• Sketches by Boz: Volume 1

  • By: Charles Dickens
  • Narrated by: Peter Joyce
  • Length: 11 hrs and 45 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (36 ratings)

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Sketches by Boz: Volume 1  By  cover art

Sketches by Boz: Volume 1

By: Charles Dickens
Narrated by: Peter Joyce
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Publisher's Summary

Charles Dickens started his literary career as a journalist reporting for ‘The Morning Chronicle,’ a profession which encouraged his observing eye. This collection of essays and short stories was first published in that journal and anticipates, and frequently demonstrates, the genius that was to come.

The Sketches ‘Illustrative of Everyday Life and Everyday People’ are a valuable documentary account of existence in the great metropolis during the early part of the nineteenth century and exhibit to the full the waspish wit, joie de vivre and compassion, for which the author was known.

From the humorous gossip of ‘The Curate’ to the informative ‘Scotland Yard’ and on to a campaigning descriptive piece about Newgate Prison, Dickens takes us on a rewarding journey across our capital city, enlivened by the quirks and foibles of its inhabitants.

This is the first of several volumes of Dickens’ journalistic writing to be published in audio format by Assembled Stories. We are sure you will enjoy them.

©2011 Assembled Stories (P)2009 Assembled Stories

What listeners say about Sketches by Boz: Volume 1

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Simply Fascinating

Beautifully read. This reading transports the listener to another place and time. I have listened to this repeatedly. I love it. The narrator is wonderful and creates the atmosphere so well with his hilarious accents. I can't wait until Part II is released. Thank-you to the person who suggested this title for an audible presentation.

1 person found this helpful

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Wonderful but hard to follow

the audible version doesn’t conform to the divisions in the printed version. great Dickens though.

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For people who want to know all of Dickens’ work

I would not recommend this title to people who don’t already like Dickens. His novels are far better, and even among the novels, some are truly outstanding and some are great for Dickens fans, but, again, I would not recommend them for a new reader (or listener) of Dickens. Sketches by Boz offer us a wonderful view of 19th century London; I doubt he ever imagined that almost 200 years later people would find the sketches of interest because of the historical aspect, in addition to the merit of his writing. But they are quite interesting. Dickens, as always, shows enormous compassion and empathy for the downtrodden. Dickens’ caricature of Jews several times did make me uncomfortable; his presentation of Jews in his work has been written about plenty, but I do want to just make note that it is something I have to put aside to enjoy the literary merit of his work. The narrator was excellent, though he did pause a bit too much between sentences. I do plan on listening to the other volumes, but not immediately. This is the type of work that can be taken in doses, maybe I should even say “should be taken in doses”.

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Hilarious Sketches and Memorable Scenes

I laughed, snickered, and chuckled throughout most of these sketches. Dickens London seen through his eyes paints a fantastic yet warm portrait of people and places that burn into your memory. The good, the bad and the ugly--nothing escapes his notice or his satirization. Loved Peter Joyce's British narration. Near perfect emphasis, tone, and individuation of characters. Highly recommend!

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Excellent reading of classic Dickens

Thoroughly enjoyed. Well read. Pleasant sounding and does characters and accents well. Will add this reader to my approved list

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  • L M
  • 09-13-21

Chapters are all over the place

Really interesting stories and journalism from the young Dickens, and read pretty well. The trouble is the chapters of the audiobook start in the middle of stories, sometimes in the middle of sentences. Must have been an error but it's very annoying.

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  • Mr Creosote
  • 08-14-21

Very nicely read but chapter points are a mess

Peter Joyce's narration is splendid, no complaints there, but the technical aspects of this audiobook leave a lot to be desired. The chapter divisions bear no relation to Dickens' text, arbitrarily happening in the middle of paragraphs. This makes it very tricky to dip in and out of the sketches, or find any particular one (the chapterpoints aren't named either). There's also a quiet electronic buzz audible underneath the narration.

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  • C. Parkinson
  • 11-15-21

Spoiled by facetious narration

The narrator pretty nearly spoiled this for me. Virtually every sketch was read in a uniform facetious, ironical tone. Now, that's not 100% inappropriate for Dickens - quite a lot of the time he is being ironical. But the over-the-top ironical reading takes the humour out of even the sections that are meant to be humorous.
And then there are the sketches that are obviously meant to be serious (Newgate prison springs to mind) still read in the same, superficial tone.

1 person found this helpful

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  • me,myself,andI
  • 11-22-22

Powerful linguistic portraits.

I loved this so much and have listened through, gone back to bits, and thoroughly enjoyed it!
The pictures, that he paints and animates with his words, are so alive and fluid. This is true history. I feel that I have learned a lot about all levels of Victorian society.
Please choose the audio book, rather than a print copy though, because these were meant to be heard rather than read.
The true beauty of Dickens, and his word choices, can only be fully appreciated in oral form.

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  • Pamela
  • 11-17-22

Insight to Dickens' Writing Beginnings

The narration is very good. The brass band interludes are mildly irritating and superfluous. The sections and chapters of the book need thorough reorganizing.
A collection of passages by Charles Dickens originally published as individual pieces in newspapers/periodicals. This collection consists of 56 separate ‘sketches’ and is divided into four sections namely: ‘Our Parish, Scenes, Characters, and Tales’. Each one of these provides a descriptive piece about that particular character or scene.
Written prior to the publication of his first novel ‘Pickwick Papers. These vignettes bring a window into society at that time. As always with Dickens, some are painfully dark but are vivid and an introduction to his novels. This book is not the place to begin reading Dickens but as an addition to round out an understanding of his writings.

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  • Darkly
  • 08-02-22

Sublime content read by the most perfect narrator

I've never actually read any Sketches by Boz but love Dickens so this was a no brainer. This didn't disappoint... in fact this far excelled what I expected. From beginning to end it's magnificent and there is one particular section (where he and his friends invent the history of set's of second hand clothes) where you just realise... This is pure genius. So if you like Dickens this is the book to get... But there's more.

Peter Joyce is also a genius... I mean really. This is the best, without a shadow of a doubt, narration I've ever heard. Every voice characterisation he does is perfect, absolutely perfect. I'm going to hunt down everything that Peter Joyce has done he's that good.

If there is one criticism and it's a tiny one. It's in the pacing of the gaps. It's really nothing that will stop your enjoyment and this recording doesn't suffer any of the foibles of other recordings I've heard (skipped bits, repetition etc). It's just that occasionally between one stories end and another's start the gap has sometimes caused me to check my phone to see if the app has stopped working.

Get this book. You won't regret it.