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Published in serial form between 1838 and 1839, Nicholas Nickleby is the tale of a young man forced to grow up and face the world in all of its wild and raucous variety. Nicholas loses his father and becomes the man of his family. As such, he must help provide for his mother and sister. He takes a job as an assistant at what appears to be a respectable boys' school, not realizing that the "school" is a miserable institution where children are ill-treated and receive no education. Fed up with the horrors of the school, Nicholas seizes a moment's opportunity and escapes. He happens upon a traveling showman, who hires him to assist with his troupe's performances. Nicholas believes his troubles are over, but as any experienced reader of Dickens knows, life is never so simple. Full of adventure, comedy, and delightful intrigue, Nicholas Nickleby is one of Dickens's most celebrated works, beloved by generations for its color, whimsy, and spirit.
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Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was uniquely successful as a writer during his lifetime, enjoying huge followings from readers and audiences in England and America. When, early in life, sudden misfortune sent his family into extreme poverty, the young Charles was sent to work in a factory. Never forgetting this childhood misery, Dickens wrote often in later life about the plights of the working poor. As a young man he became a law clerk and stenographer, moving into journalism in the 1830s. Dickens's early journalistic sketches formed the basis for his first literary works. With the 1836 serialized publication of The Pickwick Papers, his unparalleled success as an author began. Dickens went on to write such famous novels as David Copperfield, Great Expectations, Barnaby Rudge, Hard Times, and Bleak House, with all of his works remaining in print to this day.Back to top
Opening Lines (Experimental)
This story was begun, within a few months after the publication of the completed "Pickwick Papers." There were, then, a good many cheap Yorkshire schools in existence. There are very few now.
Of the monstrous neglect of education in England, and the disregard of it by the State as a means of ...
Reviewed by hmain on Nov 27, 2012
Having only read 1 of Dickens' novels in high school (Great Expectations) without enjoying it, for years I've stayed away from his other works. A love of all things Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell, however, created a great love of BBC movies. And BBC reintroduced Dickens to me with their recent adaptations of Bleak House and Little Dorrit. So I decided to give him another try with Nicholas Nickleby. I loved it!! So much, in fact, that after a few chapters of reading it with DailyLit I simply had to purchase a hard cover edition to add to my library. With an engaging plot and characters that are moving and at times comical, Nickleby has made it's way to the top of my book list!
Reviewed by metaphor4 on Feb 19, 2011
The human condition
"I have tried reading Dickens...." was what I would say to people who had read Dickens. I had started a few of Dickens' works a number of times and always found myself irritated by the over flowery beginnings. Definitely paid by the word, I thought, yawn. Then I read Nicholas Nickleby, one of my firend's favourite books. I have absolutely loved the humour and honesty regarding human frailty, in all senses of the word. The plot was a predictable heaven, especially if you like your plot with no loose ends and a satisfactory ending. Amazingly enjoyable. I'm not wholly sure nearly 200 years has elapsed since it was written because it all seems so familiar.
This book has entered my top 10! Along with an ecelectic mix of others from "Perfume" by Patrick Suskind to "Stardust" & "American Gods" by Neil Gaiman.
Reviewed by DickensDitty on Mar 21, 2009
Dickens' Soars in Expose tale
Like most of his novels, Dickens took a piece of social commentary and turned it into one masterpiece that survives the centuries, when such problems are long since past. Nicholas Nickleby tells the tale of a family broken by the death of their father, and relying on the help of a mysterious uncle. Yet, uncovers the problems of the old schools for boys, treatment of the disabled, as well a good turn of romance and Dickens-wit. Thoroughly good read and well worth the time.
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Ratings for 'Nicholas Nickleby' by Dickens, Charles