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Nicholas Nickleby (with an Introduction by Edwin Percy Whipple)

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Length: 1,209 pages19 hours

Summary

Though only Dickens’ third novel, “Nicholas Nickleby” is a well-crafted and significant precursor to his other great works. The tale follows the fortunes of a young man, the son of an imprudent gentleman who leaves his family without resources. Fiercely devoted to his mother and sisters, as well as his true friends, Nicholas is occasionally emotional and even violent, yet always idealistic. He seeks the aid of his villainous uncle, Ralph Nickleby, who comes to hate his nephew and wishes him serious harm. Nicholas attempts more than once to achieve gainful employment, being first disgusted by the abuse of the schoolmaster Squeers, later surprised by the acting and antics of Vincent Crummles, and finally assisted by the merchant Cheeryble brothers. Dickens employs a cast of characters, both good and unsavory, in this adventurous story of Nicholas Nickleby, who helps those in need, despises wickedness, grows in self-awareness, and eventually falls in love, in a plot that is by turns melodramatic and comedic. An uplifting tale full of poignant indictments on Victorian society, “Nicholas Nickleby” has all the best characteristics of Dickens’ other classics. This edition includes an introduction by Edwin Percy Whipple and a biographical afterword.

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