'"I may grow rich!" repeated Nicholas, with a mournful smile, "ay, and I may grow old. But rich or poor, or old or young, we shall ever be the same to each other, and in that our comfort lies"'
The work of a young novelist at the height of his powers, Nicholas Nickleby is one of the touchstones of the English comic novel. Around the central story of Nicholas Nickleby and the misfortunes of his family, Dickens created some of his most wonderful characters: the muddle-headed Mrs Nickleby, the gloriously theatrical Crummles, their protege Miss Petowker, the pretentious Mantalinis and the mindlessly cruel Squeers and his wife. Nicholas Nickleby's loose, haphazard progress harks back to the picaresque novels of the 18th century - particularly those of Smollett and Fielding. Yet the novel's exuberant atmosphere of romance, adventure and freedom is overshadowed by Dickens' awareness of social ills and financial and class insecurity.
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Nicholas starts for Yorkshire of his Leavetaking
the last Chapter affords an opportunity to a couple
Of the Internal Economy of Dotheboys Hall
Of Miss Squeers Mrs Squeers Master Squeers
Having the Misfortune to treat of none but Common
Acquaints the Reader with the Cause and Origin
Nicholas seeks to employ himself in a New Capacity
Tutor in a Private Family
Miss Knag after doting on Kate Nickleby for three
Wherein Nicholas at length encounters his Uncle
Madame Mantalini finds herself in a Situation of some
How Mr Ralph Nickleby provided for his Niece
Mr Newman Noggs inducts Mrs and Miss Nickleby into
Whereby the Reader will be enabled to trace
Nicholas varies the monotony of Dotheboys Hall by
Nicholas accompanied by Smike sallies forth to seek
Treats of the Company of Mr Vincent Crummles
Of the Great Bespeak for Miss Snevellicci and
Concerning a young lady from London who joins