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The Old Curiosity Shop : Vintage Classics - Charles Dickens

The Old Curiosity Shop

Vintage Classics

Paperback

Published: 2nd August 2010
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5 to 9 business days
RRP $14.99
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Published: 31st December 2011
Format: ePUB
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Gentle Nell Trent lives a simple, if solitary life with her doting grandfather in his curiosity shop. Her parents died in poverty and unbeknownst to Nell her grandfather is obsessed with winning her an inheritance through gambling, but is forced to borrow heavily from malicious money-lender Quilp. As their debts mount up Nell and her grandfather are forced to flee London, pursued by the vindictive Quilp and others who seek to exploit them, in Dicken’s classic tale of pathos and villainy.

About the Author

Charles Dickens was born in Hampshire on February 7, 1812. His father was a clerk in the navy pay office, who was well paid but often ended up in financial troubles. When Dickens was twelve years old he was send to work in a shoe polish factory because his family had be taken to the debtors' prison. His career as a writer of fiction started in 1833 when his short stories and essays began to appear in periodicals. The Pickwick Papers, his first commercial success, was published in 1836. In the same year he married the daughter of his friend George Hogarth, Catherine Hogarth. The serialisation of Oliver Twist began in 1837 while The Pickwick Papers was still running. Many other novels followed and The Old Curiosity Shop brought Dickens international fame and he became a celebrity America as well as Britain. He separated from his wife in 1858. Charles Dickens died on 9 June 1870, leaving his last novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, unfinished. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.

"I am reading The Old Curiosity Shop by Dickens for the first time. His characters are marvellous, his insights wonderful and I'm astonished that I managed to miss this one before. Quilp and his wife and Kit confirm my view that Dickens is the father of magic realism. You don't expect reality but you get something bigger and better" -- Ruth Rendell "One of Charles Dickens's darkest, most melodramatic novels" Daily Mail "It could be argued that The Old Curiosity Shop changed the expression of grief in the English-speaking world" -- Peter Ackroyd The Times "I have read so much Dickens that I can almost predict where a story is leading from the beginning. But The Old Curiosity Shop is more mysterious. This Christmas I read it again didn't get out of bed for two days as I followed the adventures of Little Nell and the evil dwarf Quilp" -- Pete Waterman "I just love the Marchioness and just loathe, with delicious pantomime venom, Daniel Quilp" Mavis Cheek

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: 9780099540687
ISBN-10: 0099540681
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 720
Published: 2nd August 2010
Publisher: Random House
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 13.1  x 4.0
Weight (kg): 0.47