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Title page of Vol. 1 of first edition, July 1861
|Series||Weekly: 1 December 1860 – 3 August 1861|
|Publisher||Chapman & Hall|
|1861 (in three volumes)|
Great Expectations is a novel by Charles Dickens. It depicts the growth and personal development of an orphan named Philip Pirrip ("Pip"). The novel was first published in serial form in Dickens' weekly periodical All the Year Round, from 1 December 1860 to August 1861. In October 1861, Chapman and Hall published the novel in three volumes.
It is set among the marshes of Kent and in London in the early to mid 19th century. From the outset, the reader is "treated" by the terrifying encounter between Pip, the protagonist, and the escaped convict, Abel Magwitch. Great Expectations is a graphic book, full of extreme imagery, poverty, prison ships, "the hulks," barriers and chains, and fights to the death. It therefore combines intrigue and unexpected twists of autobiographical detail in different tones. Regardless of its narrative technique, the novel reflects the events of the time, Dickens' concerns, and the relationship between society and man.
Dickens felt Great Expectations was his best work, calling it "a very fine idea," and was very sensitive to compliments from his friends: "Bulwer, who has been, as I think you know, extraordinarily taken by the book." The cast includes the capricious Miss Havisham, the cold and beautiful Estella, the kind and generous blacksmith Joe, the dry and sycophantic Uncle Pumblechook, and the eloquent and wise Herbert Pocket. Throughout the narrative, typical Dickensian themes emerge: wealth and poverty, love and rejection, and the eventual triumph of good over evil.
Great Expectations has been translated into many languages and adapted many times to movies and other media.
- "Was Dickens Really Paid By the Word?". University of California Santa Cruz: The Dickens Project. Regents of the University of California. http://dickens.ucsc.edu/resources/faq/by-the-word.html. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
- Charles Dickens 1993, p. 1, introduction.
- "The Grotesque and Tragicomedy in Dickens’ Great Expectations". http://laboratoires.univ-reunion.fr/oracle/documents/307.html. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
- Ian Brinton. "Dickens Bookmarks 12 - Great Expectations" (PDF). http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/english-association/publications/bookmarks/dickens/D12.pdf. Retrieved 25 January 2013.