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Nicholas Nickleby : Wordsworth Classics - Charles Dickens

Nicholas Nickleby

Wordsworth Classics

By: Charles Dickens, T. C. B. Cooke (Introduction by), Hablot K Browne (Illustrator)


Published: 1st September 2000
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Following the success of Pickwick Papers and Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby was hailed as a comic triumph and firmly established Dickens as a 'literary gentleman'. It has a full supporting cast of delectable characters that range from the iniquitous Wackford Squeers and his family, to the delightful Mrs Nickleby, taking in the eccentric Crummles and his travelling players, the Mantalinis, the Kenwigs and many more.

Combining these with typically Dickensian elements of burlesque and farce, the novel is eminently suited to dramatic adaptation. So great was the impact as it left Dickens' pen that many pirated versions appeared in print before the original was even finished. Often neglected by critics, Nicholas Nickleby has never ceased to delight readers and is widely regarded as one of the greatest comic masterpieces of nineteenth-century literature.

Mesmerising tale of horror and suspense ranks among the classic achievements of its kind.

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.

Acknowledgementsp. v
Introductionp. xiii
A Chronology Of Charles Dickensp. xxxii
Preface (1839)p. xlix
Preface (1848)p. lii
Introduces All the Restp. 1
Of Mr. Ralph Nickleby, and His Establishment, and His Undertakings. and of a Great Joint Stock Company of Vast National Importancep. 6
Mr. Ralph Nickleby Receives Sad Tidings of His Brother, but Bears Up Nobly Against the Intelligence Communicated to Him. The Reader is Informed How He Liked Nicholas, Who is Herein Introduced And How Kindly He Proposed to Make His Fortune at Oncep. 18
Nicholas and His Uncle (to Secure the Fortune Without Loss of Time)Wait Upon Mr. Wackford Squeers, the Yorkshire Schoolmasterp. 29
Nicholas Starts for Yorkshire. of His Leave-Taking and His Fellow-Travellers, and What Befell Them on the Roadp. 42
In Which the Occurrence of the Accident Mentioned in the Last Chapter, Affords an Opportunity to a Couple of Gentlemen to Tell Stories Against Each Otherp. 53
Mr. and Mrs. Squeers at Homep. 76
Of the Internal Economy of Dotheboys Hallp. 85
Of Miss Squeers, Mrs. Squeers, Master Squeers, and Mr. Squeers And of Various Matters and Persons Connected No Less with The Squeerses Than with Nicholas Nicklebyp. 98
How Mr. Ralph Nickleby Provided for His Niece and Sister-In-Lawp. 114
Newman Noggs Inducts Mrs. and Miss Nickleby into Their New Dwelling in the Cityp. 128
Whereby the Reader Will Be Enabled to Trace the Further Course Of Miss Fanny Squeers's Love, and to Ascertain Whether It Ran Smooth Or Otherwisep. 134
Nicholas Varies the Monotony of Dotheboys Hall by a Most Vigorous and Remarkable Proceeding, Which Leads to Consequences Of Some Importancep. 146
Acquaints the Reader with the Cause and Origin of the Interruption Described in the Last Chapter, and with Some Other Matters Necessary to Be Knownp. 172
Nicholas Seeks to Employ Himself in a New Capacity, and Being Unsuccessful, Accepts an Engagement as Tutor in a Private Familyp. 185
Follows the Fortunes of Miss Nicklebyp. 205
Miss Knag, After Doating on Kate Nickleby for Three Whole Days Makes Up Her Mind to Hate Her for Evermore. the Causes Which Lead Miss Knag to Form This Resolutionp. 215
Descriptive of a Dinner at Mr. Ralph Nickleby's, and of The Manner in Which the Company Entertained Themselves, Before Dinner, at Dinner, and After Dinnerp. 229
Wherein Nicholas at Length Encounters His Uncle, to Whom He Expresses His Sentiments with Much Candour. His Resolutionp. 245
Madame Mantalini Finds Herself in a Situation of Some Difficulty And Miss Nickleby Finds Herself in No Situation at Allp. 257
Nicholas, Accompanied by Smike, Sallies Forth to Seek His Fortune He Encounters Mr. Vincent Crummles; and Who He Was, is Herein Made Manifestp. 270
Treats of the Company of Mr. Vincent Crummles, and of His Affairs, Domestic and Theatricalp. 286
Of the Great Bespeak for Miss Snevellicci, and the First Appearance Of Nicholas Upon Any Stagep. 300
Concerning a Young Lady from London, Who Joins the Company And an Elderly Admirer Who Follows in Her Train; with an Affecting Ceremony Consequent on Their Arrivalp. 317
Is Fraught with Some Danger to Miss Nickleby's Peace of Mindp. 331
Mrs. Nickleby Becomes Acquainted with Messrs. Pyke and Pluck Whose Affection and Interest Are Beyond All Boundsp. 342
Miss Nickleby, Rendered Desperate by the Persecution of Sir Mulberry Hawk, and the Complicated Difficulties and Distresses Which Surround Her, Appeals, as a Last Resource, to Her Uncle for Protectionp. 357
Of the Proceedings of Nicholas, and Certain Internal Divisions In The Company of Mr. Vincent Crummlesp. 374
Festivities Are Held in Honour of Nicholas, Who Suddenly Withdraws Himself from the Society of Mr. Vincent Crummles and His Theatrical Companionsp. 384
Of Ralph Nickleby and Newman Noggs, and Some Wise Precautions, the Success or Failure of Which Will Appear in the Sequelp. 400
Relating Chiefly to Some Remarkable Conversation, and Some Remarkable Proceedings to Which It Gives Risep. 408
In Which Mr. Ralph Nickleby is Relieved, by a Very Expeditious Process, from All Commerce with His Relationsp. 419
Wherein Mr. Ralph Nickleby is Visited by Persons with Whom The Reader Has Been Already Made Acquaintedp. 426
Smike Becomes Known to Mrs. Nickleby and Kate. Nicholas Also Meets with New Acquaintances. Brighter Days Seem to Dawn Upon The Familyp. 442
Private and Confidential; Relating to Family Matters. Showing How Mr. Kenwigs Underwent Violent Agitation, and How Mrs. Kenwigs Was as Well as Could Be Expectedp. 459
Nicholas Finds Further Favour in the Eyes of the Brothers Cheeryble And Mr. Timothy Linkinwater. the Brothers Give a Banquet On A Great Annual Occasion. Nicholas, on Returning Home from It Receives a Mysterious and Important Disclosure from the Lips Of Mrs. Nicklebyp. 468
Comprises Certain Particulars Arising Out of a Visit of Condolence, Which May Prove Important Hereafter. Smike Unexpectedly Encounters a Very Old Friend, Who Invites Him to His House, and Will Take No Denialp. 486
In Which Nicholas Falls in Love. He Employs a Mediator, Whose Proceedings Are Crowned with Unexpected Success, Excepting in One Solitary Particularp. 510
Containing Some Romantic Passages Between Mrs. Nickleby And The Gentleman in the Small-Clothes Next Doorp. 528
Illustrative of the Convivial Sentiment, That the Best of Friends Must Sometimes Partp. 541
Officiates as a Kind of Gentleman Usher, in Bringing Various People Togetherp. 553
Mr. Ralph Nickleby Cuts an Old Acquaintance. It Would Also Appear from the Contents Hereof, That a Joke, Even Between Husband And Wife, May Be Sometimes Carried Too Farp. 567
Containing Matter of a Surprising Kindp. 582
Throws Some Light Upon Nicholas's Love; but Whether for Good Or Evil, the Reader Must Determinep. 595
Mr. Ralph Nickleby Has Some Confidential Intercourse with Another Old Friend. They Concert Between Them a Project, Which Promises Well for Bothp. 609
Being for the Benefit of Mr. Vincent Crummles, and Positively His Last Appearance on This Stagep. 625
Chronicles the Further Proceedings of the Nickleby Family, and The Sequel of the Adventure of the Gentleman in the Small-Clothesp. 637
Involves a Serious Catastrophep. 653
The Project of Mr. Ralph Nickleby and His Friend, Approaching A Successful Issue, Becomes Unexpectedly Known to Another Party Not Admitted into Their Confidencep. 667
Nicholas Despairs of Rescuing Madeline Bray, but Plucks Up His Spirits Again, and Determines to Attempt It. Domestic Intelligence Of the Kenwigses and Lillyvicksp. 679
Containing the Further Progress of the Plot Contrived by Mr. Ralph Nickleby and Mr. Arthur Gridep. 692
The Crisis of the Project and Its Resultp. 709
Of Family Matters, Cares, Hopes, Disappointments, and Sorrowsp. 721
Ralph Nickleby, Baffled by His Nephew in His Late Design, Hatches A Scheme of Retaliation Which Accident Suggests to Him, and Takes Into His Counsels a Tried Auxiliaryp. 734
How Ralph Nickleby's Auxiliary Went About His Work, and How He Prospered with Itp. 747
In Which One Scene of This History is Closedp. 758
The Plots Begin to Fail, and Doubts and Dangers to Disturb The Plotterp. 764
The Dangers Thicken, and the Worst is Toldp. 779
Wherein Nicholas and His Sister Forfeit the Good Opinion of All Worldly and Prudent Peoplep. 791
Ralph Makes One Last Appointment--And Keeps Itp. 802
The Brothers Cheeryble Make Various Declarations for Themselves And Others. Tim Linkinwater Makes a Declaration for Himselfp. 808
An Old Acquaintance is Recognised Under Melancholy Circumstances And Dotheboys Hall Breaks Up for Everp. 819
Conclusionp. 829
The Nickleby 'Proclamation'p. 832
Running Headlines for the 1867 Editionp. 835
Explanatory Notesp. 844
Textual Notesp. 864
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: 9781853262647
ISBN-10: 1853262641
Series: Wordsworth Classics
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 776
Published: 1st September 2000
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 20.1 x 12.8  x 4.2
Weight (kg): 0.512
Edition Type: New edition