The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (commonly known as The Pickwick Papers) is the first novel by Charles Dickens. The book became the first real publishing phenomenon, with bootleg copies, theatrical performances, Sam Weller joke books and other merchandise.
Written for publication as a serial, The Pickwick Papers is a sequence of loosely-related adventures. The novel's main character, Mr. Samuel Pickwick, Esquire, is a kind and wealthy old gentleman, and the founder and perpetual president of the Pickwick Club. To extend his researches into the quaint and curious phenomena of life, he suggests that he and three other "Pickwickians" (Mr. Nathaniel Winkle, Mr. Augustus Snodgrass, and Mr. Tracy Tupman) should make journeys to remote places from London and report on their findings to the members of the club. Their travels throughout the English countryside provide the chief theme of the novel.
Its main literary value and appeal is formed by its numerous memorable characters. Each character in The Pickwick Papers, as in many other Dickens novels, is drawn comically, often with exaggerated personalities. Alfred Jingle provides an aura of comic villainy. His misadventures repeatedly land the Pickwickians in trouble. These include Jingle's elopement with the spinster, Aunt Rachael of Dingley Dell manor, misadventures with Dr. Slammer, and others.
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This novel, Dickens's first, made him famous and was perhaps the world's first real publishing phenomenon, inspiring bootleg copies, theatrical performances, and merchandise based on the popular characters.
"[T]he great example of everything that made Dickens great....[a] supreme masterpiece." (G. K. Chesterton)
If you are unfamiliar with the writings of Charles Dickens this is a good novel to start with as it is one of his happier ones.
It does touch on one of the social ills of the age, the debtors' prisons and that part is informative and thought provoking, but mostly the story is far less serious.
The humour is both satirical and gentle, the various cxharacters intriguing and often recognisable! The plot is typically complex, but although the story is lengthy it can be listened to gradually with easy breaks.
To those who already love Dickens writing I believe you will find Simon Prebble the narrator is masterful and a joy to listen to. His treatment of the many different characters made them easy to distinguish and readily believable. My own particular favourites, Sam and Tony Weller, came across exactly as I "vould" have imagined and his dear gentle Mr Pickwick was wonderful.
Cannot recommend this highly enough.
I would recommend this book to anyone, with one condition... Don't give up on it too soon. This book starts very slowly. It was Dickens first book I believe, and it starts out in a very stuffy formal mode. It purports to be a documentation of the activities of the "Pickwick" club (hence the name the Pickwick Papers). The story takes a while to get going, and I'm afraid many might not have the patience to see it through. Once it gets going, you don't ever want it to end. The narration is first rate as well. Sometimes you find yourself mesmerized by the sheer beauty of the writing of the author, and the magnificent reading of the narrator. It also contains some of the most endearing characters that Dickens ever created. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, its wonderful.
This reader (Prebble) is a master at dickens voices! He is wonderful to listen to.
The Pickwick Papers is a fun read, not a dark story-line such as Tale of Two Cities
Charles Dickens' Pickwick Papers was a joy to read! Mr. Pickwick is such a kind, generous character that you'll love. I will admit that the story can get a little long and a little slow in some places, but overall it is an enjoyable read. Mr. Prebble is a wonderful narrator - he really brings out the characters' personalities. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the classics or Charles Dickens.
I am a confirmed Dickens lover thanks to audible.com. This is the 5th Dickens novel I've listened to and it was such fun. Rediculous and silly as Dickens often is, I just came to love these characters. It doesn't have the tragedy as Oliver Twist or Bleak House (both of which I enjoyed also). I will definitely listen to it again. The recording and narration was good also, nothing distracting.
The Pickwick Papers is an enchanting book, a real joy. That joy is manifested in the work of Simon Prebble who I daresay is the the most gifted narrator I have ever encountered. His pacing, voicing, and good-humored rendition is wonderful. I also listened to his narration of "Great Expectations", which was equally good. If you plan to listen to Dickens, try for a Simon Prebble narration. You will not regret it.
A slightly different, though still very distinctive Charles Dickens book. While you will enjoy the break from the usual linear story of boy grows up, strange and sad things happen to him, boy conquers in a sitcom style happy ending, this is still Dickens. And everyone is married at the end, which I am sure does not surprise you. Perhaps Dickens was a government agent, paid to keep touting the standard civil institutions, and as always even in romantic comedy films these days, two things happen with marriage: you become very happy, and things go black, because getting married is a kind of death? Because nothing sad, strange, or humorous happens to you with a sensible wife at home to reason it out with you or to keep you from going out to begin with? The ending annoyed me, as it felt contrary to the style of the book and rushed. I think Dickens often wrote until he couldn't stand his own story anymore and then knocked it off fast in the easiest way possible. The only other thing that annoyed me is all the courtship and romance erased one of the better characters from the book. Fat Mr Tupman. But plenty of loveable and memorable others remain: the fat boy, Sam Weller, or Veller, you decide- and they are all greatly narrated. Fun until it stops being so, and even then, it ends in a whirr.
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