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A satiric masterpiece about the allure and peril of money,Our Mutual Friend revolves around the inheritance of a dust-heap where the rich throw their trash. When the body of John Harmon, the dust-heap's expected heir, is found in the Thames, fortunes change hands surprisingly, raising to new heights "Noddy" Boffin, a low-born but kindly clerk who becomes "the Golden Dustman." Charles Dickens' last complete novel, Our Mutual Friend encompasses the great themes of his earlier works: the pretensions of the nouveaux riches, the ingenuousness of the aspiring poor, and the unfailing power of wealth to corrupt all who crave it. With its flavorful cast of characters and numerous subplots,Our Mutual Friend is one of Dickens' most complex and satisfying novels.
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.
'The great poet of the city. He was created by London'
--Peter AckroydAdrian Poole writes in his introduction to this new edition, 'In its vast scope and perilous ambitions it has much in common with Bleak House and Little Dorrit, but its manner is more stealthy, on edge, enigmatic'.
ISBN: 9780140434972 ISBN-10: 0140434976 Series: Penguin Classics Audience:
For Ages: 18+ years old Format:
Number Of Pages: 928 Published: August 1997 Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd Country of Publication: GB Dimensions (cm): 19.9 x 13.1
Weight (kg): 0.63
Edition Number: 2
About the Author
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
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
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.