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From Library Staff
“David Copperfield is the novel that draws most closely on Charles Dickens's own life. Its hero, orphaned as a boy, grows up to discover love and happiness, heartbreak and sorrow amid a cast of eccentrics, innocents, and villains. Praising Dickens's power of invention, Somerset Maug... Read More »
Of all the books he wrote,
Dickens proclaimed this his favorite, perhaps because it is the most autobiographical. The
novel details the life of David from a happy childhood to misery in work and family life as he
struggles against scoundrels and cads.
When David Copperfield escapes from the cruelty of his childhood home, he embarks on a journey to adulthood which will lead him through comedy and tragedy, love and heartbreak and friendship and betrayal. Dickens takes such obvious pleasure in creating rich characters.
From the critics
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Go along with you, sir!' said my aunt, anything but appeased. 'Don't presume to say so! I am nothing of the sort. If you're an eel, sir, conduct yourself like one. If you're a man, control your limbs, sir! Good God!' said my aunt, with great indignation, 'I am not going to be serpentined and corkscrewed out of my senses!
Their report was, that Mr. Barkis was 'as bad as bad could be'; that he was quite unconscious; and that Mr. Chillip had mournfully said in the kitchen, on going away just now, that the College of Physicians, the College of Surgeons, and Apothecaries' Hall, if they were all called in together, couldn't help him. He was past both Colleges, Mr. Chillip said, and the Hall could only poison him.
Owing to some confusion in the dark, the door was gone. I was feeling for it in the window-curtains, when Steerforth, laughing, took me by the arm and led me out. We went down-stairs, one behind another. Near the bottom, somebody fell, and rolled down. Somebody else said it was Copperfield. I was angry at that false report, until, finding myself on my back in the passage, I began to think there might be some foundation for it.
I suppose this unfortunate fowl was born and brought up in a cellar,' said my aunt, 'and never took the air except on a hackney coach-stand. I hope the steak may be beef, but I don't believe it. Nothing's genuine in the place, in my opinion, but the dirt.
This unhappy boy, Miss Trotwood, has been the occasion of much domestic trouble and uneasiness; both during the lifetime of my late dear wife, and since. He has a sullen, rebellious spirit; a violent temper; and an untoward, intractable disposition. Both my sister and myself have endeavoured to correct his vices, but ineffectually. And I have felt—we both have felt, I may say; my sister being fully in my confidence—that it is right you should receive this grave and dispassionate assurance from our lips.' 'It can hardly be necessary for me to confirm anything stated by my brother,' said Miss Murdstone; 'but I beg to observe, that, of all the boys in the world, I believe this is the worst boy.
Supposing there was no mistake in the case, and Mr. Murdstone had devised this plan to get rid of me, what should I do? If they allowed me to remain there until my seven shillings were spent, I couldn't hope to remain there when I began to starve. That would obviously be inconvenient and unpleasant to the customers, besides entailing on the Blue Whatever-it-was, the risk of funeral expenses.
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