The life and adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (1914) by Charles Dickens

The life and adventures of Nicholas Nickleby 



Plot
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.



" The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby " was first published as a volume in 1839, having previously been issued in twenty monthly parts, from April 1838 to October 1839. Its full title was " The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby: containing a faithful account of the fortunes, misfortunes, uprisings, downfallings, and complete career of the NicklAy family' ' 

This Edition contains all the emendations made in the text as revised by the Author in 1867 and 1868, a portrait of the novelist by Daniel Maclise, M.A., and reproductions of the original illustrations by Phiz.

Review by 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 of 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 dynamism in combination with his social criticism.

 
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