The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby

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Penguin, Nov 1, 1999 - Fiction - 864 pages
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When Nicholas Nickleby is left penniless after his father’s death, he appeals to his wealthy uncle to help him find work and to protect his mother and sister. But Ralph Nickleby proves both hard-hearted and unscrupulous, and Nicholas finds himself forced to make his own way in the world. Nicholas’s adventures gave Dickens the opportunity to portray a extraordinary gallery of rogues and eccentrics: Wackford Squeers, tyrannical headmaster of Dotheboys Hall, a school for unwanted boys; the slow-witted orphan Smike, rescued by Nicholas; and the gloriously theatrical Mr and Mrs Crummle, and their daughter, the ‘infant phenomenon’. Like many of Dickens’s novels, Nicholas Nickleby is characterized by his outrage at cruelty and social injustice, but it is also a flamboyantly exuberant work, revealing Dickens’s comic genius at its most unerring.

Mark Ford’s introduction compares Nicholas Nickleby to eighteenth-century picaresque novels, and examines Dickens’s criticism of the ‘Yorkshire Schools’, his social satire and use of language. This edition also includes the original illustrations by ‘Phiz’, a chronology and a list for further reading.


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CHAPTER 1Introduces all the Rest
CHAPTER 33In which Mr Ralph Nickleby is relieved by a very expeditious Process from all Commerce with his relations
CHAPTER 34Wherein Mr Ralph Nickleby is visited by Persons with whom the Reader has been already made acquainted
CHAPTER 35Smike becomes known to Mrs Nickleby and Kate Nicholas also meets with new Acquaintances and brighter Days seem to dawn upon t...
CHAPTER 36Private and confidential relating to family matters Showing how Mr Kenwigs underwent violent Agitation and how Mrs Kenwigs was a...
CHAPTER 37Nicholas finds further Favour in the eyes of the Brothers Cheeryble and Mr Timothy Linkinwater The Brothers give a Banquet on a gre...
CHAPTER 38Comprises certain Particulars arising out of a Visit of Condolence which may prove important hereafter Smike unexpectedly encounter...
CHAPTER 39In which another old Friend encounters Smike very opportunely and to some purpose
CHAPTER 40In which Nicholas falls in Love He employs a Mediator whose Proceedings are crowned with unexpected Success excepting in one solit...

CHAPTER 2Of Mr Ralph Nickleby and his Establishment and his Undertakings And of a great Joint Stock Company of vast national importance
CHAPTER 3Mr Ralph Nickleby receives Sad Tidings of his Brother but bears up nobly against the intelligence communicated to him The Reader is i...
CHAPTER 4Nicholas and his Uncle to secure the Fortune without loss of time wait upon Mr Wackford Squeers the Yorkshire Schoolmaster
CHAPTER 5Nicholas starts for Yorkshire of his Leavetaking and his Fellow Travellers and what befell them on the road
CHAPTER 6In which the Occurrence of the Accident mentioned in the last Chapter affords an opportunity to a couple of Gentlemen to tell Stories ag...
CHAPTER 7Mr and Mrs Squeers at Home
CHAPTER 8Of the Internal Economy of Dotheboys Hall
CHAPTER 9Of Miss Squeers Mrs Squeers Master Squeers and Mr Squeers and various Matters and Persons connected no less with the Squeerses than...
CHAPTER 10How Mr Ralph Nickleby provided for his Niece and SisterinLaw
CHAPTER 11Mr Newman Noggs inducts Mrs and Miss Nickleby into their New Dwelling in the City
CHAPTER 12Whereby the Reader will be enabled to trace the further course of Miss Fanny Squeerss Love and to ascertain whether it ran smoothly o...
CHAPTER 13Nicholas varies the monotony of Dotheboys Hall by a most vigorous and remarkable Proceeding which leads to Consequences of some...
CHAPTER 14Having the Misfortune to treat of none but Common People is necessarily of a Mean and Vulgar Character
CHAPTER 15Acquaints the Reader with the Cause and Origin of the Interruption described in the last Chapter and with some other Matters necessary...
CHAPTER 16Nicholas seeks to employ himself in a New Capacity and being unsuccessful accepts an engagement as Tutor in a Private Family
CHAPTER 17Follows the Fortunes of Miss Nickleby
CHAPTER 18Miss Knag after doting on Kate Nickleby for three whole Days makes up her mind to hate her for evermore The causes which lead Mis...
CHAPTER 19Descriptive of a Dinner at Mr Ralph Nicklebys and of the Manner in which the Company entertained themselves before Dinner at Dinn...
CHAPTER 20Wherein Nicholas at length encounters his Uncle to whom he expresses his Sentiments with much Candour His Resolution
CHAPTER 21Madame Mantalini finds herself in a Situation of some Difficulty and Miss Nickleby finds herself in no Situation at all
CHAPTER 22Nicholas accompanied by Smike sallies forth to seek his Fortune He encounters Mr Vincent Crummles and who he was is herein made ...
CHAPTER 23Treats of the Company of Mr Vincent Crummles and of his Affairs Domestic and Theatrical
CHAPTER 24Of the Great Bespeak for Miss Snevellicci and the first appearance of Nicholas upon any Stage
CHAPTER 25Concerning a young lady from London who joins the Company and an elderly Admirer who follows in her Train with an affecting Cer...
CHAPTER 26Is fraught with some Danger to Miss Nicklebys Peace of Mind
CHAPTER 27Mrs Nickleby becomes acquainted with Messrs Pyke and Pluck whose Affection and Interest are beyond all bounds
CHAPTER 28Miss Nickleby rendered desperate by the Persecution of Sir Mulberry Hawk and the complicated Difficulties and Distresses which surro...
CHAPTER 29Of the Proceedings of Nicholas and certain Internal Divisions in the Company of Mr Vincent Crummles
CHAPTER 30Festivities are held in honour of Nicholas who suddenly withdraws himself from the society of Mr Vincent Crummles and his Theatrica...
CHAPTER 31Of Ralph Nickleby and Newman Noggs and some wise Precautions the success or failure of which will appear in the Sequel
CHAPTER 32Relating chiefly to some remarkable Conversation and some remarkable Proceedings to which it gives rise
CHAPTER 41Containing some Romantic Passages between Mrs Nickleby and the Gentleman in the SmallClothes next Door
CHAPTER 42Illustrative of the convivial Sentiment that the best of Friends must sometimes part
CHAPTER 43Officiates as a kind of Gentleman Usher in bringing various people together
CHAPTER 44Mr Ralph Nickleby cuts an old Acquaintance It would also appear from the contents hereof that a joke even between Husband and Wif...
CHAPTER 45Containing matter of a surprising kind
CHAPTER 46Throws some light upon Nicholass Love but whether for Good or Evil the Reader must determine
CHAPTER 47Mr Ralph Nickleby has some confidential intercourse with another old Friend They concert between them a Project which promises wel...
CHAPTER 48Being for the benefit of Mr Vincent Crummles and Positively his last Appearance on this Stage
CHAPTER 49Chronicles the further Proceedings of the Nickleby Family and the Sequel of the Adventure of the Gentleman in the SmallClothes
CHAPTER 50Involves a serious Catastrophe
CHAPTER 51The project of Mr Ralph Nickleby and his Friend approaching a successful Issue becomes unexpectedly known to another Party not ad...
CHAPTER 52Nicholas despairs of rescuing Madeline Bray but plucks up his spirits again and determines to attempt it Domestic Intelligence of the Ke...
CHAPTER 53Containing the further progress of the Plot contrived by Mr Ralph Nickleby and Mr Arthur Gride
CHAPTER 54The Crisis of the Project and its Result
CHAPTER 55Of Family matters Cares Hopes Disappointments and Sorrows
CHAPTER 56Ralph Nickleby baffled by his Nephew in his late Design hatches a scheme of Retaliation which accident suggests to him and takes into ...
CHAPTER 57How Ralph Nicklebys Auxiliary went about his work and how he prospered with it
CHAPTER 58In which one Scene of this History is closed
CHAPTER 59The Plots begin to fail and doubts and dangers to disturb the Plotter
CHAPTER 60The Dangers thicken and the worst is told
CHAPTER 61Wherein Nicholas and his Sister forfeit the Good Opinion of all worldly and prudent People
CHAPTER 62Ralph makes one last Appointment and keeps it
CHAPTER 63The Brothers Cheeryble make various Declarations for themselves and others and Tim Linkinwater makes a Declaration for himself
CHAPTER 64An old Acquaintance is Recognised under melancholy circumstances and Dotheboys Hall breaks up for ever
CHAPTER 65Conclusion
APPENDIX 1The Nickleby Proclamation
APPENDIX 2Running Titles Added in 1867
APPENDIX 3Significant Revisions Made to the 1848 and 1867 Editions

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About the author (1999)

Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Landport, Portsea, England. He died in Kent on June 9, 1870. The second of eight children of a family continually plagued by debt, the young Dickens came to know not only hunger and privation,but also the horror of the infamous debtors’ prison and the evils of child labor. A turn of fortune in the shape of a legacy brought release from the nightmare of prison and “slave” factories and afforded Dickens the opportunity of two years’ formal schooling at Wellington House Academy. He worked as an attorney’s clerk and newspaper reporter until his Sketches by Boz (1836) and The Pickwick Papers (1837) brought him the amazing and instant success that was to be his for the remainder of his life. In later years, the pressure of serial writing, editorial duties, lectures, and social commitments led to his separation from Catherine Hogarth after twenty-three years of marriage. It also hastened his death at the age of fifty-eight, when he was characteristically engaged in a multitude of work.

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