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Great Expectations Paperback – Dec 31 2002

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (Dec 31 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141439564
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141439563
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2.4 x 19.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #57,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"No story in the first person was ever better told."

About the Author

Charles Dickens (1812-70) was a political reporter and journalist whose popularity was established by the phenomenally successful Pickwick Papers (1836-7). His novels captured and held the public imagination over a period of more than thirty years. David Trotter is Quain Professor of English Language and Literature and Head of Department at University College London. Charlotte Mitchell is Lecturer in English at University College London.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
My father's family name being Pirrip, and my christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Oct. 12 2003
Format: Paperback
Looking at the reviews for this book, it seems many are reading this book for the first time, as I did, as part of an English Literature course in high school.
Believe me, we can all assure you that this can be a difficult book for a ninth grader to enjoy. After all, we're talking about blacksmiths, pirates, and so on. Hardly things the average teenager of the 2000s can relate to.
But if you're in your twenties, thirties, or forties, this book is as compelling a novel as you'll ever read. It's an opportunity to look back at Pip and ourselves, the great expectations we all have, and the major surprises, disappointments, and regrets of life.
The adult reader can understand the vindictiveness of Miss Havisham, the pride of Magwitch, the true and rare friendship of Herbert Pocket, and, of course, Estella. Each man has in his life an Estella.
Beyond the true-to-life tale of hope and defeat, is the wry humor throughout the book that a more mature reader can appreciate.
Surprise yourself. If you hated this in high school, pick it up now; you may find this is one of the best books you ever read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rocco Dormarunno on Oct. 30 2003
Format: Paperback
Why, in God's name, do high school teachers insist on stuffing this complex novel down the throats of their teen-aged students? Because the initial chapters are narrated by, Pip, a little boy we watch become a young man? Because there are pirates and bad guys in it? Because there's a sort of love story? I'm sure some high schoolers understand GREAT EXPECTATIONS but the majority of them... I don't think so.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS contains many complicated, adult themes and issues that adults will surely appreciate. A virtual encyclopedia of human emotions--fear, child abuse, anticipation, disappointment, love, jealousy, manipulation--this greatest of all of Dickens' novels has everything. And all these ingredients are woven into an incredibly entangled plot, full of twists and turns. On top of all that, the novel is also a virtual encyclopedia of the layout and attitudes of Victorian London.
Holding it all together is Pip's incredible perceptions into his world and his emotions. Never before had there been a character so aware of his feelings and, still, because he is human, he allows these emotions to sometimes compel him to do the opposite of what is right and best. Pip does sometimes behave like the child and young adult he is, but that doesn't mean this novel is suitable for anyone of that age.
Rocco Dormarunno, author of The Five Points
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By A Customer on July 7 2004
Format: Paperback
Virtually every writer that has lived after Dicken's owes him a debt. While by today's standards he may seem verbose and long-winded, taken into context he is a marvel of craftsmanship and wit. And even taken out of context, he still survives, like Shakespeare, Marlow, or many of the other great writers. GREAT EXPECTATIONS is one of the few "perfect" books that have ever been written. What constitutes a "perfect" book? I'd say it would have to be pacing, excellent story material, a plot that makes sense and resolves itself, and wonderful writing. Believe it or not, few books fall into this category. Steinbeck's EAST OF EDEN comes to mind, as does McCrae's THE BARK OF THE DOGWOOD or Capote's OTHER VOICES, OTHER ROOMS. There are more, but not a lot. Of all of Dicken's works, GREAT EXPECTATIONS is by far his best effort. It's not as long as DAVID COPPERFIELD or some of his more protracted works, and this is probably the reason it's read in high school. If you're just now discovering this immense and talented genius, try this book first.
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By Matt B. on June 23 2004
Format: Paperback
Many reviewers have called this Dickens' greatest novel. One reviewer says it was the first time a character's feeling had been explored in such detail. These things I cannot comment on - this is the first Dickens novel I ever read, and I am not familiar with other works of this period. I can say that it was a damn fine read though.
I must admit, maybe it was a convention of the time, but there were a great many impossible coincidences in this story. The term "soap opera" even crossed my mind at one point. In the end I forgave these improbable coincidences because the story was so compelling, and the novel so old, and the author of legendary repute.
I loved the saint-like character Joe. I think he was my favorite character. And Dickens does a masterful job of showing the friendship between Pip - the protaganist - and Joe and especially Herbert. Miss Havisham is the picture of the bizarre rich recluse. And Estella the epitome of the cold-hearted shrew. All of the characters are rich.
And it is true, as many other reviewers have commented, that so many issues are explored in this work. The meaning of true love, genuine friendship, the implications of "moving up" and it's effects on family and friends, good fortune, redemption, etc. It's all there - life is there.
The book was slow at certain parts, but most of the time I found myself eagerly turning the pages. Dickens is a master at compelling his reader to turn the pages. What will happen next? At some of the titanic coincidences and plot turns I found myself thinking, "what?! You've got to be kidding me..." and then begging for more. I think you will too.
There are some deeply heartfelt moments. Deeply heartfelt, touching, that inspired warm feelings in me. It was a pleasant change of pace from the darker, more cynical literature of today (though there are evil people and violent actions in Great Expectations as well). The final lesson of redemption is truly heartwarming.
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