes, Misfortunes, Uprisings, Downfallings, and Complete Career of the Nickleby Family. "I went down into Yorkshire before I began this book, in very severe winter time which is pretty faithfully described herein. As I wanted to see a schoolmaster or two, and was forewarned that those gentlemen might, in their modesty, be shy of rece Containing a Faithful Account of the Fortunes, Misfortunes, Uprisings, Downfallings, and Complete Career of the Nickleby Family. "I went down into Yorkshire before I began this book, in very severe winter time which is pretty faithfully described herein. As I wanted to see a schoolmaster or two, and was forewarned that those gentlemen might, in their modesty, be shy of receiving a visit from the author of the Pickwick Papers, I consulted with a professional friend who had a Yorkshire connection, and with whom I concerted a pious fraud. He gave me some letters of introduction, in the name, I think, of my traveling companion; they bore reference to a supposititious little boy who had been left with a widowed mother who didn't know what to do with him; the poor lady had thought, as a means of thawing the tardy compassion of her relations in his behalf, of sending him to a Yorkshire school; I was the poor lady's friend, traveling that way; and if the recipient of the letter could inform me of a school in his neighborhood, the writer would be very much obliged. I went to several places in that part of the country where I understood the schools to be most plentifully sprinkled, and had no occasion to deliver a letter until I came to a certain town which shall be nameless. The person to whom it was addressed, was not at home; but he came down at night, through the snow, to the inn where I was staying. It was after dinner; and he needed little persuasion to sit down by the fire in a warm corner, and take his share of the wine that was on the table. I am afraid he is dead now. . . ." -- Charles Dickens


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Containing a Faithful Account of the Fortunes, Misfortunes, Uprisings, Downfallings, and Complete Career of the Nickleby Family. "I went down into Yorkshire before I began this book, in very severe winter time which is pretty faithfully described herein. As I wanted to see a schoolmaster or two, and was forewarned that those gentlemen might, in their modesty, be shy of rece Containing a Faithful Account of the Fortunes, Misfortunes, Uprisings, Downfallings, and Complete Career of the Nickleby Family. "I went down into Yorkshire before I began this book, in very severe winter time which is pretty faithfully described herein. As I wanted to see a schoolmaster or two, and was forewarned that those gentlemen might, in their modesty, be shy of receiving a visit from the author of the Pickwick Papers, I consulted with a professional friend who had a Yorkshire connection, and with whom I concerted a pious fraud. He gave me some letters of introduction, in the name, I think, of my traveling companion; they bore reference to a supposititious little boy who had been left with a widowed mother who didn't know what to do with him; the poor lady had thought, as a means of thawing the tardy compassion of her relations in his behalf, of sending him to a Yorkshire school; I was the poor lady's friend, traveling that way; and if the recipient of the letter could inform me of a school in his neighborhood, the writer would be very much obliged. I went to several places in that part of the country where I understood the schools to be most plentifully sprinkled, and had no occasion to deliver a letter until I came to a certain town which shall be nameless. The person to whom it was addressed, was not at home; but he came down at night, through the snow, to the inn where I was staying. It was after dinner; and he needed little persuasion to sit down by the fire in a warm corner, and take his share of the wine that was on the table. I am afraid he is dead now. . . ." -- Charles Dickens

30 review for Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens, Fiction, Classics

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Reading Dickens is like taking a deep breath of air, feeling life in its most vivid form! Being completely faithless and illoyal, I will now dump all previous Dickens novels and claim with brutal inconsistency that Nicholas Nickleby is my favourite! Yes, I know! I have said it before, and I am likely to say it again, knowing human nature in its most Dickensian expressions. But Nicholas really is my “Now Time Favourite”. I should like to state my case, as it would be very un-Dickensian of me not to Reading Dickens is like taking a deep breath of air, feeling life in its most vivid form! Being completely faithless and illoyal, I will now dump all previous Dickens novels and claim with brutal inconsistency that Nicholas Nickleby is my favourite! Yes, I know! I have said it before, and I am likely to say it again, knowing human nature in its most Dickensian expressions. But Nicholas really is my “Now Time Favourite”. I should like to state my case, as it would be very un-Dickensian of me not to indulge in a long explanation of my way of thinking on the subject, especially as it is a tricky situation, claiming a favourite child among so many. Dickens knows where that favouritism can lead in real life, having painted the effects of parenting in his most colourful characters. Why? First of all, it is a social satire. Well, well, well, that is not an argument - they all are! Agree, but this one touches on the virtues and vices not only of the Victorian society it describes, but of human family relations and business endeavours in general. We will still find plenty of schoolmasters making a profit of parents’ neglect or gullibility, and those contemporary school masters will be infinitely better at marketing their fraud with pretty business phrases (of the educational genre) than the odious Mr Squeers. We will still find misers of Uncle Scrooge’s calibre, just like Ralph Nickleby, all the more realistic for not undergoing the magical Christmassy transformation of his later double. We will find posers and cruisers who live off their social status, filling their days with vanities and sexual assaults on women who are too poor and neglected to protect themselves against the shamelessness of complete entitlement. Mulberry - your downfall made me SMILE! Dickens’ strong sense of social injustice is like therapy for my tortured heart, and I don’t mind at all that it is quite improbable that all the good, hardworking, caring characters have their reward in the end. Nobody knew better than Dickens that real life doesn’t play fair at any time. But he also knew what a relief it is to feel, for once, in literature, that AMOR VINCIT OMNIA! “ - how much injustice, misery, and wrong, there was, and yet how the world rolled on, from year to year, alike careless and indifferent, and no man seeking to remedy or redress it - when he thought of all this, and selected from the mass the one slight case on which his thoughts were bent, he felt indeed, that there was little ground for hope, and little reason why it should not form an atom in the huge aggregate of distress and sorrow, and add one small and unimportant unit to swell the great amount.” And yet, Dickens goes on to show that giving up is not an option, and that the atom of sorrow that one individual feels is worthy of the great author’s attention, and he gives harsh reality a fictional, poetical justice - that being all he can do! It is more than nothing, decidedly! So, do I need any other arguments? The one I chose doesn’t seem to make Nicholas Nickleby stand out beside Bleak House, David Copperfield, Martin Chuzzlewit, Great Expectations and all the other “former all-time favourite Dickenses”. So what was so refreshing this time around? The “bad” characters were what I expected, shown in their malice, sly greed and comical evil. The huge cast of funny supporting characters were equipped with the usual amount of burlesque humour, and they were ranging from circus actors to owners of small businesses, showing the diversity in which family vanities can express themselves, for good and for bad. Nothing unexpected there, just good old Dickensian performance. The difference lies in the “good” main characters. The minor complaint I had regarding other Dickens novels was my lack of bonding with the “too good to be true” lead protagonists. I didn’t like David Copperfield himself that much, being just too gullible and naive, and I certainly didn’t warm to the overly sweet and self-sacrificing Esther in Bleak House. That silent suffering felt almost like Dostoevsky (and Dickens, with his sense of humour and sharp eye for satire can’t compete with the Russian master in the arena of suffering for the sake of honour - it just doesn’t match his joie de vivre). Nicholas and his sister Kate are of a different calibre, though. Hotheaded, rash, confident, they don’t suffer in silence, they SPEAK UP! I loved that. Losing your temper and speaking truth to power is so much more rewarding in my world than silently suffering in your chamber, crying little unseen tears over your unfair fate, while leaving it to others to fix your mess. Nicholas and Kate, and their friends, are very independent, honest thinkers, and they deserve what they get because they are willing to fight for it, and to work honestly to achieve happiness. Cheers to Nicholas and Kate! Keep kicking and screaming. I won’t say anything more now, as I can feel the need to analyse each single character in depth, to the boredom and annoyance of anyone who proceeds to read this far. Read the book instead, it is worth each minute spent on it! December Dickens 2017 - a blast!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bionic Jean

    Peter Ackroyd, in his ground-breaking biography of Charles Dickens, says that Nicholas Nickleby is "perhaps the funniest novel in the English language". The complete title of the novel is perhaps a bit of a mouthful, "The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, containing a Faithful Account of the Fortunes, Misfortunes, Uprisings, Downfallings and Complete Career of the Nickleby Family". It was published, as his previous novels had been, in monthly installments, between 1838 and 1839, and the la Peter Ackroyd, in his ground-breaking biography of Charles Dickens, says that Nicholas Nickleby is "perhaps the funniest novel in the English language". The complete title of the novel is perhaps a bit of a mouthful, "The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, containing a Faithful Account of the Fortunes, Misfortunes, Uprisings, Downfallings and Complete Career of the Nickleby Family". It was published, as his previous novels had been, in monthly installments, between 1838 and 1839, and the last part was again a double issue. Whilst Dickens was writing this he was between 26 and 27 years of age, and also putting the final touches to his enormously successful "Oliver Twist". Some of the plot elements, and Dickens's social criticisms, are very much in the vein of "Oliver Twist". Yet in many ways the novel is more similar to his first installment novel, "The Pickwick Papers". It has a comic rather than a tragic feel, and is certainly more lightweight and humorous than "Oliver Twist". It could be classed as ironic social satire, pointing up social injustices, while full of Dickens's taste for absurdity. The picaresque style of "The Pickwick Papers" recalls very much the earlier 18th century fashion for vignettes, such as those written by Henry Fielding. Although Nicholas Nickleby is held together by a continuing saga, it is still very episodic; subject to shifts in focus, and with such a wealth of characters and subplots that the main thrust of the novel occasionally seems to be lost. However, this episodic feel was still a very popular style of the time. When it was published the book was an immediate success, further establishing Dickens's reputation. Indeed, an engraving of one of the most famous portraits of Dickens, is used as the frontispiece, and is called "the Nickleby Portrait". Charles Dickens sat for this portrait in June 1839, partway through the serialisation of the novel. It was by the artist Daniel Maclise, and had been commissioned by Dickens's publishers, Chapman and Hall. Nicholas Nickleby is typical of many early English novels, being focused on one person's life, and as such is more of a fictional biography than being especially plot-driven. Unlike his preceding novel, "Oliver Twist", the title character of this is already a young man with family responsibilities at the start of the novel. His future is very uncertain, due to the death of his father, who had made some poor investments. The readers sees that the major conflict in this novel is going to be the struggle of a small family to make their way in the world after suffering a tragic loss. To some extent, this is autobiographical. The Nickleby family are genteel but impoverished. Dickens's own personal struggles and experiences as a young man were similar, since his father had also forfeited his gentility because of financial incompetence. In Nicholas Nickleby we are introduced to the protagonist's uncle, Ralph Nickleby, very near the beginning. As soon as Ralph comes on the scene we realise this will add spice to the situation. For what a miserable old skinflint he is, "there was something in his very wrinkles, and in his cold restless eye, which seemed to tell of cunning that would announce itself in spite of him." Ralph takes against Nicholas right from the start, apparently purely based on envy, because Nicholas is young, bright and open. At this point we realise he is destined to be Nicholas's antagonist. And the warning bells begin to ring when we are told that Ralph Nickleby is unscrupulous in his financial dealings, because Nicholas has turned to his uncle for assistance, hoping for support for his mother and sister after the death of his father. Very quickly then, we identify Ralph as "the villain of the piece". And Dickens gives full rein to his talent for inventing over-the-top characters, who stay in the mind far longer than the details of the story itself. Who can forget the grotesque headmaster Wackford Squeers, with his, "one eye when the popular prejudice is in favour of two." Or Mrs Nickleby with her rapid barrage of discursions which would put Mrs. Bennet of Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" to shame? Or the kindly, generous benefactors, the Cheeryble brothers, Charles and Ned, who have built a thriving business on treating others with respect and compassion. They address each other as "my dear fellow" and not only look and act alike but also dress alike and wear white hats. As well as the main characters there are a myriad of minor eccentric characters in this novel, all of whom are a delight. Blink and you may miss them! The Crummles's family of actors, with their daughter Ninette, the starry "Infant Phenomenon", who at the age of ten had, "been precisely the same age - not perhaps to the full extent of the memory of the oldest inhabitant, but certainly for five good years. But she had been kept up late every night, and put upon an unlimited allowance of gin-and-water from infancy, to prevent her growing tall, and perhaps this system of training had produced in the infant phenomenon these additional phenomena." The other actors, unsurprisingly, were none too keen on her privileged position. The leading man Mr Folair termed her the "Infernal Phenomenon"! Then there is Mrs. Mantalini, the astute business-woman who owns a dressmaking and millinery shop, for whom Nicholas's sister Kate is sent to work as a seamstress, and her husband, a foppish fellow with extravagent tastes, given to histrionics and repeated attempts to kill himself. There is the fun-loving but ultimately self-seeking Kenwigs family, the revolting, lusting, scheming old man Arthur Gride, denounced as a wretch and a villain, and the dastardly nobleman whom we all want to boo, Sir Mulberry Hawk. The names too are typical Dickens whimsy, chosen with an eye to amuse and appeal. "Dotheboys Hall, the vile school where the boys were well and truly "done to", with Wackford Squeers as its headmaster, overkeen on whacking his pupils. Miss Knag - the spiteful forewoman of the dressmakers and milliners. There is Lord Frederick Verisoft - soft of brain - "weak and silly", his friend the Honourable Mr Snobb, and Sir Mulberry Hawk - "the most knowing card in the pack" - who treats everyone, including his "friends", as his prey. The Cheeryble brothers; now who can read their name without smiling? Mrs Wititterly who seems to witter a lot and has "an air of sweet insipidity". There is such a superfluity of names, some in characters who shine brightly for a paragraph or two, and then disappear without trace. There is Mr Crowl, who "utters a low querulous growl", and perhaps the best of the lot, Sir Tumley Snuffim, who is perhaps not such a good doctor if his patients "snuff it"! All the episodes with these larger than life characters seem tailor-made for the stage. Many of the speeches seem to cry out for an actor's ringing declamation on stage in a 19th century melodrama. Nicholas's way of talking is very stilted, and sadly, this stiff formal kind of language sometimes does alienate the modern reader, such as this, a simple acquiescence, "It's not in my nature... to resist any entreaty, unless it is to do something positively wrong; and, beyond a feeling of pride, I know nothing which should prevent my doing this. I know nobody here, and nobody knows me. So be it then. I yield." Dickens does indulge his love of all things theatrical in this novel, with a large part of the action being devoted to scenes in Portsmouth, where Nickleby aka "Mr Johnson" both writes and performs in the acting troupes, much as Dickens himself did. Perhaps this was deliberately so, because he dedicates it to his friend, the distinguished actor and theatre director William Macready. You can see Dickens's love of the theatre in almost every scene here. But this makes the tragic scenes so much more powerful, because of the contrasting comic scenes. And who, out of the general reading population of the time, would really have stayed with a piece of tragic literature about their contemporaries - including the poorest of them all - had it not been made so hugely entertaining? It's a real rarity for the time, for an author to focus on the lives of such poor people. Noggs and Smike are fully developed characters, but few of Dickens's contemporaries - Thackeray for instance - would bother with them. Dickens is quite deliberately appealing to the common people. He has "the common touch" and Trollope's disparaging nickname for him of "Mr Popular Sentiment" is perhaps not given without a certain amount of malicious envy. The characters here are very much larger than life characters, but the main characters we are following are more sensitively drawn. Madeline Bray is an heroic, brave character, beautiful and self-sacrificing, going through agonies of mind as she stays loyal to her father depite his despicable deeds. The reader is positively willing for her to have a good end. The character of Smike, the ex-Dotheboys Hall boy, is portrayed in such an affecting way, without resort to sentiment, that Dickens manages to tug at our heart-strings whenever he comes into the action. Then there are those others such as Newman Noggs, whom we know has fallen into the service and clutches of Ralph Nickleby through his own weakness for drink. Yet throughout we are willing him to somehow escape, recognising that here is a man of worth and principle. He is virtually a guardian angel to Nicholas, because of his benevolence and integrity. Dickens makes it abundantly clear to his readers just who are the goodies, and who are the baddies. This is at root an entertainment of a novel, although one very much designed to expose a scandal of the time. For just as "Oliver Twist" was intended to alert the largest possible audience to the scandal of the workhouses in the light of the recent changes to the Poor Law, Nicholas Nickleby was deliberately written to expose the ugly truth about Yorkshire boarding schools. In the preface to the novel Dickens calls Yorkshire schoolmasters, "Traders in the avarice, indifference, or imbecility of parents, and the helplessness of children; ignorant, sordid, brutal men, to whom few considerate persons would have entrusted the board and lodging of a horse or a dog" Then in his second preface, to the 1848 Cheap Edition, he notes that such schools as Dotheboys were common in Yorkshire at the time of writing but had begun to disappear, "This story was begun, within a few months after the publication of the completed "Pickwick Papers." There were, then, a good many cheap Yorkshire schools in existence. There are very few now." Such then was the power of a Dickens novel to influence popular opinion. When a great author of such stature and persuasive ability aimed his satirical voice at one social problem after another, both society and Parliament itself rapidly moved to change things. His fiction influenced both public perception and social reform, and this is one of the reasons he is truly a great author. We know that prior to Nicholas Nickleby, Dickens had seen advertisements in the London papers for cheap boarding schools in Yorkshire. It was stressed that there were "no holidays" from these schools. Dickens's antennae must have gone up, as he knew they were a convenient place to dispose of unwanted or illegitimate children. During the writing of "Oliver Twist" Dickens and his friend, Hablot Browne (who was to illustrate the book) had travelled in secret to Yorkshire to investigate these schools in January 1838. There they met William Shaw, the headmaster of Bowes Academy. The neglect and maltreatment at this notorious school was responsible for the blindness of several boys, and some actually died as a consequence. There is no doubt that Dickens intended the headmaster Wackford Squeers to be a portrayal of William Shaw, and that Dotheboys Hall was Bowes Academy. It became so infamous that "Bowes Academy", eventually (by 1903) became known as "Dotheboys Hall"! Many of the other characters were also based on real life people. The character of Miss La Crevy, who befriended the Nickleby family, was based on the actual person, Rosa Emma Drummond, who painted a miniature engraved portrait of Dickens on ivory. Dickens had commissioned this, so that he could give it to his fiancee, Catherine Hogarth as an engagement present. Like Miss Drummond, Miss La Creevy, was a good-natured, middle-aged miniature painter, described by Dickens as a "mincing young lady of fifty". Vincent Crummles and his daughter "The Infant Phenomenon" were based on the actor-manager T. D. Davenport and his nine year old prodigy of a daughter, Jean. "Infant phenomena" were a regular feature of many theatrical shows during the early decades of the nineteenth century. Davenport and his daughter appeared on the Portsmouth stage in March 1837. Dickens's own mother, Elizabeth Dickens, was the model for Mrs. Nickleby. Luckily for Charles she didn't recognise herself in the character. In fact she asked someone if they, "really believed there ever was such a woman"! And most surprising and notable of all is that the Cheeryble brothers were based on real life characters too! They are based on two benefactors who were brothers, Daniel and William Grant. They came from Scotland, but settled in Ramsbottom in Greater Manchester (although during Dickens's time, this will have been thought of as part of the county of Lancashire.) Some of the fine houses they built are still there. For instance, St. Andrew's Church from 1832 is also known as Grant's Church. It was originally consecrated as a Scottish Presbyterian Chapel, with a donation of £5,000 by William Grant. The Grant brothers regularly gave money to promising new enterprises and for education, supporting schools, libraries and the charitable institutions, and when homes and farmlands on Speyside were swept away by floods in 1829, gave £100 to swell "The Flood Fund". Dickens was keen to make sure everyone knew of these remarkable pair. This is from his preface, in May, 1848, "It may be right to say that there are 2 characters in this book which are drawn from life. Those who take an interest in this tale will be glad to learn that the Brothers Cheeryble do live; that their liberal charity, their singleness of heart, noble nature and unbounded benevolence are no creatures of the author’s brain, but are prompting every day some munificent and generous deed in that town of which they are the pride and honour." He was writing at breakneck speed again. "Oliver Twist" had overlapped "The Pickwick Papers" by 10 months, and when he started "Nicholas Nickleby", "Oliver Twist" was still a long way from being completed. So perhaps the persuasive writing he was so keen on, the social conscience he displayed in his writing in the early part of this novel, feels very familiar, because it was written on the same days as the latter half of Oliver Twist. He was also, of course, doing his editing work too. Dickens seemed to delight in working under pressure at high speed! What the reader takes away from this novel is mainly a memory of the dramatic, eccentric and unique characters, although probably only a fraction of the total proliferation stay with us. We may remember the plot too. Yet credit should also be given to Dickens's masterly powers of description, which are also very apparent in Nicholas Nickleby. Often Dickens will exaggerate for effect, or use personification, or even the pathetic fallacy, where he is keen to convey a mood. He is adept at attributing human qualities and emotions to inanimate objects. Here's a wonderful description of Arthur Gride, "a little old man, of about seventy or seventy-five years of age, of a very lean figure, much bent and slightly twisted. He wore... such scanty trousers as displayed his shrunken spindle-shanks in their full ugliness...His nose and chin were sharp and prominent, his jaws had fallen inwards from loss of teeth, his face was shrivelled and yellow, save where the cheeks were streaked with the colour of a dry winter apple; and where his beard had been, there lingered yet a few grey tufts which seemed, like the ragged eyebrows, to denote the badness of the soil from which they sprung. The whole air and attitude of the form was one of stealthy cat-like obsequiousness; the whole expression of the face was concentrated in a wrinkled leer, compounded of cunning, lecherousness, slyness, and avarice." And here is his house, "an old house, dismal dark and dusty, which seemed to have withered, like himself, and to have grown yellow and shrivelled in hoarding him from the light of day, as he had in hoarding his money... Meagre old chairs and tables, of spare and bony make, and hard and cold as misers' hearts, were ranged, in grim array, against the gloomy walls; attenuated presses, grown lank and lantern-jawed in guarding the treasures they enclosed, and tottering, as though from constant fear and dread of thieves, shrunk up in dark corners, whence they cast no shadows on the ground, and seemed to hide and cower from observation." Arthur Gride's house, thus seems to take on the aspect of a living creature itself, as though the essence of its inhabitant had oozed into the very fibres of the house and its contents. Of course it is exaggerated and whimsical rather than realistic, but it is brilliantly described. Here's another example, where a different house is described. It feels less organic, but holds more of a portent. Kate Nickleby has this to say of the house Ralph acquires for them, "This house depresses and chills one and seems as if some blight had fallen on it. If I were superstitious, I should be almost inclined to believe that some dreadful crime had been perpetrated within these old walls, and that the place had never prospered since. How frowning and how dark it looks!" So this house seems to foreshadow the sinister plans that Ralph has for Kate. Both of these to me show Dickens's supreme craft as a writer. Nicholas Nickleby is partly a "bildungsroman" - a story about the coming of age of the main character - and partly a social commentary on injustice. The maltreatment of children in the educational system features highly throughout, with Dickens using all the tricks of the trade to persuade his readers; pathos, comedy, satire, and powerful storytelling. He also employs coincidences, which we all love in life, and melodrama, which heightened the entertainment value at the time it was written. As well as focusing on the private Yorkshire poor schools, savagely condemning those responsible for the system that treated children so cruelly, it also indicts those who use fraudulent financial tactics and other dishonest business practices. There is certainly a memorable plot, and it could be thought of as "Three Weddings and a Funeral" - but there are two funerals here, and they are poles apart. They are both highly dramatic and tragic, because they are ultimately both avoidable. So is it the funniest novel in the English language? Well it all depends on your taste. It is possibly the funniest novel ever written by Dickens himself. Yet it is also extremely poignant, sad, chilling, bitter and (it has to be said) overblown and melodramatic. It is by turns absurd, comic, tragic and moving. It is quintessentially Charles Dickens. If you love Dickens, you'll love this one - don't miss it!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The life and adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Charles Dickens The novel centres on the life and adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, a young man who must support his mother and sister after his father dies. Nicholas Nickleby's father dies unexpectedly after losing all of his money in a poor investment. Nicholas, his mother and his younger sister, Kate, are forced to give up their comfortable lifestyle in Devonshire and travel to London to seek the aid of their only relative, Nicholas's uncle, Ralph N The life and adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Charles Dickens The novel centres on the life and adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, a young man who must support his mother and sister after his father dies. Nicholas Nickleby's father dies unexpectedly after losing all of his money in a poor investment. Nicholas, his mother and his younger sister, Kate, are forced to give up their comfortable lifestyle in Devonshire and travel to London to seek the aid of their only relative, Nicholas's uncle, Ralph Nickleby. Ralph, a cold and ruthless businessman, has no desire to help his destitute relations and hates Nicholas, who reminds him of his dead brother, on sight. He gets Nicholas a low-paying job as an assistant to Wackford Squeers, who runs the school Dotheboys Hall in Yorkshire. Nicholas is initially wary of Squeers (a very unpleasant man with one eye) because he is gruff and violent towards his young charges, but he tries to quell his suspicions. As Nicholas boards the stagecoach for Greta Bridge, he is handed a letter by Ralph's clerk, Newman Noggs. A once-wealthy businessman, Noggs lost his fortune, became a drunk, and had no other recourse but to seek employment with Ralph, whom he loathes. The letter expresses concern for him as an innocent young man, and offers assistance if Nicholas ever requires it. Once he arrives in Yorkshire, Nicholas comes to realise that Squeers is running a scam: he takes in unwanted children (most of whom are illegitimate, crippled or deformed) for a high fee, and starves and mistreats them while using the money sent by their parents, who only want to get them out of their way, to pad his own pockets. Squeers and his monstrous wife whip and beat the children regularly, while spoiling their own son. Lessons are no better; they show how poorly educated Squeers himself is and he uses the lessons as excuses to send the boys off on chores. While he is there, Nicholas befriends a simple boy named Smike, who is older than the other "students" and now acts as an unpaid servant. Nicholas attracts the attention of Fanny Squeers, his employer's plain and shrewish daughter, who deludes herself into thinking that Nicholas is in love with her. She attempts to disclose her affections during a game of cards, but Nicholas doesn't catch her meaning. Instead he ends up flirting with her friend Tilda Price, to the consternation of both Fanny and Tilda's friendly but crude-mannered fiancé John Browdie. After being accosted by Fanny again, Nicholas bluntly tells her he does not return her affections and wishes to be free of the horrible atmosphere of Dotheboys Hall, earning her enmity. ... تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز پانزدهم ماه ژوئن سال 2010 میلادی عنوان: نیکلاس نیکلبی متن کوتاه شده؛ نویسنده: چارلز دیکنز؛ مترجم: محسن سلیمانی؛ تهران، انتشارات سوره، 1376، در 116 ص، شابک: ایکس 964471301؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان انگلیسی - سده 19 م نشر افق، 1388، در 137 ص؛ شابک: 9789643695255؛ عنوان: نیکلاس نیکلبی؛ نویسنده: چارلز دیکنز؛ مترجم: بهرام آریان؛ مریم سلمانی زاده؛ تهران: حامدین، 1380، در 139 ص، شابک: 9649301011؛ نیکولاس جوان، و خانواده اش از یک زندگی با آرامش لذت میبرند، تا اینکه پدرش از دنیا میرود، و آنها را بی پول و تنها میگذارد. نیکولاس به همراه خواهر و مادرش، به لندن میروند، تا از عمویش «رالف»، درخواست یاری بکنند. اما رالف قصد دارد خانواده را از هم جدا کرده، و از آنها سوء استفاده کند. نیکولاس به مدرسه ای که توسط مردی بیرحم اداره میشود، فرستاده میشود و... ا. شربیانی

  4. 4 out of 5

    Perry

    "No dark sarcasm in the classroom.... If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding!" Pink Floyd, "Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2" I delight in Dickens' class humor/social satire and irony. Nicholas Nickleby was his third novel, right after Oliver Twist. This novel is lighter than Twist but nearly as influential in pressuring changes to English society in the mid-1800s. Here, Dickens' target was an abusive all-male boarding school in Yorkshire. In researching for this novel, Dickens made "No dark sarcasm in the classroom.... If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding!" Pink Floyd, "Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2" I delight in Dickens' class humor/social satire and irony. Nicholas Nickleby was his third novel, right after Oliver Twist. This novel is lighter than Twist but nearly as influential in pressuring changes to English society in the mid-1800s. Here, Dickens' target was an abusive all-male boarding school in Yorkshire. In researching for this novel, Dickens made visits to this school and based his villainous schoolmaster Wackford Squeers on the Yorkshire master William Shaw, who was apparently one brutally cruel son of a bitch. Other memorable character names include Newman Noggs, clerk to Nickleby's awful Uncle Ralph Nickelby, Miss Knag, Miss Wittiterly and Lord Frederick Verisopht, who is killed in a duel with another of British nobility. This included the first romance written by Dickens, though it fell considerably short of the one he wrote for David Copperfield. In sum, I enjoyed it, but found the story didn't flow as well as some of his later novels.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Luís C.

    Only now, as I will getting to know the work of Dickens, I begin to understand why his books make me feel young. It is that books like this arouse the dream; they are dramas of real life in which good and evil clash, but being the Good the eternal winner. This naiveté is no more than a reflection of the natural goodness that characterized this magnificent human being named Charles Dickens. The famous Happy Endings of Dickens are not only elements of romantic oversimplification; They are a manife Only now, as I will getting to know the work of Dickens, I begin to understand why his books make me feel young. It is that books like this arouse the dream; they are dramas of real life in which good and evil clash, but being the Good the eternal winner. This naiveté is no more than a reflection of the natural goodness that characterized this magnificent human being named Charles Dickens. The famous Happy Endings of Dickens are not only elements of romantic oversimplification; They are a manifesto of their belief in the future of humanity, based on the natural goodness of man. This is perhaps its most dramatic book, in which the situations of injustice and evil are more raw and violent; but it is also the book (of which I have read) where redemption is greater where the punishments are heavier and the good are more magnanimously rewarded, making remember the most romantic novels of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with deeply Manichean characters. This is perhaps the book of Dickens in his experience as a journalist is more notorious, with objective, clear, almost visual descriptions. There is thus a simple and enjoyable read. Throughout the book, the protagonist will strengthen your character. At first he is a good soul, but something amorphous behavior. But the violence of society bringeth him to the need of shape this strong character and the second half of the work came across a Nicholas with great strength of character, a lawman, a power element and able belief serve as a model to amorphous political and selfish Dickens also ridicules. In fact, what distinguishes the characters, rather than the Good or Evil is the Will; It is the wanting is the strength to want to change, to save a tainted society violently by inequality and injustice. Namely, in the book's core lies a profound social criticism above all, but also criticizes policy. The targets are the Lord, that is, the aristocrat flabby, self-seeking and ignorant bourgeois exploitative and selfish but also politicians, disinterested public good. It should be noted that the book was written in 1838/39, 4 to 5 years after the publication of laws known as the Poor Laws in the British government adopted a strategy to support the poor based on segregation. Dickens, of course, was the hinge of the debate. Criticism of the education system seems to extend in a more global way, the whole social system based on materialism and a certain rationalist order. The criticism takes a satirical way, despite the dramatic nature of the way they are treated the students of the boarding school where Nicholas works; the schoolmaster, greedy, perfidious, is the image of the character who only appropriate material goods and the school practices a system of violent corporal punishment justified by the need to order; now, this "order" seems to be also the reason for a more comprehensive social repression that Dickens accuses the figure of politicians, unscrupulous traders, the state officials, in short all the ruling bourgeois class at the time. But do not consider that the book amounts to a heavy and austere criticism; suddenly the book ceases to be a drama to go transforming an almost joyful adventure book; Nicholas transformation into an actor and contact with new characters give the book a lightness, a grace that the game is not unfolded, such was the weight of the Nickleby family woes.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Brad

    When the name of the cruel schoolmaster is Wackford Squeers you just know it's going to be good. Nicholas himself can sometimes be a bit prissy but this serves well as a foil for the many extreme characters that surround him (and he's a lot more feisty than the relatively milquetoast David Copperfield). This is classic Dickens at the height of his powers. My generic comment about Charles Dickens: First of all, although I am a partisan of Dickens' writing and have read and relished most his works, When the name of the cruel schoolmaster is Wackford Squeers you just know it's going to be good. Nicholas himself can sometimes be a bit prissy but this serves well as a foil for the many extreme characters that surround him (and he's a lot more feisty than the relatively milquetoast David Copperfield). This is classic Dickens at the height of his powers. My generic comment about Charles Dickens: First of all, although I am a partisan of Dickens' writing and have read and relished most his works, I concede to three flaws in his oeuvre that are not insignificant. First, while he seemed to develop an almost endless variety of male social types, his female characters are much less well developed. Second, although he portrayed the stark brutality of economic and class inequality with unparalleled clarity, his diagnosis of what needs to be done is flaccidly liberal, suggesting that the wealthy should simply be nicer and more generous to the poor(yet his writings did propitiate structural changes, e.g. to the Poor Laws, in his lifetime). Third, in tying up the loose threads of his extremely complex plots, he often pushes this reader past the boundary of the reasonable suspension of disbelief. Some readers also object to his sentimentalism or to his grotesque characters but I find these extremes create a dynamism in combination with his social criticism. These caveats aside, I deeply enjoy reading Dickens for a number of reasons. He exhibits stratospheric gifts of imagination in portraying extremes of human character in extreme situations. His idiosyncratic characters each have an unmistakable and unforgettable voice. His highly crafted language is endlessly inventive and evocative. Finally, he created a parade of some of the funniest, evilest, and most pathetic characters one will ever encounter and although extreme, they also ring true to equivalent characters from any time.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    I'm glad that Classics Corner at Constant Reader elected to read NN for its April book as I've intended for a while to return to my goal of reading as many of Dickens' books as possible over time. And I was not disappointed with this book. While not as developed as later works, it introduces familiar themes, settings, character types, etc. further review to come...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    I’m really not sure why I like Dickens so much. He is predictable, there will be coincidences that could never happen in the real world, and in the end everyone will get their just deserts except for the poor, sad creature who is destined to see heaven ahead of his time. Ah, but he does it with so much style and panache. He creates characters you are seldom ambivalent about, dastardly villains you can feel no compassion for, and good people who restore your faith in humanity. In Nicholas Nickleby I’m really not sure why I like Dickens so much. He is predictable, there will be coincidences that could never happen in the real world, and in the end everyone will get their just deserts except for the poor, sad creature who is destined to see heaven ahead of his time. Ah, but he does it with so much style and panache. He creates characters you are seldom ambivalent about, dastardly villains you can feel no compassion for, and good people who restore your faith in humanity. In Nicholas Nickleby, as in all his novels, Dickens has a full grasp of the class system of his time and the conditions of the poor. He never fails to illustrate that money brings its own unhappiness for some, and that true value is found in character and dignity, devotion and love. When a Dickens character is at the mercy of the world, you can bet he will see the worst and best sides of humanity rearing their heads. Nicholas Nickleby has its share of Dickens humor as well. Mrs. Nickleby is a bit of a buffoon, who is saved from herself by the good sense of her children. I will admit that there are times when she is almost too much. There is Newman Noggs, who is sure to remain a favorite for me because he is good without any obligation to be so. He gives from a position in which there is very little to be given and made me chuckle more than once when snipping at the horrible Uncle Ralph. I dare say, most of us would hoard our coins and protect our position in Nogg’s situation, and yet he puts his neck and meager fortune on the line for friendship. We should all like to think that somewhere in our world there are people like Charles and Ned Cheeryble. They live up to their names, for no two cheerier people could there be in this world and they certainly spread the cheer everywhere. They seem to be proof that goodness is its own reward. Another thing I love about Dickens, his ability to touch upon the thin divide between our world and that of the departed. ”It is an exquisite and beautiful thing in our nature, that when the heart is touched and softened by some tranquil happiness or affectionate feeling, the memory of the dead comes over it most powerfully and irresistibly. I t would almost seem as though our better thoughts and sympathies were charms, in virtue of which the soul is enable to hold some vague and mysterious intercourse with the spirits of those whom we dearly loved in life.” I found this observation remarkably accurate. I have discovered that reading Dickens slowly brings out the best in his writing. I languished over his descriptions of people and places and took my time over his hilarious conversations. If you pay close attention, you can see 1840s London through his eyes. The lessons of his time are the lesson of today, where so many seem to think money and possessions outweigh personal connections and love of humanity. It is good for the soul to read Dickens. Up next, some Christmas stories and the annual reading of A Christmas Carol. Next year I am planning to fit in three more Dickens novels: Hard Times, Little Dorrit and Pickwick Papers. It is going slowly, but that is fine, since it means there will be Dickens’ yet to come for a long, long time.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    After his father dies, Nicholas Nickleby must go to work to support his mother and sister. The family is at the mercy of the "wicked uncle." Nicholas, at Ralph's arrangement, takes a position with Dothebys, a boarding school run by Mr. Squeers. Squeers and his equally corrupt wife regularly abuse the boys in their charge. After an incident, Nicholas leaves for London, being joined by Smike, one of the older boys. Newman Noggs, an employee of Ralph Nickleby,delivers a message to Nicholas. Life, l After his father dies, Nicholas Nickleby must go to work to support his mother and sister. The family is at the mercy of the "wicked uncle." Nicholas, at Ralph's arrangement, takes a position with Dothebys, a boarding school run by Mr. Squeers. Squeers and his equally corrupt wife regularly abuse the boys in their charge. After an incident, Nicholas leaves for London, being joined by Smike, one of the older boys. Newman Noggs, an employee of Ralph Nickleby,delivers a message to Nicholas. Life, love, and corruption continue to abound in the novel. Like most of Dickens' novels, social problems of the day are prominent. Enjoyable, but probably not Dickens' best work.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    2nd reading I wouldn’t have chosen this Dickens to reread but for recently joining a local group (The Dickens Fellowship of New Orleans). The reread was certainly worth it and not only for the convivial fellowship of the monthly meetings. (How can you go wrong with cheese and cakes being offered, and tea and sometimes wine being poured?) Sure, there were the somewhat annoying coincidences, melodrama, blushing love interests and meaningless side-plots (and I don’t mean at the meetings), all true t 2nd reading I wouldn’t have chosen this Dickens to reread but for recently joining a local group (The Dickens Fellowship of New Orleans). The reread was certainly worth it and not only for the convivial fellowship of the monthly meetings. (How can you go wrong with cheese and cakes being offered, and tea and sometimes wine being poured?) Sure, there were the somewhat annoying coincidences, melodrama, blushing love interests and meaningless side-plots (and I don’t mean at the meetings), all true to the picaresque indicated by the novel’s name, a style characteristic of Dickens’ first few novels, as he took for inspiration one of his favorite authors; he even named one of his sons Henry Fielding. (My own almost meaningless side-note: I came across a reference to Morleena Kenwigs’ braids in Louisa May Alcott's Moods which I read during this time of rereading.) But if not for the reread, I wouldn’t have again enjoyed the characters of Newman Noggs (my favorite of the multitude), the ‘gentleman in small-clothes’ (his two scenes so funny that I remembered them from my first read) and Mrs. Nickleby. Yes, even Mrs. Nickleby, who certainly has more personality than her two children. She's obtuse, self-centered and muddleheaded; but she can be sarcastic in the way of a mother whose children are always telling her how wrong she is:To this, Mrs Nickleby only replied that she durst say she was very stupid, indeed she had no doubt she was, for her own children almost as much as told her so, every day of her life; to be sure she was a little older than they, and perhaps some foolish people might think she ought reasonably to know best. However, no doubt she was wrong; of course she was; she always was, she couldn't be right, she couldn't be expected to be; so she had better not expose herself any more; and to all Kate's conciliations and concessions for an hour ensuing, the good lady gave no other replies than Oh, certainly, why did they ask her?, Her opinion was of no consequence, it didn't matter what she said… If for nothing else, the novel is memorable for its being instrumental in the demise of the actual Yorkshire boarding schools (the last scene set in the fictional Dotheboys Hall, seemingly comic, depicts how inhumane treatment leads to more of the same). What power for a novel and its author who, at the time of its writing, was only twenty-five years old.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Paul E. Morph

    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why? What can I say? This is Dickens at his best and the master certainly doesn't need MY recommendation! Suffice it to say that Simon Vance's narration does justice to the material making this an excellent choice for any audiobook reader with an ear for the classics. If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be? 'Sex! Drugs! Rock 'n' Roll! None of them are in this film but watch it anyway!' Any additional comments? Apologies fo Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why? What can I say? This is Dickens at his best and the master certainly doesn't need MY recommendation! Suffice it to say that Simon Vance's narration does justice to the material making this an excellent choice for any audiobook reader with an ear for the classics. If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be? 'Sex! Drugs! Rock 'n' Roll! None of them are in this film but watch it anyway!' Any additional comments? Apologies for the above 'joke'... I just can't help myself... Taken from my original review on Audible.co.uk Buddy read with Sunshine Seaspray

  12. 5 out of 5

    MJ Nicholls

    I have a titular affinity with this novel since it incorporates many common misspellings of my surname: Nicols, Nichols, Nickles, Nicholas, Nicolls and (once) Amber Juliana Swami. Dickens’s third novel unites the comedic episodes of The Pickwick Papers with the melodramatic realism of Oliver Twist in a brilliant 832-page (OWC edition) adventure filled with more manipulative drama than Lot 45 on Hollywood Studios (known as the Robin Williams Crap Mound). Unlike the aforesaid former comic actor’s I have a titular affinity with this novel since it incorporates many common misspellings of my surname: Nicols, Nichols, Nickles, Nicholas, Nicolls and (once) Amber Juliana Swami. Dickens’s third novel unites the comedic episodes of The Pickwick Papers with the melodramatic realism of Oliver Twist in a brilliant 832-page (OWC edition) adventure filled with more manipulative drama than Lot 45 on Hollywood Studios (known as the Robin Williams Crap Mound). Unlike the aforesaid former comic actor’s appalling attempts at emotional tittypinching (one for the DFW fans there), Dickens peoples his entertainments with unforgettable characters—from the terrifying Uncle Ralph, the hilarious charmer Mantalini, the excessively Geordie John Browdie, to the sadistic Wackford Squeers—this is another exemplar of peerless storytelling and a further excuse to fall prostrate before this impeccable master at once. Enough said. [A word on Oxford World’s Classics v. Penguin Classics. I was a devoted Penguin man for most of my life until OUP redesigned their books in 2008 with the exquisite designs seen here: a simple white strip with red and black text over the delightfully colourful cover images, beautiful! Penguin texts still boast better translations and notations, alas, so style over substance?]

  13. 4 out of 5

    Barry Pierce

    One common criticism of The Pickwick Papers is that it has no plot. This novel is the antithesis of Pickwick, it has too much plot. At 1020 pages in length this is the largest book that I have ever read, and it really felt like it. Dickens is the master of setting and characterisation. However, sometimes he can get so caught up in describing the mood and the presence of a location that half the chapter is gone before any dialogue is even uttered. This novel contains, in my opinion, one of Dicken One common criticism of The Pickwick Papers is that it has no plot. This novel is the antithesis of Pickwick, it has too much plot. At 1020 pages in length this is the largest book that I have ever read, and it really felt like it. Dickens is the master of setting and characterisation. However, sometimes he can get so caught up in describing the mood and the presence of a location that half the chapter is gone before any dialogue is even uttered. This novel contains, in my opinion, one of Dicken's most tragic characters, Smike. Smike will break your heart ad infinitum. There's lots of evil and mean characters in here that are very boo hiss which is just what we want and of course our hero Nicholas is flawless. This is definitely a Dickens novel for Dickens readers. This wouldn't be a very good novel to begin with as it's... very Dickens .

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tristram

    “[… I]t will be our aim to amuse, by producing a rapid succession of characters and incidents, and describing them as cheerfully and pleasantly as in us lies […]” Thus it reads in the so-called Nickleby Proclamation, which was supposed to assure readers that their beloved Boz would once again treat them to a feast of Pickwickian antics and Twistish melodrama. Strike the iron while it’s still hot! The energetic young Dickens, probably overwhelmed with the success of his Sketches and his first two no “[… I]t will be our aim to amuse, by producing a rapid succession of characters and incidents, and describing them as cheerfully and pleasantly as in us lies […]” Thus it reads in the so-called Nickleby Proclamation, which was supposed to assure readers that their beloved Boz would once again treat them to a feast of Pickwickian antics and Twistish melodrama. Strike the iron while it’s still hot! The energetic young Dickens, probably overwhelmed with the success of his Sketches and his first two novels, was apparently determined to make the most of this old maxim so that he began his work on Nicholas Nickleby when he had not even finished the adventures of his milksop of a hero Oliver Twist. And how different in tone Nickleby is from Twist! Dickens seems to have regained the witty exuberance of Pickwick Papers, for which, like the picaresque character of the plot, he was indebted to the masters of the 18th century, such as Henry Fielding or Tobias Smollett. There is our protagonist, Nicholas Nickleby, an inexperienced, but proud and high-spirited young gentleman who, after his father’s destitution and death, finds himself at his mean uncle Ralph’s mercy for his own entrance into life and the maintenance of his bubble-headed mother and his noble sister Kate. Ralph, sensing his nephew’s moral superiority, takes an instant dislike to Nicholas and is determined to get the better of him. In order to achieve this and to further his own selfish aims he uses a legion of picture-perfect scoundrels like the one-eyed, hypocritical and brutal schoolmaster Wackford Squeers, the brutal and lecherous Sir Mulberry Hawk, who tries to seduce Kate, and the scheming miser Arthur Gride, who plans to force Nicholas’s beloved Madeline Bray into a miserable marriage. Nicholas, however, stamps through the novel, apparently having not more of a clue as to what to do in any given situation than the author, but somehow he always manages to foil his antagonists’ plans, which he does by turning to impulsive and sometimes extreme violence instead of keeping his calm and using his head. If you are interested in a well-contrived plot, Nicholas Nickleby will surely disappoint you because Dickens does not seem to have given a lot of thought to how his hero might solve the conflicts awaiting him. Instead the author uses a lot of coincidences which he pulls out of his hat whenever he wants, he has new persons enter, old ones leave the scene whenever this appears useful to thwart Ralph’s sinister projects so that he will leave his readers rather dizzy. Nevertheless, Dickens’s third novel is a brilliantly entertaining book presenting the reader with a flock of remarkable, typically Dickensian, characters such as the Kenwigs family who, like Nicholas, depend on a capricious uncle, or the Crummles, a company of itinerant actors. One chapter gives a daring and lucid satire on selfish politicians, others decry the social pretensions of the would-be upper class Wititterlies. It seems as though it was Dickens’s object to dazzle his readers with a kaleidoscope of exaggerated situations, cranky humour, freakish characters and boisterous imagination – all with a view to securing his reputation as a crowd puller. Yet at the same time there is also – to a lesser degree – the social commitment of Oliver Twist when Dickens tries to denounce the infamous Yorkshire schools, where numbers of unwanted children were mistreated in ways that were shameful for every civilized society. Sometimes, however, Dickens’s love for the absurd and his crazy humour got the better of him so that his criticism is weakened by his coltish imagination, but then there are passages like the following, which make the reader hold his breath: ”’’The juniorest Palmer said he wished he was in Heaven.’ I really don’t know, I do not know what’s to be done with that young fellow; he’s always a-wishing something horrid. He said, once, he wished he was a donkey, because then he wouldn’t have a father as didn’t love him! Pretty wicious that for a child of six!’ Mr. Squeers was so much moved by the contemplation of this hardened nature in one so young, that he angrily put up the letter, and sought, in a new train of ideas, a subject of consolation.” [p.749] For those who enjoy 18th century novels and are willing to put up with minor imperfections such as the absence of a convincing plot, Nicholas Nickleby might be quite a treasure trove.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    Family... Nicholas Nickleby is primarily about family relationships -from parent/child relationships, to siblings, and even extended family members - uncles, aunts, cousins, et al. Charles Dickens paints a wide panorama in this story of familial relationships and how formative they are to an individual's physical, emotional, and psychological well-being. He effectively illustrates just how very important a parent's love and support is to a child. Charles Dickens was always the champion for the dow Family... Nicholas Nickleby is primarily about family relationships -from parent/child relationships, to siblings, and even extended family members - uncles, aunts, cousins, et al. Charles Dickens paints a wide panorama in this story of familial relationships and how formative they are to an individual's physical, emotional, and psychological well-being. He effectively illustrates just how very important a parent's love and support is to a child. Charles Dickens was always the champion for the down-trodden. In Nicholas Nickleby, he attacks boarding schools and the lack of regulations over boarding schools through his entertaining (and probably partially truthful) hyperbole of Mr. Squeers and his boarding school at Dothebys Hall. Dickens also takes on money-lenders and usurers who were a major cause of the plight of those facing debtor's prison. Dickens wrote about what he knew and his life experiences, and when he was young, his father was thrown into debtor's prison, which caused young Charles to go to work in a blacking factory to help support his family. I personally did not mind the lack of character development. When taken as a whole, Dickens' crew of characters in this story and the wide swath of their personalities provided a thorough view of humanity for his readers. Dickens' characters usually have one strong/exaggerated character trait, and while these literary characters can come off as one dimensional, I find it realistic because most people are known for their strongest traits. Nicholas Nickleby is a very enjoyable story throughout. Compared to other stories, (Bleak House comes to mind), Nicholas Nickleby is much more linear. This being only Dickens' 3rd novel, I am of the opinion that the quality of his story-telling was always there. What I find had changed during his literary career was the complication of his plots and the depth of his themes. He was always a wonderful story-teller, and my enjoyment of this story never waned for all 800 pages. My favorite parts were scenes with the Yorkshireman, John Browdie. I loved how Dickens wrote Browdie's Yorkshire accent, it was as fun and challenging to read as it is to try to decipher it while listening to it. John Browdie's big, garrulous personality shined through in this book. Nicholas Nickleby has single-handedly gotten my reading year back on track. Not, that it's been a bad reading year so far, but until I read this, it has just been kind of a "blah" reading year. Thankfully, that has changed with this wonderful and memorable story! Matt

  16. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Spoilers. Do not read if you fear them. I think that this is the most satisfying of Dickens's novels. But then, I say that about all of his novels, after each re-read. Except for Martin Chuzzlewit. : / Dickens is one writer I'll probably never review, because my reviews would be longer than the novels, so multi-layered as they are. The most satisfying scene: It was one of the brimstone-and-treacle mornings, and Mrs. Squeers had entered school according to custom with the large bowl and spoon, follo Spoilers. Do not read if you fear them. I think that this is the most satisfying of Dickens's novels. But then, I say that about all of his novels, after each re-read. Except for Martin Chuzzlewit. : / Dickens is one writer I'll probably never review, because my reviews would be longer than the novels, so multi-layered as they are. The most satisfying scene: It was one of the brimstone-and-treacle mornings, and Mrs. Squeers had entered school according to custom with the large bowl and spoon, followed by Miss Squeers and the amiable Wackford: who during his father's absence, had taken upon himself such minor branches of the executive as kicking the pupils with his nailed boots, pulling the hair of some of the smaller boys, pinching the others in aggravating places, and rendering himself in various similar ways a great comfort and happiness to his mother. Their entrance, whether by premeditation or a simultaneous impulse, was the signal of revolt. While one detachment rushed to the door and locked it, and another mounted the desks and forms, the stoutest (and consequently the newest) boy seized the cane, and, confronting Mrs. Squeers with a stern countenance, snatched off her cap and beaver-bonnet, put it on his own head, armed himself with the wooden spoon and bade her on pain of death, go down upon her knees and take a dose directly. Before that estimable lady could recover herself, or offer the slightest retaliation, she was forced into a kneeling posture by a crowd of shouting tormentors, and compelled to swallow a spoonful of the odious mixture, rendered more than usually savoury by the immersion in the bowl of Master Wackford's head, whose ducking was entrusted to another rebel.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    When I first went to the UK and was doing my version of A Tour Round the Whole Island of Great Britain, which involved many hours alone on British Rail and in B&Bs, this was the only book I took with me - and it was the only one I needed. Because of their length, you could probably say the same about any of Dickens' novels, but somehow this story of two young people going out for the first time to travel through the world on their own (albeit by necessity and not by choice) and meeting all k When I first went to the UK and was doing my version of A Tour Round the Whole Island of Great Britain, which involved many hours alone on British Rail and in B&Bs, this was the only book I took with me - and it was the only one I needed. Because of their length, you could probably say the same about any of Dickens' novels, but somehow this story of two young people going out for the first time to travel through the world on their own (albeit by necessity and not by choice) and meeting all kinds of interesting and eccentric characters had a particularly happy resonance with the circumstances. I still have a tendency to think of Nicholas and Kate, Smike and the Cheeryble Brothers, and of course the colorful Crummles touring theatre troupe, as actual people - they were such great travelling companions! - and although I also have a very nice leather bound edition now, the beat-up old Penguin paperback that logged so many miles with me is still in my bookcase. To quote the redoubtable Mrs Crummles, "It was too, too tremendous!"

  18. 5 out of 5

    Vicky

    I couldn't quite bring myself to give just one star to a master of English fiction, but honestly, this book is Dickens at his worst: maudlin, melodramatic, and almost pathological in its hysterical demonization of the villains. Dickens here caters shamelessly to the sentimentalities, moral simplicities, and stereotypes of his readership. The good characters are gooily good, the bad ones lack not only any redeeming feature but any plausible motivation, and we are encouraged to relish their downfa I couldn't quite bring myself to give just one star to a master of English fiction, but honestly, this book is Dickens at his worst: maudlin, melodramatic, and almost pathological in its hysterical demonization of the villains. Dickens here caters shamelessly to the sentimentalities, moral simplicities, and stereotypes of his readership. The good characters are gooily good, the bad ones lack not only any redeeming feature but any plausible motivation, and we are encouraged to relish their downfall with childish glee. There are a few refreshing breezes of Dickensian humor -- the interlude in which Nicholas is employed by a provincial theater company is delightful -- but mostly it's angels and demons all the way, and very poor stuff it is.

  19. 5 out of 5

    F.R.

    Wackford Squeers! The aforementioned schoolmaster is probably the most famous character (with the obvious exception of Nicholas himself) in Dickens’ third novel. Indeed, in my memory of this book – which I last read some fifteen years ago – Wackford Squeers featured as one of the dominant figures. And that’s somewhat odd as he is not the major villain of the piece, he is merely one of a gallery of grotesque rogues the Nickleby children encounter. So why does he linger so long in the mind? I think Wackford Squeers! The aforementioned schoolmaster is probably the most famous character (with the obvious exception of Nicholas himself) in Dickens’ third novel. Indeed, in my memory of this book – which I last read some fifteen years ago – Wackford Squeers featured as one of the dominant figures. And that’s somewhat odd as he is not the major villain of the piece, he is merely one of a gallery of grotesque rogues the Nickleby children encounter. So why does he linger so long in the mind? I think it’s because Dickens idealised children and hated the thought of harm happening to them, and yet was simultaneously able to imagine these harms in enthusiastic detail. As such the scenes in the Yorkshire schoolhouse still have incredible power: Dickens lets loose his full moral fury, but combines it with a gleeful relish at the brutal suffering of these hard beaten boys. It’s a heady combination, and one which had a great effect at the time (serving to expose the scandal of such institutions) and now – in a Western society which reveres children to an even greater extent – serves as a warning from a harsher and less enlightened time. Wackford Squeers will probably always be with us. However the greatest shame of our askew collective memory of this book, is that the main villain should be better remembered. Ralph Nickleby is a prototype Ebeneezer Scrooge (except one even more evil as he isn’t participating in a spiritual morality play), a man who will crush all in his pursuit of money and prefers spite to love. He is a superbly realised character, a magnificent brooding presence with more space to grow into than Scrooge ever had. He absolutely comes to dominate this novel, and that’s impressive as not only is there Squeers, but amongst the rogue’s gallery there’s boorish vampiric aristocrat Sir Mulberry Hawk and lecherous spendthrift Mr Mantalani. You really have to take your cap off to the grotesques Dickens creates for ‘Nicholas Nickleby’. The lead character I find particularly interesting as well. Sometimes Dickens can make the mistake of painting his heroes as too good to be true (see Twist, Oliver). And whereas that’s certainly the case with other players in this book (Kate Nickleby, Madeline, the Cherryble brothers) there’s something about Nicholas which is almost unlikeable. He starts off haughty and arrogant and never really loses that. He’s the kind of person who if you don't like him on first meeting will try to win you over with rudeness and aggression, and if that doesn’t work will just become ruder and even more aggressive. All the people who become his enemies are seen as being reprehensible themselves, but it’s undoubtedly true that Nicholas has a rare talent for rubbing people up the wrong way. That this book works so well, with a difficult hero and a bumper crop of villains, is testament to the incredible whirlwind skills of the young Dickens. The way he grabs these elements – be they schoolrooms or provincial theatres or swindles concerning wills or dotty mothers – and makes them into a coherent whole with laughs, drama and suspense along the way is really quite magnificent. Yes, he does fall back upon melodramatic coincidence a few times and it lacks the clear themes of his later books, but the enthusiastic vim with which it’s all delivered means that it’s impossible not to be swept along. I was particularly interested in the way Dickens crowbars his more personal concerns into the text. There was no copyright law in his day, an author would be paid on first publication but after that had little control. Any other publisher could knock out truncated versions of the book, or a theatrical manager stage unapproved adaptations. Obviously this wasn’t a matter close to the public’s heart (unlike the maltreatment of children) but he passionately raises it anyway. Early in the novel Nicholas has a job interview with a Member of Parliament (who is wonderfully described as “a tough, burly, thick headed gentleman, with a loud voice, a pompous manner, a tolerable command of sentences with no meaning in them, and, in short, every requisite for a very good member indeed.”) This MP laughs at “the poor grubbing devils of authors [wanting] a right to their own property,” and likens it to a man who utters a joke receiving recompense every time it’s uttered. Although Nicholas stays quiet in that chapter, anxious for a job, he clearly doesn’t agree. In a later chapter he meets Mr Snittle Timberry, ‘a literary gentleman’ who adapts novels for the stage. Here Nicholas (and, through him, Charles) turns the metaphoric shotgun on such wretches and shoots them full in the face: “You take the uncompleted books of living authors, fresh from their hands, wet from the press, cut, hack and carve them to the powers and capacities of your actors, and the capability of your theatres, finish unfinished works, hastily and crudely vamp up ideas not yet worked out by their original projector, but which have doubtless cost him many thoughtful days and sleepless nights... all without his permission, and against his will; and then, to crown the whole proceeding, publish in some mean pamphlet, an unmeaning farrago of garbled extracts from his work, to which you put your name as author.” Okay, so the copyright issue is no longer as vexing as it once was, but it’s fascinating to watch the young, and already great, author, rise up and forcibly introduce his voice and his issues so blatantly into proceedings. This is the great inimitable whirlwind of Charles Dickens himself, speaking out against those who would rip him off. No doubt he already knew he had a masterpiece on his hands and wanted to do all he could to protect it. And even if in the short term he failed, we can still feel the hairs rise on the back of our necks when we hear his voice speak out so clearly from this brilliant, brilliant book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ehsan'Shokraie'

    نسخه خلاصه ی این کتاب رو داشتم..خوب بود..احساس خاصی نسبت به دیکنز و نوشته هاش ندارم,اما بین کتاب های خسته کننده سلینجر و این مائده های زمینی..تنوع خوبی بود .خواندن اون دوتا حوصله فراوان میخواد..

  21. 5 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    Will review later.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Terrington

    "In short, the poor Nicklebys were social and happy; while the rich Nickleby was alone and miserable." The contrast between rich and poor, happy and miserable, greed and contentment, have always been key parts of all Dickens' works. Nicholas Nickleby is no exception to this rule in how Dickens sets up the titular hero as the originally poor, yet noble, character and the other men around him as scheming misers. The plot essentially follows the Nickleby family, left without a father and with Nichola "In short, the poor Nicklebys were social and happy; while the rich Nickleby was alone and miserable." The contrast between rich and poor, happy and miserable, greed and contentment, have always been key parts of all Dickens' works. Nicholas Nickleby is no exception to this rule in how Dickens sets up the titular hero as the originally poor, yet noble, character and the other men around him as scheming misers. The plot essentially follows the Nickleby family, left without a father and with Nicholas Nickleby a young man of nineteen. The Scrooge-resembling uncle, Ralph Nickleby is a rich man who feeds on misfortune and only because of his affection for Kate, Nicholas' sister, and family ties, he endeavours to set up Nicholas as a tutor at a private boys' school. However, it quickly is shown that the master of this school is a harsh villain who punishes the boys and abuses them wrongly and so Nicholas strikes out on his own, much to the ire of his uncle, who quickly becomes the novel's villain. And from this point the tale becomes one of Nicholas as a man standing against the abuses of power performed by Ralph and his many associates. The following quote is taken from one of the last chapters of the book and out of context it serves to do little other than allow one a glimpse of the beauty of Dickens' use of language. Look at the final statement in particular because while Dickens is known for his ability to organically create charming, loveable or villainous characters, his incredible ability to paint scenes and images with words are often neglected and this is what this paragraph highlights. "The night was dark, and a cold wind blew, driving the clouds, furiously and fast, before it. There was one black, gloomy mass that seemed to follow him: not hurrying in the wild chase with the others, but lingering sullenly behind, and gliding darkly and stealthily on. He often looked back at this, and, more than once, stopped to let it pass over; but, somehow, when he went forward again, it was still behind him, coming mournfully and slowly up, like a shadowy funeral train." The 'shadowy funeral train' is what Dickens suggests follows and haunts those who abuse their power. And that is what this novel follows, revealing a series of themes that suggest that love and honour should triumph over the dark necessities of scheming men. And that even where evil thoughts proceed with seeming impunity, eventually such actions lead to such men coming unstuck. Nicholas Nickleby may not be the finest of Dickens' works. It is too rough at the start and middle and only really becomes fully realised as a great work by the end. However for all its roughness it is a novel which exemplifies many key ideas that Dickens was eager to show to the world and as one of those rare novels about the depths of human despair, suffering and the injustice of suffering, it deserves to be read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    K.

    You guys should know by now that I'm a tragic Dickens fangirl. I've been obsessed with the dude's writing since I was ten. I passed Dickens Trash status many a long year ago. Nicholas Nickleby isn't one of my favourites, and it took me a solid week to get through it. But it's still definitely worth a regular reread. Nicholas as a character is kind of a pain. He clearly has anger management issues, and yet everyone fawns over him. Madeline is almost non-existent on the page, and yet we're suppose You guys should know by now that I'm a tragic Dickens fangirl. I've been obsessed with the dude's writing since I was ten. I passed Dickens Trash status many a long year ago. Nicholas Nickleby isn't one of my favourites, and it took me a solid week to get through it. But it's still definitely worth a regular reread. Nicholas as a character is kind of a pain. He clearly has anger management issues, and yet everyone fawns over him. Madeline is almost non-existent on the page, and yet we're supposed to believe there's this great love between them? Whatever, Charlie. Whatever. My love for this one comes not from Nicholas' story, but from all the secondary characters in Nicholas' story. The Squeers family are utterly ridiculous. Mrs Nickleby and her constant tangents and malapropisms is inadvertently hilarious. The Cheeryble Brothers are delightful cinnamon rolls. Ralph Nickleby is the epitome of "money corrupts". Smike is.....kind of gay for Nicholas, to be perfectly honest, but he's had such a horrible life that you can't help but find his wet blanketness endearing. John Browdie is a delightful country boy who seems like he's rough as guts but actually has a heart of gold. The Mantalinis are wonderfully melodramatic. Etcetera. Essentially, the plot is fairly basic when you think about it. The good guys all get happy endings. The villains all die or get transported. It's not exactly full of twists and turns. But the characters? The characters make it all worth it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Eirini Proikaki

    Δυστυχώς δεν μου άρεσε.Πρέπει να είναι το πιο φλύαρο βιβλίο του Ντίκενς ,και αν υπάρχει πιο φλύαρο πραγματικά ελπίζω να μην έρθει στα χέρια μου σύντομα. Στην αρχή μου άρεσε,μέχρι τη μέση το πάλευα,μετά άρχισε να με πιάνει απελπισία.Είναι σαν να μιλάει κάποιος,να λέει να λέει να λέει και στην ουσία να μην λέει τίποτα.770 πυκνογραμμένες σελίδες εξουθενωτικής φλυαρίας. Δεν ξέρω τι δεν πήγε καλά.Έχει αρκετά στοιχεία που υπάρχουν και σε άλλα βιβλία του αλλά όλα μου φάνηκαν μονότονα.Μονότονοι χαρακτήρες Δυστυχώς δεν μου άρεσε.Πρέπει να είναι το πιο φλύαρο βιβλίο του Ντίκενς ,και αν υπάρχει πιο φλύαρο πραγματικά ελπίζω να μην έρθει στα χέρια μου σύντομα. Στην αρχή μου άρεσε,μέχρι τη μέση το πάλευα,μετά άρχισε να με πιάνει απελπισία.Είναι σαν να μιλάει κάποιος,να λέει να λέει να λέει και στην ουσία να μην λέει τίποτα.770 πυκνογραμμένες σελίδες εξουθενωτικής φλυαρίας. Δεν ξέρω τι δεν πήγε καλά.Έχει αρκετά στοιχεία που υπάρχουν και σε άλλα βιβλία του αλλά όλα μου φάνηκαν μονότονα.Μονότονοι χαρακτήρες,μονότονη πλοκή,ακόμα και το χιούμορ του μου φάνηκε μονότονο,σαν να του λείπει η σπιρτάδα.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ruthiella

    This Dickens’ title definitely goes on my list of favorites. After the death of his father, Nicholas Nickleby must care for his mother and younger sister. When the family appeals to miserly uncle Ralph Nickleby for aid, he gets rid of them as quickly and cheaply as he can and Nicholas is sent to work as an assistant to the brutish school master Wackford Squeeres in Yorkshire where he befriends the poor, abused Smike. Nicholas soon leaves Yorkshire setting off a chain of events which engender his This Dickens’ title definitely goes on my list of favorites. After the death of his father, Nicholas Nickleby must care for his mother and younger sister. When the family appeals to miserly uncle Ralph Nickleby for aid, he gets rid of them as quickly and cheaply as he can and Nicholas is sent to work as an assistant to the brutish school master Wackford Squeeres in Yorkshire where he befriends the poor, abused Smike. Nicholas soon leaves Yorkshire setting off a chain of events which engender his uncle’s hatred of him. Basically the book becomes a battle of wits and wills between the headstrong and passionate Nicholas and his cold-hearted, despicable uncle. I particularly love Dickens for his colorful side characters and Nicholas Nickleby did not let me down in this regard. My favorites here were the comically self-respecting Kenwigs family that Nicholas encounters in London and the genial Yorkshirman John Brodie. The story meanders a lot, there are many tangents, but I really loved every page of it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cáitín Ní Loingeacháin

    I just lovely Charles Dickens and this book lives up to all the others I have read to-date. Nicholas Nickleby is are hero and he lives up to this in every way. His uncle is are villain and he lives up to the word. Nicholas wants nothing but to protect his mother and sister but his uncle has other plans for these two ladies will Nicholas be able to stop his evil plans. Why not read this novel and find out for yourself

  27. 5 out of 5

    Petra

    Loved it! This is the light, breezy, humorous, cheery side of Dickens. He must have written this through a good, happy period of his life. Nicholas Nickleby contains Dickens’ signature purely evil people and purely pure people, his incredibly described people and situations. It also is chockfull of humorous paragraphs, descriptions, situations and quippy one-liners. Wonderful, entertaining reading with a great story, lots of twists, turns and surprises.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    Recently someone asked me why Nicholas Nickleby is my second favorite Dickens book, thinking more about it it's my third favorite book out there, only behind A Christmas Carol and the one God wrote, not in that order. Anyway, I never wrote down how I felt about the book because that would feel like I'm reviewing the best author ever to walk the earth, which would just feel strange, but I write my thoughts about the Bible down so I suppose when I think of something about Dickens that would be nic Recently someone asked me why Nicholas Nickleby is my second favorite Dickens book, thinking more about it it's my third favorite book out there, only behind A Christmas Carol and the one God wrote, not in that order. Anyway, I never wrote down how I felt about the book because that would feel like I'm reviewing the best author ever to walk the earth, which would just feel strange, but I write my thoughts about the Bible down so I suppose when I think of something about Dickens that would be nice to remember, like why I like a book, I'd have it here before me. I love Nicholas Nickleby because of how awful life can be. I love it because a long, long time ago, but not long enough, when I could finally sit down with hours of free time on my hands I picked it up. I never heard of it before, I had read A Christmas Carol for years and years every July - yes, July - but had never read another Dickens book and for some reason all those long years ago when I decided to give another one a try I walked into a bookstore, went to where Dickens would be, reached up and picked out a book without much thought to what it was and came home with Nicholas Nickleby. And then life got awful again. My mom came to me and asked me to feel a lump she had in her neck and asked if I thought it was just swollen glands. No, I didn't think that at all, but of course I said yes, and in a few months she was gone and I wasn't at the house every day doing what you have to do when your mom is dying of cancer. I was sitting on my bedroom floor looking out the window holding Nicholas Nickelby in my hands. Nicholas Nichleby made me laugh again. It also made me cry for those boys in the school run by Mr. Squeers and his awful wife. I was cheering for the good guys and wishing all sorts of horrible things to happen to the bad guys. Sir Mulberry Hawk is lucky I couldn't get into the story or he might not be around anymore. I cried when one of the good guys died and when one of the bad (sort of) guys died too, but finally, they were different kinds of tears. The book started with a man who had a wife, two sons, and no money. He seemed to be unlucky at every thing he tried, but an uncle died leaving him an inheritance, with which he managed to leave when he died, to his eldest son, Ralph, three thousand pounds in cash, and to his youngest son, Nicholas, one thousand and the farm. And this is what happened because of this: These two brothers had been brought up together in a school at Exeter; and, being accustomed to go home once a week, had often heard, from their mother’s lips, long accounts of their father’s sufferings in his days of poverty, and of their deceased uncle’s importance in his days of affluence: which recitals produced a very different impression on the two: for, while the younger, who was of a timid and retiring disposition, gleaned from thence nothing but forewarnings to shun the great world and attach himself to the quiet routine of a country life, Ralph, the elder, deduced from the often-repeated tale the two great morals that riches are the only true source of happiness and power, and that it is lawful and just to compass their acquisition by all means short of felony. ‘And,’ reasoned Ralph with himself, ‘if no good came of my uncle’s money when he was alive, a great deal of good came of it after he was dead, inasmuch as my father has got it now, and is saving it up for me, which is a highly virtuous purpose; and, going back to the old gentleman, good did come of it to him too, for he had the pleasure of thinking of it all his life long, and of being envied and courted by all his family besides.’ And Ralph always wound up these mental soliloquies by arriving at the conclusion, that there was nothing like money. And that's what the book is about. By the time their father dies Ralph is already living in London working in a mercantile house, and his pursuit of money-getting goes on and on. He forgets anyone and anything besides making money, and that includes his brother and his children. Unluckily for Ralph and his brother, his brother manages to die and his widow shows up at his door with her children, Nicholas, now a young gentleman and Kate, his quiet and always good sister, which seems to annoy people, and things don't go all that well from there, not for a long time anyway. Ralph can't stand Nicholas, because Ralph can't stand anyone, and Nicholas can't stand Ralph because he's Ralph. I hate Ralph. Then there is Wackford Squeers, dear, sweet Ralph gets Nicholas work as a teacher at the school Squeers runs and nothing I can say can give you an idea of how awful it was. I hate him too, and I hate Sir Mulberry Hawk for the same reason Nicholas hates Ralph, because he's there. But there is Smike, and the Cherryble brothers, there is Miss La Crevy, Newman Noggs, and Vincent Crummles. I am so glad I met these people and as for the Crummles, every now and then I dig out the book just to re-read the theater scenes because of him. I loved the book and I hope if you give it a try you love it too. I just hope it is for a different reason. Happy reading.

  29. 5 out of 5

    the gift

    this is possibly/probably the last dickens i will read, for a while at least. i might reread 'great expectations' to see if i still like it, but not soon. i have just read Borges claim he only reads for pleasure, not because it is classic. well i have read the last 3 dickens for just that reason, somebody told me they are 'classics'. by now i have read 5 dickens, enough to venture an understanding of his work. i can see why he is still read, why he is adapted for films, for tv and miniseries: it this is possibly/probably the last dickens i will read, for a while at least. i might reread 'great expectations' to see if i still like it, but not soon. i have just read Borges claim he only reads for pleasure, not because it is classic. well i have read the last 3 dickens for just that reason, somebody told me they are 'classics'. by now i have read 5 dickens, enough to venture an understanding of his work. i can see why he is still read, why he is adapted for films, for tv and miniseries: it is all about story... no, it is not about writing, complex characters, entwining plot, but purely story. why do i look for irony? good is 'good', bad is 'bad'. in all times, all places, all circumstances, and the characters met never surprise or contradict or change much. primary villain is only true in one way: he lies to everyone else but he never lies to himself, he knows he is a dastardly devil, he knows he does wrong... but in the end all his plans are poetically overthrown and he poetically punished... some stylistic points become more apparent to me, after reading 5 dickens: he does use a lot of punctuation, less exclamations in this book, but his characters have a tendency to speak only exactly as imagined, to say what they would say, to describe their emotions openly- whether to friends or in soliloquies to themselves, and this moves the story along. this is perhaps the era written. the narrative goes in and out of given characters but even in unvoiced thoughts, they are consistent. i read that this is his first 'comic novel' and there is a lot of satire but the horrors undergone by the most pathetic is not laugh out loud... and he is fun with the characters, their misapprehensions, from the daughter of the evil schoolmaster who decides nick must love her, to nick's mother who alternates between silly reminiscence and present delusion, in dreaming of return to riches, to the woman who first loves kate then decides to hate her when she becomes noticed by this woman's unknowing admirer, to the short sketches of various juniors to evil- helpful friends of dissolute aristocrats, schoolmaster's wife terror, false bribed-father. this is where 'dickensian characters' come from. why i want surprise or irony or whatever is not clear, just my prejudice against nobility and goodness according to first impressions, to women being beautiful being good being beautiful. there is an interesting part when nick tries acting, but for the most part the plot is direct and concerns linear... and dickens' sympathetic treatment of the poor, then his outrage, his disgust with the entitled, the false, all those oppressors- is very apparent. what did say Marx think of this? coincidence is providential and/or essential to bring people together. the good immediately understand and nobly aid each other, the bad fight among themselves for each their selfish aims. yes you will have no problem hating the hateful. no problem pitying the pitiful. maybe some problem crediting the romantic and honest and self-denying... so, maybe dickens is just not for me. if anyone says you 'have' to read dickens: i disagree, just watch the movies and various tv miniseries, it is all 'story', not 'poetry'. i will need strong arguments to read him again...

  30. 5 out of 5

    Davide

    Provisional "Mystery and disappointment are not absolutely indispensable to the growth of love, but they are very often its powerful auxiliaries." ...and my favourite character is Newman Noggs.

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