Great Expectations: Authoritative Text, Backgrounds, Contexts, Criticism

Front Cover
Norton, 1999 - Fiction - 748 pages
7 Reviews
Great Expectations charts the progress of Pip from childhood through often painful experiences to adulthood, as he moves from the Kent marshes to busy, commercial London, encountering a variety of extraordinary characters ranging from Magwitch, the escaped convict, to Miss Havisham, locked up with her unhappy past and living with her ward, the arrogant, beautiful Estella. Pip must discover his true self, and his own set of values and priorities. Whether such values allow one to prosper in the complex world of early Victorian England is the major question posed by Great Expectations, one of Dickens's most fascinating, and disturbing, novels. This edition includes the original, discarded ending, Dickens's brief working notes, and the serial instalments and chapter divisions in different editions. It also uses the definitive Clarendon text.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Cailin - LibraryThing

I read Great Expectations for my book group. I listened to the audio book and then read the book off and on. I really enjoyed all of the characters, the contrast they had to one another and the plot ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - kenkuhlken - LibraryThing

Of the authors I’ve read, Dickens is tops in blending seamless plotting, characters who are both complex and consistent, a gradual and steady building of tension with new questions and complications ... Read full review

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About the author (1999)

Charles Dickens, perhaps the best British novelist of the Victorian era, was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England on February 7, 1812. His happy early childhood was interrupted when his father was sent to debtors' prison, and young Dickens had to go to work in a factory at age twelve. Later, he took jobs as an office boy and journalist before publishing essays and stories in the 1830s. His first novel, The Pickwick Papers, made him a famous and popular author at the age of twenty-five. Subsequent works were published serially in periodicals and cemented his reputation as a master of colorful characterization, and as a harsh critic of social evils and corrupt institutions. His many books include Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Bleak House, Great Expectations, Little Dorrit, A Christmas Carol, and A Tale of Two Cities. Dickens married Catherine Hogarth in 1836, and the couple had nine children before separating in 1858 when he began a long affair with Ellen Ternan, a young actress. Despite the scandal, Dickens remained a public figure, appearing often to read his fiction. He died in 1870, leaving his final novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, unfinished.

A native of Germany, Edgar Rosenberg received his Ph.D. at Stanford University and since 1965 as been Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Cornell University. He is the author of From Shylock to Svengali and some fifty pieces of short fiction, translations, and articles in journals ranging from Esquire to Commentary to The Dickensian. He has taught at San Jose State College and Harvard University, has been Visiting Professor at Stanford University and the University of Haifa, and has received Guggenheim, Fulbright, Bread Loaf, and Stanford Fiction Fellowships as well as the Clark Distinguished Teaching Award at Cornell.

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