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Martin Chuzzlewit - Charles Dickens

Paperback

Published: April 2000
For Ages: 18+ years old
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While writing The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit – his sixth novel – Dickens declared it 'immeasurably the best of my stories'. He was already famous as the author of The Pickwick Papers and Oliver Twist. Set partly in America, which Dickens had visited in 1842, the novel includes a searing satire on the United States. Martin Chuzzlewit is the story of two Chuzzlewits, Martin and Jonas, who have inherited the characteristic Chuzzlewit selfishness. It contrasts their diverse fates of moral redemption and worldly success for one, with increasingly desperate crime for the other. This powerful black comedy involves hypocrisy, greed and blackmail, as well as one of the most famous of Dickens's grotesques, Mrs Gamp. In her introduction to this new Penguin Classics edition, Patricia Ingham discusses how, in writing a story that was only meant to recommend 'goodness and innocence', Dickens succeeded in exploring 'the intertwining of moral sensibility and brutality'.

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.

This was one of Dickens's least successful books commercially; it would be a masterpiece for most other writers. It deals with an inheritance, that classic trope of Dickens's, and while it moves from farce to grim criminal psychology its main focus is on selfishness and hypocrisy. Martin and Jonas are both descendants of the brothers Chuzzlewit and are born and bred to the same selfishness - goods, after all, are not the only things that people inherit - and the novel charts their contrasting destinies. Following a period in America, where he is defrauded by the utopian Eden Land Company, Martin has pause to reconsider his life and returns to Britain having learned a lesson about the nature of generosity. Angus Wilson, the novelist and critic, thought Martin's cousin Jonas was a stunning creation. He wrote: 'In the development of the brilliantly drawn Jonas Chuzzlewit, under the stress of blackmail, from a vulgar money-grabbing brute into a murderer with a dark and complicated life of inner terrors and superstitions that would have done credit to Dostoevsky'. Alongside the villainous Jonas, other characters people the book memorably: the fabulous hypocrite Pecksniff, and Mrs Gamp, the disreputable old nurse 'dispoged' to the not altogether occasional glass of gin. (Kirkus UK)

Introductionp. vii
Note on the Textp. xvii
Prefacep. xxiii
ntroductory, Concerning the Pedigree of The Chuzzlewit Familyp. 1
Wherein Certain Persons Are Presented to The Reader, with Whom He May, If He Please, Become Better Acquaintedp. 23
In Which Certain Other Persons Are Introduced; On The Same Terms as in the Last Chapterp. 40
In Which Certain Other Persons Are Introduced; On The Same Terms as in the Last Chapterp. 89
Accompanies Mr. Pecksniff and His Charming Daughters to the City of London; and Relates What Fell Out, Upon Their Way Thitherp. 103
Town and Todgers'sp. 112
Containing Strange Matter; on Which Many Events In This History, May, for Their Good or Evil Influence, Chiefly Dependp. 135
Wherein a Certain Gentleman Becomes Particular In His Attentions to a Certain Lady; and More Coming Events Than One, Cast Their Shadows Beforep. 148
Will Be Seen in the Long Run, If Not in the Short One, To Concern Mr. Pinch and Others, Nearly. Mr. Pecksniff Asserts the Dignity of Outraged Virtue; And Young Martin Chuzzlewit Forms a Desperate Resolutionp. 166
Showing, What Became of Martin and His Desperate Resolve, After He Left Mr. Pecksniff's House; What Persons He Encountered; What Anxieties He Suffered And What News He Heardp. 184
In Which Martin Bids Adieu to the Lady of His Love And Honors an Obscure Individual Whose Fortune He Intends to Make, by Commending Her to His Protectionp. 202
In Which Martin Bids Adieu to the Lady of His Love And Honors an Obscure Individual Whose Fortune He Intends to Make, by Commending Her to His Protectionp. 211
In Which Martin Bids Adieu to the Lady of His Love And Honors an Obscure Individual Whose Fortune He Intends to Make, by Commending Her to His Protectionp. 238
Does Business with the House of Anthony Chuzzlewit And Son, from Which One of the Partners Retires Unexpectedlyp. 255
The Reader is Brought into Communication With Some Professional Persons, and Sheds a Tear Over The Filial Piety of Good Mr. Jonasp. 264
The Reader is Brought into Communication With Some Professional Persons, and Sheds a Tear Over The Filial Piety of Good Mr. Jonasp. 280
More American Experiences. Martin Takes a Partner And Makes a Purchase. Some Account of Eden, as It Appeared on Paper. Also of the British Lion. Also Of The Kind of Sympathy Professed and Entertained, By The Watertoast Association of United Sympathizersp. 293
From Which It Will Be Seen That Martin Became a Lion On His Own Account. Together with the Reason Whyp. 313
From Which It Will Be Seen That Martin Became a Lion On His Own Account. Together with the Reason Whyp. 322
From Which It Will Be Seen That Martin Became a Lion On His Own Account. Together with the Reason Whyp. 330
Is in Part Professional; and Furnishes the Reader With Some Valuable Hints in Relation to The Management of a Sick Chamberp. 345
An Unexpected Meeting, and a Promising Prospectp. 359
Showing That Old Friends May Not Only Appear With New Faces, but in False Colours. That People Are Prone to Bite; and That Biters May Sometimes Be Bittenp. 387
Showing That Old Friends May Not Only Appear With New Faces, but in False Colours. That People Are Prone to Bite; and That Biters May Sometimes Be Bittenp. 436
Showing That Old Friends May Not Only Appear With New Faces, but in False Colours. That People Are Prone to Bite; and That Biters May Sometimes Be Bittenp. 442
In Which the Travellers Move Homeward, And Encounter Some Distinguished Characters Upon the Wayp. 457
Arriving in England, Martin Witnesses a Ceremony From Which He Derives the Cheering Information That He Has Not Been Forgotten in His Absencep. 471
Arriving in England, Martin Witnesses a Ceremony From Which He Derives the Cheering Information That He Has Not Been Forgotten in His Absencep. 477
Tom Pinch, Going Astray, Finds That He is Not The Only Person in That Predicament. He Retaliates Upon a Fallen Foep. 496
Secret Servicep. 504
Secret Servicep. 513
The Pinches Make a New Acquaintance, and Have Fresh Occasion for Surprise and Wonderp. 529
Mr. Jonas and His Friend, Arriving at a Pleasant Understanding, Set Forth Upon an Enterprisep. 541
Continuation of the Enterprise of Mr. Jonas And His Friendp. 550
Has an Influence on the Fortunes of Several People Mr. Pecksniff is Exhibited in the Plenitude of Power And Wields the Same with Fortitude and Magnanimityp. 559
Further Continuation of the Enterprise of Mr. Jonas And His Friendp. 577
n Which Tom Pinch and His Sister Take a Little Pleasure; but Quite in a Domestic Way, and with No Ceremony About Itp. 586
In Which Miss Pecksniff Makes Love, Mr. Jonas Makes Wrath, Mrs. Gamp Makes Tea, and Mr. Chuffey Makes Businessp. 594
Conclusion of the Enterprise of Mr. Jonas And His Friendp. 614
Bears Tidings of Martin, and of Mark, as Well As Of a Third Person Not Quite Unknown to the Reader Exhibits Filial Piety in an Ugly Aspect; and Casts ADoubtful Ray of Light Upon a Very Dark Placep. 622
Bears Tidings of Martin, and of Mark, as Well As Of a Third Person Not Quite Unknown to the Reader Exhibits Filial Piety in an Ugly Aspect; and Casts ADoubtful Ray of Light Upon a Very Dark Placep. 636
Bears Tidings of Martin, and of Mark, as Well As Of a Third Person Not Quite Unknown to the Reader Exhibits Filial Piety in an Ugly Aspect; and Casts ADoubtful Ray of Light Upon a Very Dark Placep. 644
Bears Tidings of Martin, and of Mark, as Well As Of a Third Person Not Quite Unknown to the Reader Exhibits Filial Piety in an Ugly Aspect; and Casts ADoubtful Ray of Light Upon a Very Dark Placep. 650
Bears Tidings of Martin, and of Mark, as Well As Of a Third Person Not Quite Unknown to the Reader Exhibits Filial Piety in an Ugly Aspect; and Casts ADoubtful Ray of Light Upon a Very Dark Placep. 660
Bears Tidings of Martin, and of Mark, as Well As Of a Third Person Not Quite Unknown to the Reader Exhibits Filial Piety in an Ugly Aspect; and Casts A Doubtful Ray of Light Upon a Very Dark Placep. 679
What John Westlock Said to Tom Pinch's Sister What Tom Pinch's Sister Said to John Westlock What Tom Pinch Said to Both of Them; and How They All Passed the Remainder of the Dayp. 698
Gives the Author Great Concern. for It is the Last In the Bookp. 706
Preface to the Cheap Edition (1850)p. 717
Preface to the Charles Dickens Edition (1867)p. 719
Postscript Added in 18681p. 721
Preliminaries and Number Plansp. 723
Explanatory Notesp. 727
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.
Charles Dickens

One of the grand masters of Victorian literature

Charles Dickens was born at Portsmouth on 7 February 1812, the second of eight children. Dickens's childhood experiences were similar to those depicted in David Copperfield. His father, who was a government clerk, was imprisoned for debt and Dickens was briefly sent to work in a blacking warehouse at the age of twelve.

He received little formal education, but taught himself shorthand and became a reporter of parliamentary debates for the Morning Chronicle. He began to publish sketches in various periodicals, which were subsequently republished as Sketches by Boz. The Pickwick Papers were published in 1836–7 and after a slow start became a publishing phenomenon and Dickens's characters the centre of a popular cult.

Part of the secret of his success was the method of cheap serial publication which Dickens used for all his novels. He began Oliver Twist in 1837, followed by Nicholas Nickleby (1838) and The Old Curiosity Shop (1840–41).After finishing Barnaby Rudge (1841) Dickens set off for America; he went full of enthusiasm for the young republic but, in spite of a triumphant reception, he returned disillusioned. His experiences are recorded in American Notes (1842). Martin Chuzzlewit (1843–4) did not repeat its predecessors' success but this was quickly redressed by the huge popularity of the Christmas Books, of which the first, A Christmas Carol, appeared in 1843.

During 1844–6 Dickens travelled abroad and he began Dombey and Son while in Switzerland. This and David Copperfield (1849–50) were more serious in theme and more carefully planned than his early novels. In later works, such as Bleak House (1853) and Little Dorrit (1857), Dickens's social criticism became more radical and his comedy more savage.

In 1850 Dickens started the weekly periodical Household Words, succeeded in 1859 by All the Year Round; in these he published Hard Times (1854), A Tale of Two Cities (1859) and Great Expectations (1860–61). Dickens's health was failing during the 1860s and the physical strain of the public readings which he began in 1858 hastened his decline, although Our Mutual Friend (1865) retained some of his best comedy.

His last novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, was never completed and he died on 9 June 1870. Public grief at his death was considerable and he was buried in the Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey.

A Note on our choice

The Works of Charles Dickens are available in many different editions, published by many different publishers.

The Booktopia Book Guru has recommended the Penguin Black Classic paperback editions here, as Australian readers have had a long established relationship with the Penguin Black Classic editions, with their informative and erudite introductions and notes.

There are, however, other options (see the series tab below). Both Oxford Classics and Vintage Classics publish Dickens, with notes and introductions. As do many US publishing houses.

Wordsworth Classics publish cheaper, no frills, editions of the classics, Dickens included, but the cheapest option, for those who have don’t want to read the classics but have to in order to pass a course, the US publisher, Dover, issues a thrift edition: these are cheap and cheerful, read and discard productions, which offer nothing but the text.

Visit Charles Dickens's Booktopia Author Page


ISBN: 9780140436143
ISBN-10: 0140436146
Series: Penguin Classics
Audience: General
For Ages: 18+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 864
Published: April 2000
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.9  x 3.6
Weight (kg): 0.59
Edition Number: 1