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David Copperfield | [Charles Dickens]

David Copperfield

Based in part on Dickens's own life, it is the story of a young man's journey from an unhappy and impoverished childhood to the discovery of his vocation as a successful novelist. Among its gloriously vivid cast of characters, he e.ncounters his tyrannical stepfather, Mr. Murdstone; his formidable aunt, Betsey Trotwood; the eternally humble yet treacherous Uriah Heep; the frivolous, enchanting Dora; and one of literature's great comic creations, the magnificently impecunious Mr. Micawber.
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Audible Editor Reviews

At 34 hours in length, this is quite an undertaking, but there's no one better qualified than Simon Vance to lead us through this audio journey. He parses the author's long sentences well, pausing sufficiently to make the details easy to follow while still maintaining a quick enough pace to keep the story going. Most enjoyable is his voicing of the myriad characters who appear in the narrative - and characters they certainly are. Vance times their occasionally hilarious exchanges especially well. All of this is delivered in a manner that suggests that Vance revels in Dickens's prose and sly humor, and the listener cannot help but revel along with him. Three cheers for Vance - and not the least for his stamina!

Publisher's Summary

David Copperfield is the quintessential novel by England's most beloved novelist. Based in part on Dickens's own life, it is the story of a young man's journey from an unhappy and impoverished childhood to the discovery of his vocation as a successful novelist. Among its gloriously vivid cast of characters, he encounters his tyrannical stepfather, Mr. Murdstone; his formidable aunt, Betsey Trotwood; the eternally humble yet treacherous Uriah Heep; the frivolous, enchanting Dora; and one of literature's great comic creations, the magnificently impecunious Mr. Micawber - a character resembling Dickens's own father.

In David Copperfield - the novel he described as his "favorite child" - Dickens drew revealingly on his own experiences to create one of his most exuberant and enduringly popular works, filled with tragedy and comedy in equal measure.

©1923 Public Domain; (P)2009 Tantor

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (1130 )
5 star
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4.6 (699 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Gringuita San Francisco CA USA 12-10-09
    Gringuita San Francisco CA USA 12-10-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "David Copperfield, Unabridged"

    I, too, am a great fan of Robert Whitfield and I go to great lengths to obtain his recordings. It is very hard to avoid David Case, whose narration always sounds so insufferably stuck up.

    But, Joseph in Austin, I have the ironic duty to inform you that, just as David case and Frederick Davidson are the same person, Robert Whitfield and Simon Vance are one and the same.

    Wonderful job as always.

    15 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    12-01-09
    12-01-09 Member Since 2013
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    "well done"

    worth the money. an excellent reading

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Prsilla California 10-14-10
    Prsilla California 10-14-10 Member Since 2007

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Excellent Listening!"

    I enjoyed this book very much and am listening again to catch more details. The narrator is very good. I think this may be Dickens' masterpiece. There are a few tiresome, negative, diabolical, ugly, mooching and under-handed characters. And bad things do happen to good people. All in all, though, the really bad folks get their come-uppance. Alas, I saw a bit of myself in Dora and I was most satisfied when Davey FINALLY chose a proper second wife for himself. Dickens winds it up nicely. I will listen again and again to this one.

    13 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    N. Dandridge So. California 12-04-10
    N. Dandridge So. California 12-04-10 Member Since 2008

    books & coffee

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    "Dickens never disappoints; narrator was awesome!"

    While this isn't my favorite Dickens' book I've read, I definitely enjoyed it. For me, the audio book narrator has a big impact on my enjoyment of the book. Simon Vance was excellent and I have already sought out additional books he has narrated.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JGrace California 11-06-10
    JGrace California 11-06-10 Member Since 2008

    JGrace

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    "Masterful Interpretation of a Masterpiece"

    David Copperfield ??? Charles Dickens


    I think I first met David Copperfield about 40 years ago. I???ve read and reread this book many times. I was very, very choosey when it came to investing time and money on an audio version. Simon Vance did not let me down, and performing this book must have been a gargantuan task. Every voice from the incurable Mr. Micawber to the obscure Miss Mowcher was exactly as I expected them to be. Some of his female voices simpered annoyingly, but then the characters simper annoyingly so that is as it should be. Vance???s interpretations of Miss Betsy (???Janet! Donkeys! ), and Mrs. Micawber (???I never will desert you, Micawber!) were perfect. When David tried to sell his jacket to the dreadful old man (Oh, my lungs and liver, what do you want? Oh, goroo, gorooo), Vance had me feeling so scared I wanted to run away myself.
    This book is so full of wonderful characters and so many little alleyways of sub-plots that I???ve always forgotten bits of it between readings. Listening instead of reading forced my attention to descriptive nuances that I might have missed. I remembered, of course, how slimy and despicable Uriah Heep was, but I???d forgotten how sarcastically funny he could be.
    (???You know what I want??? said my aunt. ???A straight-waistcoat,??? said he.) I???d completely forgotten Miss Mowcher and her revenge on the evil Mr. Littimer.
    Now I???m completely filled up with David Copperfield trivia. I highly recommend this book and this recording.

    13 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bonny West Brattleboro, VT, United States 08-23-13
    Bonny West Brattleboro, VT, United States 08-23-13 Member Since 2011

    JHK

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    "Funny, heartbreaking, and a magnificent narrator"

    I'm not sure I could live without Simon Vance (the narrator). Between Dickens's characters and Vance's interpretations of them, we are given this gift of "David Copperfield" brought to life. The only downside of this book for me is that Dickens strays from time to time into more sentimentality than seems believable, but this is a quibble. Vance's characterizations of the Macawber family and of Betsey Trotwood are hysterical. There is, of course, plenty of heartbreak in the book, and I found myself genuinely touched by many scenes. This is one heck of a great way to experience "David Copperfield."

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jefferson Jonan-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Japan 03-31-11
    Jefferson Jonan-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Japan 03-31-11 Member Since 2010

    I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.

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    "An Enjoyable, Moving, and Absorbing Classic"

    David Copperfield, read by Simon Vance (aka Robert Whitfield), is a superb audiobook. The classic story is wonderfully addicting, possessing as it does a plethora of memorable characters, each with his/her own way of speaking, appearing, and being; countless humorous, suspenseful, or moving moments; countless apt descriptions and witty lines; and plenty of themes relevant to Victorian England or to the human condition. Even minor scenes like a dinner party at which a collection of upper-class snobs talk like vampires about their desire for "blood" or brief lines like Uriah Heep saying, "But lawyers, sharks, and leeches, are not easily satisfied" entertain and illuminate.

    Simon Vance does his usual effortless and effective job reading the novel, changing his voice perfectly for the wide range of different characters. Hearing Mr. Murdstone firmly tyrannizing, Mr. Micawber grandiloquently speechifying, Mr. Peggotty sea-saltily understanding, Uriah Heep 'umbly fawning, Agnes angelically advising, Dora childishly babbling, Steerforth irresponsibly charming, Miss Dartle sarcastically attacking, or any of the other characters saying any of their savory lines in their distinctive voices is a pure pleasure.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Roswell, GA 11-22-09
    Kathy Roswell, GA 11-22-09 Member Since 2009
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    "my favortie Dickens novel"

    I listened to this book as I walking. I could hardly wait to listen to it!

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael J. D'oliveira Phoenix, AZ USA 12-15-09
    Michael J. D'oliveira Phoenix, AZ USA 12-15-09 Member Since 2006
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    "Wonderful narrator"

    One of the best readings I have heard. What sets it apart is the narrator's ability provide different voices for each of the characters that are truly spot-on. This is huge in adding to the enjoyment of listening to a story that relies so much on what it's characters say and do.

    This is also probably my favoriter Dickens novel.

    10 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeffrey Penn Valley, PA, United States 04-09-13
    Jeffrey Penn Valley, PA, United States 04-09-13 Member Since 2007
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    "Simon Vance is a star; the book not so much"

    Where to start -- when a book gets five-star reviews from so many listeners, when a book is universally recognized as one of the greatest works of one of the greatest writers of English literature, how do I begin to explain how "meh" this story really is?

    And, to be honest, it's not just that the story is "meh" (more of that later), but the story is actually kind of arrogant and dishonest -- which is disheartening when you consider that Dickens himself considered this to be his most autobiographical of novels. In other words, if this novel is a window into Dickens's character or soul, I'm not sure he's someone I'd ever want to meet.

    You start with David Copperfield, who has a wonderfully engaging voice and early story to tell -- the death of his father and later his mother, the abuse by his stepfather, the series of schools and menial jobs followed (eventually) by his real life's work and success. Ok, all of that is pretty standard stuff, and you can read the exact same thing in a million other autobiographies, from the Glen Miller story to Howard Stern. So far, not too impressive.

    After a while, however, as you are reading more and more about David Copperfield's many travails and disappointments, you start to get the sense that this is all a form of backwards, subtle bragging. David had so much difficulty mastering shorthand, but with courage, determination and hard work, he mastered it. David had no money to support himself, but with courage, determination and hard work, he saved what he needed and was able to live. David had no friends at school, but with courage, determination and hard work, etc. etc. You get the idea. And the book goes on like this forever.

    On top of all this, you also notice that no one else in the book can reach any kind of resolution or crossroads in their own lives without FIRST checking in with David Copperfield and receiving some kind of magic blessing or words of wisdom from him. In fact, this gets kind of comical towards the end of the book. David has basically done all of the growing and changing that he's ever going to do, and so all that remains is for each of the books other characters to show up for "meetings" with David all over London and bring him to taverns or homes so that they can talk about their problems with him. Give me a break.

    And so let's go to all of the other characters in the book -- the ones that are so captivating to other reviewers. Frankly, they are only captivating because Dickens has figured out a way to populate his book with a series of one-dimensional, mechanical robots whose every word, gesture and even name is an expression of a single, monolithic, unchanging character trait. David's first wife is a CHILD-BRIDE, so of course she acts like a six year old in every possible setting and in every conversation, without any variation or departure whatsover. David's stepfather is a CHILD ABUSER, so of course he acts like a medieval torturer in every possible setting and in every conversation, without any variation or departure whatsoever. Ditto Mr. Micawber, the LOVEABLE DEBTOR, ditto Uriah Heep, the EVIL LAWYER. I was going to write that all of the characters are like cardboard cutouts, but even cardboard sometimes does what you don't expect -- wind might blow it over once in a while, rain might make it droop a bit. These "people" are not people at all but clockwork automatons put into the story to further flatter and show off the admirable qualities of David Copperfield, which they sorely lack.

    So other than that, was it a good read? Well, I'm happy I got through the book, as I can now always say that I finished it, but other than the fact that it is "David Copperfield" by the great Charles Dickens, I wish I had spent the time listening to something else. Frankly, Dickens is an egomaniac, and this book is all the proof that you need of this fact. I'm sure that Dickens can write well, and I've enjoyed other of his books (particularly Bleak House), but this one is a disappointment.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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