The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, Volume 1 (Google eBook)

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Charles Dickens
Macmillan, 1886
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Dickens' first real novel and the one in which he found his voice. The general assertion about the book is that the work was too conventional until the arrival of Pickwick's delightful cockney servant, Samuel Weller, but I rather like the earlier chapters of pastoral tomfoolery on the part of the four friends in late middle age. But Weller is wonderful in his own right and helps to impart to this work the great gusto, the sheer overpowering joy of life, that Chesterton found the essence of Dickens. It is a wonderful grab bag of a book--part picaresque, part meditative--and delightfully written. A fine introduction to Dickens and this reviewer's favorite, though perhaps not as great as Our Mutual Friend. 

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Page 106 - A rare old plant is the Ivy green. Whole ages have fled and their works decayed, And nations have scattered been; But the stout old Ivy shall never fade, From its hale and hearty green. The brave old plant in its lonely days, Shall fatten upon the past: For the stateliest building man can raise, Is the Ivy's food at last. Creeping on, where time has been, A rare old plant is the Ivy green.
Page 438 - Well, it's no use talking about it now,' said Sam. 'It's over, and can't be helped, and that's one consolation, as they always says in Turkey, ven they cuts the wrong man's head off. It's my innings now, gov'rnor, and as soon as I catches hold o' this ere Trotter, I'll have a good "un.
Page 8 - THAT punctual servant of all work, the sun, had just risen, and begun to strike a light on the morning of the thirteenth of May, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven, when Mr. Samuel Pickwick burst like another sun from his slumbers ; threw open his chamber window, and looked out upon the world beneath.
Page 86 - ... or resounded with the noise of feasting and revelry. On either side, the banks of the Medway, covered with cornfields and pastures, with here and there a windmill, or a distant church, stretched away as far as the eye could see, presenting a rich and varied landscape, rendered more beautiful by the changing shadows which passed swiftly across it, as the thin and half-formed clouds skimmed away in the light of the morning sun.
Page 2 - That this Association has heard read, with feelings of unmingled satisfaction, and unqualified approval, the paper communicated by Samuel Pickwick, Esq., GCMPC,* entitled 'Speculations on the Source of the Hampstead Ponds, with some Observations on the Theory of Tittlebats...
Page xxii - As this letter is to be historical,' he wrote, ' I may as well claim what little belongs to me in the matter, and that is, the figure of Pickwick, Seymour's first sketch,' made from the proof of my first chapter, ' was of a long, thin man. The present immortal one he made from my description of a friend of mine at Richmond.
Page xl - Papers, that they are a mere series of adventures, in which the scenes are ever changing, and the characters come and go like the men and women we encounter in the real world, he can only content himself with the reflection, that they claim to be nothing else, and that the same objection has been made to the works of some of the greatest novelists in the English language. The following pages have been written from time to time, almost as the periodical occasion arose. Having been written for the...
Page xxxix - THE author's object in this work, was to place before the reader a constant succession of characters and incidents ; to paint them in as vivid colours as he could command ; and to render them, at the same time, life-like and amusing.
Page 106 - Oh! a dainty plant is the Ivy green, That creepeth o'er ruins old! Of right choice food are his meals, I ween, In his cell so lone and cold.
Page 23 - The principal productions of these towns," says Mr. Pickwick, " appear to be soldiers, sailors, Jews, chalk, shrimps, officers, and dockyard men. The commodities chiefly exposed for sale in the public streets are marine stores, hard-bake, apples, flat-fish, and oysters. The streets present a lively and animated appearance, occasioned chiefly by the conviviality of the military.

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