Sunday, December 1, 2019

Great expectations and other encounters with Dickens

It was on this day in 1860 that the first installment of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations was published (books by this author). Dickens needed money. He had recently purchased a mansion, he had separated from his wife and had to pay her separate living expenses, his children needed allowances, and he had founded a magazine called All the Year Round, and its sales were dropping. So he decided to write a new novel. He published it as a serial in All the Year Round, and by the final installment, it sold more than 100,000 copies. (Source: The Writer’s Almanac)

Personal Postscript — I’ve somehow missed out on reading most of the novels by Charles Dickens. Blame it on my passion for American literature instead. Yes, I have read several by Dickens: A Tale of Two Cities (which terrified me when I read it as a twelve year old), Bleak House (considered Dickens’ best but perhaps overrated), and A Christmas Carol (because I was motivated as a teenager by seeing the old films on TV). But I’ve not found time for any other offerings from Dickens. Perhaps now is the time for Great Expectations, but I’ll not expect to be overwhelmed; indeed, I have not yet been converted to being even a lukewarm fan of Dickens. But there are the other Christmas stories. Hmmm. Yes, it is the season for those Yuletide entertainments. However, I’ll remain realistic and guarded about my expectations. And so it goes.


  1. i think i liked the story of Pip (GE) better than any of his others... a lot of them are depressing or scary...

    1. I’m not sure there is an equivalent to Dickens in American literature. I’m tempted to nominate Twain, but I think it’s an apples and oranges comparison.

    2. i can't think of one either; different cultures i guess...