When young orphan, Oliver Twist, is sold into an apprenticeship with an undertaker, he leaves behind years of miserable servitude and mistreatment at an English workhouse.
Hoping to move on to better things, he decides to escape his new, equally dreary surroundings and head to London. It is there that the novel unravels as Oliver meets a host of larger-than-life characters, including The Artful Dodger, a high-ranking member of a juvenile pickpocketing gang, and their elderly leader, Fagin. The two are befriended by a man whose wife hires Little Dorrit as a seamstress. When William Dorrit inherits a fortune, he escapes the Marshalsea.
The family, assuming a station befitting their wealth, travel to Italy. A mysterious boatman on the Thames, a drowned heir, a dustman and his wife, and a host of other Dickens characters populate this novel of relationships between the classes, money, greed, and love. The 58 characters are presented with remarkable clarity by David Timson.
Martin Chuzzlewit (Penguin Classics) - Charles Dickens
We follow David Copperfield from birth and miserable childhood to inevitable tragedies, until he finally finds happiness later in life. Full of some of the most memorable characters in literary history. After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille, the ageing Doctor Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There the lives of two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette.
From the tranquil roads of London, they are drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror, and they soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine. Set against the backdrop of the Gordon Riots of , Barnaby Rudge reflects back on a time of revolt against the British parliament, following the Catholic Relief Act of Despite the title, Dickens's portrayal of early industrial society is less relentlessly grim than that in novels by contemporaries such as Elizabeth Gaskell or Charles Kingsley.
Hard Times weaves the tale of Thomas Gradgrind, a hard-headed politician who raises his children Louisa and Tom without love and to have no empathy, their lives completely devoid of beauty, culture, or imagination. Only after a series of crises does their father realise that the manner in which he raised his children has ruined their lives. The story of a woman's struggle for independence from an abusive husband. Helen 'Graham' has returned to Wildfell Hall in flight from a disastrous marriage and to protect her young son from the influence of his father. Exiled to the desolate moorland mansion, she adopts an assumed name and earns her living as a painter.
Gilbert Markham, a local man intrigued by the beautiful young 'widow' offers his friendship but becomes distrustful when her reclusive behaviour sparks rumours and speculation. It is a June day in London in , and the lovely Clarissa Dalloway is having a party. Whom will she see?
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Penguin Classics: Martin Chuzzlewit
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