Synopses & Reviews
Perhaps Dickens's best-loved work, Great Expectations tells the story of Pip, a young man with few prospects for advancement until a mysterious benefactor allows him to escape the Kent marshes for a more promising life in London. Despite his good fortune, Pip is haunted by figures from his past--the escaped convict Magwitch, the time-withered Miss Havisham, and her proud and beautiful ward, Estella--and in time uncovers not just the origins of his great expectations but the mystery of his own heart. A powerful and moving novel, Great Expectations is suffused with Dickens's memories of the past and its grip on the present, and it raises disturbing questions about the extent to which individuals affect each other's lives. This edition reprints the definitive Clarendon text. Robert Douglas-Fairhurst's new introduction ranges widely across critical issues raised by the novel: its biographical genesis, ideas of origin and progress and what makes a "gentleman," memory, melodrama, and the book's critical reception. The book includes four appendices and the fullest set of critical notes in any mass-market edition.
With a new introduction and notes, this edition of Great Expectations offers new insights into one of Dickens's most fascinating and disturbing novels. Charting the progress of Pip from childhood to adulthood, Dickens shows the dangers of being driven by a desire for wealth and social status. As Pip moves from the Kent marshes to busy, commercial London, encountering many extraordinary characters--from Magwitch, the escaped convict, to Miss Havisham, a woman locked up with her past--he is confronted with the challenge of establishing a sense of his own identity and values contrary to the plans others have for him.
"Great Expectations" is at once a superbly constructed novel of spellbinding mastery and a profound examination of moral values. Here, some of Dickens's most memorable characters come to play their part in a story whose title itself reflects the deep irony that shaped Dickens's searching reappraisal of the Victorian middle class.
About the Author
was formerly Reader in English at Queen's College, Belfast.
Robert Douglas-Fairhurst is Fellow and Tutor in English, Magdalen College, Oxford University.