The Old Curiosity Shop

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Penguin, 2000 - Fiction - 575 pages
Little Nell Trent lives in the quiet gloom of the old curiosity shop with her ailing grandfather, for whom she cares with selfless devotion. But when they are unable to pay their debts to the loathsome Quilp, the shop is seized and they are forced to flee, thrown into a shadowy world in which there seems to be no safe haven. Dickens’s portrayal of the innocent, tragic Nell made 'The Old Curiosity Shop' an instant bestseller that captured the hearts of the nation, even while it was criticized for its sentimentality. Yet alongside the story’s pathos are some of Dickens’s greatest comic and grotesque creations; the ne’er-do’well Dick Swiveller, the mannish lawyer Sally Brass, the half-starved ‘Marchioness’ and the lustful, demonic Quilp himself.
 

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Page xvi - The desire to be buried next her is as strong upon me now, as it was five years ago; and I know (for I don't think there ever was love like that I bear her) that it will never diminish.
Page 5 - Men who pay for what they eat will insist on gratifying their palates, however nice and whimsical these may prove ; and if everything is not agreeable to their taste, will challenge a right to censure, to abuse, and to d — n their dinner without control.

About the author (2000)

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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