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Used Condition: Good Hardcover. Save for Later. About this Item 8vo Red cloth; gilt lettering and decoration to upper board and spine. Top edge gilt. The warehousemen and porters were such sturdy, jolly fellows, that it was a treat to see them.
A blunderbuss and two swords hung above the chimney-piece, for the terror of evil-doers, but the blunderbuss was rusty and shattered, and the swords were broken and edgeless. Elsewhere, their open display in such a condition would have realised a smile; but, there, it seemed as though even violent and offensive weapons partook of the reigning influence, and became emblems of mercy and forbearance.
Dickens will come to be regarded as the great poet of London. Already, in Nicholas Nickelby , there are splendid passageslike this one that richly evoke the city in his time:. Streams of people apparently without end poured on and on, jostling each other in the crowd and hurrying forward, scarcely seeming to notice the riches that surrounded them on every side; while vehicles of all shapes and makes, mingled up together in one moving mass, like running water, lent their ceaseless roar to swell the noise and tumult. As they dashed by the quickly-changing and ever-varying objects, it was curious to observe in what a strange procession they passed before the eye.
Emporiums of splendid dresses, the materials brought from every quarter of the world; tempting stores of everything to stimulate and pamper the sated appetite and give new relish to the oft-repeated feast; vessels of burnished gold and silver, wrought into every exquisite form of vase, and dish, and goblet; guns, swords, pistols, and patent engines of destruction; screws and irons for the crooked, clothes for the newly-born, drugs for the sick, coffins for the dead, and churchyards for the buried— all these jumbled each with the other and flocking side by side, seemed to flit by in motley dance like the fantastic groups of the old Dutch painter, and with the same stern moral for the unheeding restless crowd.
Nor were there wanting objects in the crowd itself to give new point and purpose to the shifting scene. Life and death went hand in hand; wealth and poverty stood side by side; repletion and starvation laid them down together. It is the most scrumdiddlyumptious story. Nice one.
I read it for the first time last year and loved it. This very evocative piece of writing brought back the genius of the story. Thank you. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account.
Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens, Hablot K. Browne, (Phiz) | Waterstones
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Ralph is introduced as a man of business, though what kind of business is unclear: Mr Ralph Nickleby was not, strictly speaking, what you would call a merchant, neither was he a banker, nor an attorney, nor a special pleader, nor a notary. But it was London. Some of these feelings appear in American Notes and Martin Chuzzlewit — His writing during these prolific years was remarkably various and, except for his plays, resourceful. Pickwick began as high-spirited farce and contained many conventional comic butts and traditional jokes; like other early works, it was manifestly indebted to the contemporary theatre, the 18th-century English novelists, and a few foreign classics, notably Don Quixote.
But, besides giving new life to old stereotypes , Pickwick displayed, if sometimes in embryo, many of the features that were to be blended in varying proportions throughout his fiction: attacks, satirical or denunciatory, on social evils and inadequate institutions; topical references; an encyclopaedic knowledge of London always his predominant fictional locale ; pathos; a vein of the macabre; a delight in the demotic joys of Christmas ; a pervasive spirit of benevolence and geniality; inexhaustible powers of character creation; a wonderful ear for characteristic speech, often imaginatively heightened; a strong narrative impulse; and a prose style that, if here overdependent on a few comic mannerisms, was highly individual and inventive.
Rapidly improvised and written only weeks or days ahead of its serial publication, Pickwick contains weak and jejune passages and is an unsatisfactory whole—partly because Dickens was rapidly developing his craft as a novelist while writing and publishing it. What is remarkable is that a first novel, written in such circumstances, not only established him overnight and created a new tradition of popular literature but also survived, despite its crudities, as one of the best-known novels in the world.
His self-assurance and artistic ambitiousness appeared in Oliver Twist , where he rejected the temptation to repeat the successful Pickwick formula. Browne ] for most of the other novels until the s. The currency of his fiction owed much, too, to its being so easy to adapt into effective stage versions. Sometimes 20 London theatres simultaneously were producing adaptations of his latest story, so even nonreaders became acquainted with simplified versions of his works.
The theatre was often a subject of his fiction, too, as in the Crummles troupe in Nicholas Nickleby. This novel reverted to the Pickwick shape and atmosphere, though the indictment of the brutal Yorkshire schools Dotheboys Hall continued the important innovation in English fiction seen in Oliver Twist —the spectacle of the lost or oppressed child as an occasion for pathos and social criticism.
Like his later attempt in this kind, A Tale of Two Cities , it was set in the late 18th century and presented with great vigour and understanding and some ambivalence of attitude the spectacle of large-scale mob violence. Its American episodes had, however, been unpremeditated he suddenly decided to boost the disappointing sales by some America-baiting and to revenge himself against insults and injuries from the American press. Charles Dickens British novelist. Written By: Philip Collins. Top Questions. Start Your Free Trial Today.
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