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Nicholas Nickleby [Download] ➵ Nicholas Nickleby By Charles Dickens – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk 'I shall never regret doing as I have—never if I starve or beg in conseuence' When Nicholas Nickleby is left penniless after his father's death he appeals to his wealthy uncle to help him find work 'I shall never regret doing as I have—never if I starve or beg in conseuence' When Nicholas Nickleby is left penniless after his father's death he appeals to his wealthy uncle to help him find work and to protect his mother and sister But Ralph Nickleby proves both hard hearted and unscrupulous and Nicholas finds himself forced to make his own way in the world His adventures gave Dickens the opportunity to portray an extraordinary gallery of rogues and eccentrics Wackford Sueers the tyrannical headmaster of Dotheboys Hall a school for unwanted boys; the slow witted orphan Smike rescued by Nicholas; and the gloriously theatrical Mr and Mrs Crummles and their daughter the 'infant phenonenon' Like many of Dickens's novels Nicholas Nickleby is characterised by his outrage at cruelty and social injustice but it is also a flamboyantly exuberant work revealing his comic genius at its most unerring.


10 thoughts on “Nicholas Nickleby

  1. Bionic Jean Bionic Jean says:

    Peter Ackroyd in his ground breaking biography of Charles Dickens says that Nicholas Nickleby is perhaps the funniest novel in the English language The complete title of the novel is perhaps a bit of a mouthful The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby containing a Faithful Account of the Fortunes Misfortunes Uprisings Downfallings and Complete Career of the Nickleby FamilyIt was published as his previous novels had been in monthly installments between 1838 and 1839 and the last part was again a double issue Whilst Dickens was writing this he was between 26 and 27 years of age and also putting the final touches to his enormously successful Oliver Twist Some of the plot elements and Dickens's social criticisms are very much in the vein of Oliver Twist Yet in many ways the novel is similar to his first installment novel The Pickwick Papers It has a comic rather than a tragic feel and is certainly lightweight and humorous than Oliver Twist It could be classed as ironic social satire pointing up social injustices while full of Dickens's taste for absurdityThe picaresue style of The Pickwick Papers recalls very much the earlier 18th century fashion for vignettes such as those written by Henry Fielding Although Nicholas Nickleby is held together by a continuing saga it is still very episodic; subject to shifts in focus and with such a wealth of characters and subplots that the main thrust of the novel occasionally seems to be lost However this episodic feel was still a very popular style of the time When it was published the book was an immediate success further establishing Dickens's reputation Indeed an engraving of one of the most famous portraits of Dickens is used as the frontispiece and is called the Nickleby Portrait Charles Dickens sat for this portrait in June 1839 partway through the serialisation of the novel It was by the artist Daniel Maclise and had been commissioned by Dickens's publishers Chapman and Hall Nicholas Nickleby is typical of many early English novels being focused on one person's life and as such is of a fictional biography than being especially plot driven Unlike his preceding novel Oliver Twist the title character of this is already a young man with family responsibilities at the start of the novel His future is very uncertain due to the death of his father who had made some poor investments The readers sees that the major conflict in this novel is going to be the struggle of a small family to make their way in the world after suffering a tragic loss To some extent this is autobiographical The Nickleby family are genteel but impoverished Dickens's own personal struggles and experiences as a young man were similar since his father had also forfeited his gentility because of financial incompetence In Nicholas Nickleby we are introduced to the protagonist's uncle Ralph Nickleby very near the beginning As soon as Ralph comes on the scene we realise this will add spice to the situation For what a miserable old skinflint he is there was something in his very wrinkles and in his cold restless eye which seemed to tell of cunning that would announce itself in spite of himRalph takes against Nicholas right from the start apparently purely based on envy because Nicholas is young bright and open At this point we realise he is destined to be Nicholas's antagonist And the warning bells begin to ring when we are told that Ralph Nickleby is unscrupulous in his financial dealings because Nicholas has turned to his uncle for assistance hoping for support for his mother and sister after the death of his father Very uickly then we identify Ralph as the villain of the piece And Dickens gives full rein to his talent for inventing over the top characters who stay in the mind far longer than the details of the story itself Who can forget the grotesue headmaster Wackford Sueers with his one eye when the popular prejudice is in favour of twoOr Mrs Nickleby with her rapid barrage of discursions which would put Mrs Bennet of Austen's Pride and Prejudice to shame? Or the kindly generous benefactors the Cheeryble brothers Charles and Ned who have built a thriving business on treating others with respect and compassion They address each other as my dear fellow and not only look and act alike but also dress alike and wear white hats As well as the main characters there are a myriad of minor eccentric characters in this novel all of whom are a delight Blink and you may miss them The Crummles's family of actors with their daughter Ninette the starry Infant Phenomenon who at the age of ten had been precisely the same age not perhaps to the full extent of the memory of the oldest inhabitant but certainly for five good years But she had been kept up late every night and put upon an unlimited allowance of gin and water from infancy to prevent her growing tall and perhaps this system of training had produced in the infant phenomenon these additional phenomenaThe other actors unsurprisingly were none too keen on her privileged position The leading man Mr Folair termed her the Infernal Phenomenon Then there is Mrs Mantalini the astute business woman who owns a dressmaking and millinery shop for whom Nicholas's sister Kate is sent to work as a seamstress and her husband a foppish fellow with extravagent tastes given to histrionics and repeated attempts to kill himself There is the fun loving but ultimately self seeking Kenwigs family the revolting lusting scheming old man Arthur Gride denounced as a wretch and a villain and the dastardly nobleman whom we all want to boo Sir Mulberry Hawk The names too are typical Dickens whimsy chosen with an eye to amuse and appeal Dotheboys Hall the vile school where the boys were well and truly done to with Wackford Sueers as its headmaster overkeen on whacking his pupils Miss Knag the spiteful forewoman of the dressmakers and milliners There is Lord Frederick Verisoft soft of brain weak and silly his friend the Honourable Mr Snobb and Sir Mulberry Hawk the most knowing card in the pack who treats everyone including his friends as his prey The Cheeryble brothers; now who can read their name without smiling? Mrs Wititterly who seems to witter a lot and has an air of sweet insipidity There is such a superfluity of names some in characters who shine brightly for a paragraph or two and then disappear without trace There is Mr Crowl who utters a low uerulous growl and perhaps the best of the lot Sir Tumley Snuffim who is perhaps not such a good doctor if his patients snuff itAll the episodes with these larger than life characters seem tailor made for the stage Many of the speeches seem to cry out for an actor's ringing declamation on stage in a 19th century melodrama Nicholas's way of talking is very stilted and sadly this stiff formal kind of language sometimes does alienate the modern reader such as this a simple acuiescence It's not in my nature to resist any entreaty unless it is to do something positively wrong; and beyond a feeling of pride I know nothing which should prevent my doing this I know nobody here and nobody knows me So be it then I yieldDickens does indulge his love of all things theatrical in this novel with a large part of the action being devoted to scenes in Portsmouth where Nickleby aka Mr Johnson both writes and performs in the acting troupes much as Dickens himself did Perhaps this was deliberately so because he dedicates it to his friend the distinguished actor and theatre director William Macready You can see Dickens's love of the theatre in almost every scene here But this makes the tragic scenes so much powerful because of the contrasting comic scenes And who out of the general reading population of the time would really have stayed with a piece of tragic literature about their contemporaries including the poorest of them all had it not been made so hugely entertaining? It's a real rarity for the time for an author to focus on the lives of such poor people Noggs and Smike are fully developed characters but few of Dickens's contemporaries Thackeray for instance would bother with them Dickens is uite deliberately appealing to the common people He has the common touch and Trollope's disparaging nickname for him of Mr Popular Sentiment is perhaps not given without a certain amount of malicious envy The characters here are very much larger than life characters but the main characters we are following are sensitively drawn Madeline Bray is an heroic brave character beautiful and self sacrificing going through agonies of mind as she stays loyal to her father depite his despicable deeds The reader is positively willing for her to have a good end The character of Smike the ex Dotheboys Hall boy is portrayed in such an affecting way without resort to sentiment that Dickens manages to tug at our heart strings whenever he comes into the action Then there are those others such as Newman Noggs whom we know has fallen into the service and clutches of Ralph Nickleby through his own weakness for drink Yet throughout we are willing him to somehow escape recognising that here is a man of worth and principle He is virtually a guardian angel to Nicholas because of his benevolence and integrity Dickens makes it abundantly clear to his readers just who are the goodies and who are the baddies This is at root an entertainment of a novel although one very much designed to expose a scandal of the timeFor just as Oliver Twist was intended to alert the largest possible audience to the scandal of the workhouses in the light of the recent changes to the Poor Law Nicholas Nickleby was deliberately written to expose the ugly truth about Yorkshire boarding schools In the preface to the novel Dickens calls Yorkshire schoolmasters Traders in the avarice indifference or imbecility of parents and the helplessness of children; ignorant sordid brutal men to whom few considerate persons would have entrusted the board and lodging of a horse or a dog Then in his second preface to the 1848 Cheap Edition he notes that such schools as Dotheboys were common in Yorkshire at the time of writing but had begun to disappear This story was begun within a few months after the publication of the completed Pickwick Papers There were then a good many cheap Yorkshire schools in existence There are very few nowSuch then was the power of a Dickens novel to influence popular opinion When a great author of such stature and persuasive ability aimed his satirical voice at one social problem after another both society and Parliament itself rapidly moved to change things His fiction influenced both public perception and social reform and this is one of the reasons he is truly a great author We know that prior to Nicholas Nickleby Dickens had seen advertisements in the London papers for cheap boarding schools in Yorkshire It was stressed that there were no holidays from these schools Dickens's antennae must have gone up as he knew they were a convenient place to dispose of unwanted or illegitimate children During the writing of Oliver Twist Dickens and his friend Hablot Browne who was to illustrate the book had travelled in secret to Yorkshire to investigate these schools in January 1838 There they met William Shaw the headmaster of Bowes Academy The neglect and maltreatment at this notorious school was responsible for the blindness of several boys and some actually died as a conseuence There is no doubt that Dickens intended the headmaster Wackford Sueers to be a portrayal of William Shaw and that Dotheboys Hall was Bowes Academy It became so infamous that Bowes Academy eventually by 1903 became known as Dotheboys HallMany of the other characters were also based on real life people The character of Miss La Crevy who befriended the Nickleby family was based on the actual person Rosa Emma Drummond who painted a miniature engraved portrait of Dickens on ivory Dickens had commissioned this so that he could give it to his fiancee Catherine Hogarth as an engagement present Like Miss Drummond Miss La Creevy was a good natured middle aged miniature painter described by Dickens as a mincing young lady of fifty Vincent Crummles and his daughter The Infant Phenomenon were based on the actor manager T D Davenport and his nine year old prodigy of a daughter Jean Infant phenomena were a regular feature of many theatrical shows during the early decades of the nineteenth century Davenport and his daughter appeared on the Portsmouth stage in March 1837 Dickens's own mother Elizabeth Dickens was the model for Mrs Nickleby Luckily for Charles she didn't recognise herself in the character In fact she asked someone if they really believed there ever was such a womanAnd most surprising and notable of all is that the Cheeryble brothers were based on real life characters too They are based on two benefactors who were brothers Daniel and William Grant They came from Scotland but settled in Ramsbottom in Greater Manchester although during Dickens's time this will have been thought of as part of the county of Lancashire Some of the fine houses they built are still there For instance St Andrew's Church from 1832 is also known as Grant's Church It was originally consecrated as a Scottish Presbyterian Chapel with a donation of £5000 by William Grant The Grant brothers regularly gave money to promising new enterprises and for education supporting schools libraries and the charitable institutions and when homes and farmlands on Speyside were swept away by floods in 1829 gave £100 to swell The Flood Fund Dickens was keen to make sure everyone knew of these remarkable pair This is from his preface in May 1848 It may be right to say that there are 2 characters in this book which are drawn from life Those who take an interest in this tale will be glad to learn that the Brothers Cheeryble do live; that their liberal charity their singleness of heart noble nature and unbounded benevolence are no creatures of the author’s brain but are prompting every day some munificent and generous deed in that town of which they are the pride and honour He was writing at breakneck speed again Oliver Twist had overlapped The Pickwick Papers by 10 months and when he started Nicholas Nickleby Oliver Twist was still a long way from being completed So perhaps the persuasive writing he was so keen on the social conscience he displayed in his writing in the early part of this novel feels very familiar because it was written on the same days as the latter half of Oliver Twist He was also of course doing his editing work too Dickens seemed to delight in working under pressure at high speedWhat the reader takes away from this novel is mainly a memory of the dramatic eccentric and uniue characters although probably only a fraction of the total proliferation stay with us We may remember the plot too Yet credit should also be given to Dickens's masterly powers of description which are also very apparent in Nicholas Nickleby Often Dickens will exaggerate for effect or use personification or even the pathetic fallacy where he is keen to convey a mood He is adept at attributing human ualities and emotions to inanimate objects Here's a wonderful description of Arthur Gride a little old man of about seventy or seventy five years of age of a very lean figure much bent and slightly twisted He wore such scanty trousers as displayed his shrunken spindle shanks in their full uglinessHis nose and chin were sharp and prominent his jaws had fallen inwards from loss of teeth his face was shrivelled and yellow save where the cheeks were streaked with the colour of a dry winter apple; and where his beard had been there lingered yet a few grey tufts which seemed like the ragged eyebrows to denote the badness of the soil from which they sprung The whole air and attitude of the form was one of stealthy cat like obseuiousness; the whole expression of the face was concentrated in a wrinkled leer compounded of cunning lecherousness slyness and avariceAnd here is his house an old house dismal dark and dusty which seemed to have withered like himself and to have grown yellow and shrivelled in hoarding him from the light of day as he had in hoarding his money Meagre old chairs and tables of spare and bony make and hard and cold as misers' hearts were ranged in grim array against the gloomy walls; attenuated presses grown lank and lantern jawed in guarding the treasures they enclosed and tottering as though from constant fear and dread of thieves shrunk up in dark corners whence they cast no shadows on the ground and seemed to hide and cower from observation Arthur Gride's house thus seems to take on the aspect of a living creature itself as though the essence of its inhabitant had oozed into the very fibres of the house and its contents Of course it is exaggerated and whimsical rather than realistic but it is brilliantly described Here's another example where a different house is described It feels less organic but holds of a portent Kate Nickleby has this to say of the house Ralph acuires for them This house depresses and chills one and seems as if some blight had fallen on it If I were superstitious I should be almost inclined to believe that some dreadful crime had been perpetrated within these old walls and that the place had never prospered since How frowning and how dark it looksSo this house seems to foreshadow the sinister plans that Ralph has for Kate Both of these to me show Dickens's supreme craft as a writer Nicholas Nickleby is partly a bildungsroman a story about the coming of age of the main character and partly a social commentary on injustice The maltreatment of children in the educational system features highly throughout with Dickens using all the tricks of the trade to persuade his readers; pathos comedy satire and powerful storytelling He also employs coincidences which we all love in life and melodrama which heightened the entertainment value at the time it was written As well as focusing on the private Yorkshire poor schools savagely condemning those responsible for the system that treated children so cruelly it also indicts those who use fraudulent financial tactics and other dishonest business practices There is certainly a memorable plot and it could be thought of as Three Weddings and a Funeral but there are two funerals here and they are poles apart They are both highly dramatic and tragic because they are ultimately both avoidableSo is it the funniest novel in the English language? Well it all depends on your taste It is possibly the funniest novel ever written by Dickens himself Yet it is also extremely poignant sad chilling bitter and it has to be said overblown and melodramatic It is by turns absurd comic tragic and moving It is uintessentially Charles Dickens If you love Dickens you'll love this one don't miss it


  2. Lisa Lisa says:

    Reading Dickens is like taking a deep breath of air feeling life in its most vivid formBeing completely faithless and illoyal I will now dump all previous Dickens novels and claim with brutal inconsistency that Nicholas Nickleby is my favourite Yes I know I have said it before and I am likely to say it again knowing human nature in its most Dickensian expressions But Nicholas really is my “Now Time Favourite”I should like to state my case as it would be very un Dickensian of me not to indulge in a long explanation of my way of thinking on the subject especially as it is a tricky situation claiming a favourite child among so many Dickens knows where that favouritism can lead in real life having painted the effects of parenting in his most colourful charactersWhy?First of all it is a social satire Well well well that is not an argument they all are Agree but this one touches on the virtues and vices not only of the Victorian society it describes but of human family relations and business endeavours in general We will still find plenty of schoolmasters making a profit of parents’ neglect or gullibility and those contemporary school masters will be infinitely better at marketing their fraud with pretty business phrases of the educational genre than the odious Mr Sueers We will still find misers of Uncle Scrooge’s calibre just like Ralph Nickleby all the realistic for not undergoing the magical Christmassy transformation of his later double We will find posers and cruisers who live off their social status filling their days with vanities and sexual assaults on women who are too poor and neglected to protect themselves against the shamelessness of complete entitlement Mulberry your downfall made me SMILE Dickens’ strong sense of social injustice is like therapy for my tortured heart and I don’t mind at all that it is uite improbable that all the good hardworking caring characters have their reward in the end Nobody knew better than Dickens that real life doesn’t play fair at any time But he also knew what a relief it is to feel for once in literature that AMOR VINCIT OMNIA“ how much injustice misery and wrong there was and yet how the world rolled on from year to year alike careless and indifferent and no man seeking to remedy or redress it when he thought of all this and selected from the mass the one slight case on which his thoughts were bent he felt indeed that there was little ground for hope and little reason why it should not form an atom in the huge aggregate of distress and sorrow and add one small and unimportant unit to swell the great amount”And yet Dickens goes on to show that giving up is not an option and that the atom of sorrow that one individual feels is worthy of the great author’s attention and he gives harsh reality a fictional poetical justice that being all he can do It is than nothing decidedlySo do I need any other arguments? The one I chose doesn’t seem to make Nicholas Nickleby stand out beside Bleak House David Copperfield Martin Chuzzlewit Great Expectations and all the other “former all time favourite Dickenses”So what was so refreshing this time around? The “bad” characters were what I expected shown in their malice sly greed and comical evil The huge cast of funny supporting characters were euipped with the usual amount of burlesue humour and they were ranging from circus actors to owners of small businesses showing the diversity in which family vanities can express themselves for good and for bad Nothing unexpected there just good old Dickensian performanceThe difference lies in the “good” main characters The minor complaint I had regarding other Dickens novels was my lack of bonding with the “too good to be true” lead protagonists I didn’t like David Copperfield himself that much being just too gullible and naive and I certainly didn’t warm to the overly sweet and self sacrificing Esther in Bleak House That silent suffering felt almost like Dostoevsky and Dickens with his sense of humour and sharp eye for satire can’t compete with the Russian master in the arena of suffering for the sake of honour it just doesn’t match his joie de vivre Nicholas and his sister Kate are of a different calibre though Hotheaded rash confident they don’t suffer in silence they SPEAK UPI loved that Losing your temper and speaking truth to power is so much rewarding in my world than silently suffering in your chamber crying little unseen tears over your unfair fate while leaving it to others to fix your mess Nicholas and Kate and their friends are very independent honest thinkers and they deserve what they get because they are willing to fight for it and to work honestly to achieve happinessCheers to Nicholas and Kate Keep kicking and screamingI won’t say anything now as I can feel the need to analyse each single character in depth to the boredom and annoyance of anyone who proceeds to read this far Read the book instead it is worth each minute spent on itDecember Dickens 2017 a blast


  3. Ahmad Sharabiani Ahmad Sharabiani says:

    The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby Charles DickensThe novel centers on the life and adventures of Nicholas Nickleby a young man who must support his mother and sister after his father dies Nicholas Nickleby's father dies unexpectedly after losing all of his money in a poor investment Nicholas his mother and his younger sister Kate are forced to give up their comfortable lifestyle in Devonshire and travel to London to seek the aid of their only relative Nicholas's uncle Ralph Nickleby Ralph a cold and ruthless businessman has no desire to help his destitute relations and hates Nicholas who reminds him of his dead brother on sight He gets Nicholas a low paying job as an assistant to Wackford Sueers who runs the school Dotheboys Hall in Yorkshire Nicholas is initially wary of Sueers a very unpleasant man with one eye because he is gruff and violent towards his young charges but he tries to uell his suspicions As Nicholas boards the stagecoach for Greta Bridge he is handed a letter by Ralph's clerk Newman Noggs A once wealthy businessman Noggs lost his fortune became a drunk and had no other recourse but to seek employment with Ralph whom he loathes The letter expresses concern for him as an innocent young man and offers assistance if Nicholas ever reuires it Once he arrives in Yorkshire Nicholas comes to realise that Sueers is running a scam he takes in unwanted children most of whom are illegitimate crippled or deformed for a high fee and starves and mistreats them while using the money sent by their parents who only want to get them out of their way to pad his own pockets Sueers and his monstrous wife whip and beat the children regularly while spoiling their own son Lessons are no better; they show how poorly educated Sueers himself is and he uses the lessons as excuses to send the boys off on chores While he is there Nicholas befriends a simple boy named Smike who is older than the other students and now acts as an unpaid servant Nicholas attracts the attention of Fanny Sueers his employer's plain and shrewish daughter who deludes herself into thinking that Nicholas is in love with her She attempts to disclose her affections during a game of cards but Nicholas doesn't catch her meaning Instead he ends up flirting with her friend Tilda Price to the consternation of both Fanny and Tilda's friendly but crude mannered fiancé John Browdie After being accosted by Fanny again Nicholas bluntly tells her he does not return her affections and wishes to be free of the horrible atmosphere of Dotheboys Hall earning her enmity تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز پانزدهم ماه ژوئن سال 2010 میلادیعنوان نیکلاس نیکلبی متن کوتاه شده؛ نویسنده چارلز دیکنز؛ مترجم محسن سلیمانی؛ تهران، انتشارات سوره، 1376، در 116 ص، شابک ایکس 964471301؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان انگلیسی سده 19 منشر افق، 1388، در 137 ص؛ شابک 9789643695255؛عنوان نیکلاس نیکلبی؛ نویسنده چارلز دیکنز؛ مترجم بهرام آریان؛ مریم سلمانی زاده؛ تهران حامدین، 1380، در 139 ص، شابک 9649301011؛ موضوع داستانهای بریتانیایینیکولاس جوان، و خانواده اش از یک زندگی با آرامش لذت میبرند، تا اینکه پدرش از دنیا میرود، و آنها را بی پول و تنها میگذارد «نیکولاس» به همراه خواهر و مادرش، به لندن میروند، تا از عمویش «رالف»، درخواست یاری کنند اما «رالف» قصد دارد خانواده را از هم جدا کرده، و از آنها سوء استفاده کند «نیکولاس» به مدرسه ای که توسط مردی بیرحم اداره میشود، فرستاده میشود و؛ ا شربیانی


  4. Piyangie Piyangie says:

    The third book of Charles Dickens Nicholas Nickleby has some marked differences from the other Dickens books I've read Except Oliver Twist which I've read as a teen I haven't read any early work by Dickens a work written in his youth So Nicholas Nickleby was a welcoming change and an opportunity to see a different side of Dickens The original title The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby pretty well sums up the story Yes it is about Nicholas an honest trusting good natured and good hearted youth who is thrown at the mercy of the world with his father's untimely death With the care of his mother and sister weighing heavily upon him and with no sincere help from his usurer uncle he struggles to find his way in the world and to raise himself from sheer poverty to respectability Nicholas is one interesting hero of Dickens and uite different from any other Dickensian hero I've come across He is strong minded courageous and persevering He is governed by a strong sense of duty and justice His nature is such that fiercely arouse at injustice cruelty and wickedness At such times one can say the young hero is impetuous uick tempered and even violent These contrary character traits make Nicholas one of Dickens's chivalrous and colourful heroesAside from Nicholas we meet uite an interesting set of characters both male and female Of them some are good kind and helpful; some are wicked and greedy; and some silly and vain Dickens is very fond of using many different characters in his books and in each of them he never fails to present the readers with some memorable ones And Nicholas Nickleby too makes a few contributions to that lot It was a prevalent idea that Dickens didn't create strong female characters in his early works and that they came only in his later mature ones But Nicholas Nickleby effectually silences this misconception with Kate Nickleby Nicholas's brave little sister who is one strong female character that we'll hold dear Nicholas Nickleby shows a marked difference from his later works This difference stems out from his style of writing It is youthful exuberant action packed and dramatic It has the usual Dickensian satire but not the depth and gravity that graced his later work Dickens was himself a youth when he wrote this so a lot of youthful energy is poured into the story and the character of Nicholas This style of Dickens which I'm not uite acuainted with was very pleasing It made the reading light and easy despite his inherent verbosity This is another great creation of Charles Dickens Reading it was a fascinating experience The I read Dickens the I understand why he is revered over the centuries I never gave much thought to Dickens's position as the most outstanding Victorian author before But I'm slowly on the way to form the same opinion myself


  5. Glenn Sumi Glenn Sumi says:

    Was there ever a novelist with a bigger heart than Charles Dickens? This is the sixth Dickens book I’ve read including the novella A Christmas Carol And like most of his other works it’s expansive bursting with all manner of incident and life Some of that life mind you goes ON AND ON And a few scenes about social gracesmanners might need explaining to a contemporary reader But the overall effect if you ignore the repetition is absorbing and very satisfying Just as we binge watch the latest Netflix or Hulu series I can imagine Victorian readers binge reading the installments of this novel as they were published in the late 1830sAfter his father dies Nicholas his sister Kate and their mother are left penniless and at the mercy of the father’s brother Ralph a miserly moneylender who’s clearly possibly an early model for Ebenezer ScroogeRalph who hated his brother promptly separates the family and does the absolute minimum for his poor relations; he sends Nicholas off to work in Yorkshire as an assistant to the loathsome Wackford Sueers who runs an abusive sham of a school for boys; he sends Kate and her mother to live in a slum and arranges for Kate to work for a milliner Madame Mantalini and her no good hanger on husband Soon Nicholas and Ralph have a huge falling out and the family is cut off from any financial aid How will they survive? What follows is an episodic narrative that includes forays into the theatre world no doubt drawing on Dickens’s own experiences as an actor several businesses and shadowy corners of London lowlife This being a Dickens novel there are lots of coincidences some broad caricatures and a heavy social conscience especially around the plight of the poor and helpless Oddly enough while Nicholas and Kate Nickleby are thinly drawn goody goody characters their chattering mother leaps off the page with her humorous conjectures and genteel pronouncements; Ralph and Sueers make fascinating contrasting villainsOther memorable characters include Ralph’s clerk Newman Noggs who takes a shine to the Nicklebys; Lord Frederick Verisopht say the surname aloud and Sir Mulberry Hawk two of Ralph’s slimy business associates; Miss La Creevy a miniature portrait painter; all of the lively actors involved in the travelling theatre troupe run by Vincent Crummles; John Browdie a simple but warm hearted Yorkshireman who might bring to mind Great Expectations’ Joe Gargery And then there’s the pathetic friendless sad sack Smike whom Nicholas meets and befriends at Sueers’ school He’s one of those idealized sentimentalized characters found only in Dickens novels It’s a little unfair to judge an early Dickens novel his third written when he was in his 20s against his later works particularly masterpieces like David Copperfield and Great Expectations These later books were carefully structured and I don’t recall sighing and wanting to get through any passages the way I did with this book There’s one story within a story set in a tavern that practically stops the novel in its tracksBut even though I pretty much knew where the novel was going I’d seen the two part stage adaptation years ago Dickens still made me laugh cry and gasp at certain passages More than most major English novelists except perhaps DH Lawrence Dickens was familiar with poverty and the lower classes and that gave him lots of knowledge about the human condition the vanity fair that makes up life now and nearly 200 years ago


  6. Perry Perry says:

    No dark sarcasm in the classroom If you don't eat your meat you can't have any puddingPink Floyd Another Brick in the Wall Pt 2I delight in Dickens' class humorsocial satire and irony Nicholas Nickleby was his third novel right after Oliver Twist This novel is lighter than Twist but nearly as influential in pressuring changes to English society in the mid 1800s Here Dickens' target was an abusive all male boarding school in Yorkshire In researching for this novel Dickens made visits to this school and based his villainous schoolmaster Wackford Sueers on the Yorkshire master William Shaw who was apparently one brutally cruel son of a bitchOther memorable character names include Newman Noggs clerk to Nickleby's awful Uncle Ralph Nickelby Miss Knag Miss Wittiterly and Lord Frederick Verisopht who is killed in a duel with another of British nobility This included the first romance written by Dickens though it fell considerably short of the one he wrote for David Copperfield In sum I enjoyed it but found the story didn't flow as well as some of his later novels


  7. Brad Brad says:

    When the name of the cruel schoolmaster is Wackford Sueers you just know it's going to be good Nicholas himself can sometimes be a bit prissy but this serves well as a foil for the many extreme characters that surround him and he's a lot feisty than the relatively miluetoast David Copperfield This is classic Dickens at the height of his powers My generic comment about Charles DickensFirst of all although I am a partisan of Dickens' writing and have read and relished most his works I concede to three flaws in his oeuvre that are not insignificant First while he seemed to develop an almost endless variety of male social types his female characters are much less well developed Second although he portrayed the stark brutality of economic and class ineuality with unparalleled clarity his diagnosis of what needs to be done is flaccidly liberal suggesting that the wealthy should simply be nicer and generous to the pooryet his writings did propitiate structural changes eg to the Poor Laws in his lifetime Third in tying up the loose threads of his extremely complex plots he often pushes this reader past the boundary of the reasonable suspension of disbelief Some readers also object to his sentimentalism or to his grotesue characters but I find these extremes create a dynamism in combination with his social criticism These caveats aside I deeply enjoy reading Dickens for a number of reasons He exhibits stratospheric gifts of imagination in portraying extremes of human character in extreme situations His idiosyncratic characters each have an unmistakable and unforgettable voice His highly crafted language is endlessly inventive and evocative Finally he created a parade of some of the funniest evilest and most pathetic characters one will ever encounter and although extreme they also ring true to euivalent characters from any time


  8. Sue Sue says:

    I'm glad that Classics Corner at Constant Reader elected to read NN for its April book as I've intended for a while to return to my goal of reading as many of Dickens' books as possible over time And I was not disappointed with this book While not as developed as later works it introduces familiar themes settings character types etcfurther review to come


  9. JK JK says:

    Well fan my brow I’ve been wandering around this world for years telling anyone who will listen that my favourite Dickens novel is David Copperfield with conviction which cannot be rivalled I’m all a flutter now Nickleby has come along and knocked Copperfield from the top spotWhat an absolute triumph this novel is All of my favourite Dickens staples are firmly present Victorian social customs comedy villains tragedy debtors and drunks There’s plenty of heartbreak and injustice peppered with Dickens' own brand of humour to lighten the mood to the perfect degreeThere is a lot of plot; I repeat there is a lot of plot Dickens goes into tiny detail on setting atmosphere and behaviour creating a beautifully vivid and engaging picture of Victorian London It feels very deep and heavy at times; this only added to my enjoyment but I spent much longer on this book than I have on any other for a while savouring relishing lovingHis techniue in presenting the reader with social injustices is gorgeous Laced with satire we see our misers and villains gaining the upper hand at every turn; we are scandalised devastated incensed But we remember it’s Dickens and each and every dastardly character will have his day in the end Real life doesn’t serve justice uite so perfectly but anything else here would be an injuryDespite this Dickens characters here were nothing simple Such a throng of a cast each of them described to completeness every flaw and scar exposed Dickens often characterises his characters as entirely good or bad placing them into their relevant camps as appropriate Here he recognises the range of emotion and temper in his characters and we even see the sueaky clean ones make poor decisions and display emotion not usually attributed to the characters in the angelic of the two campsIt gave my joy it broke my heart The characters are masterpieces within themselves the plot divine everything else just gorgeous gorgeous Nicholas Nickleby is an absolute wonder


  10. Sara Sara says:

    I’m really not sure why I like Dickens so much He is predictable there will be coincidences that could never happen in the real world and in the end everyone will get their just deserts except for the poor sad creature who is destined to see heaven ahead of his time Ah but he does it with so much style and panache He creates characters you are seldom ambivalent about dastardly villains you can feel no compassion for and good people who restore your faith in humanityIn Nicholas Nickleby as in all his novels Dickens has a full grasp of the class system of his time and the conditions of the poor He never fails to illustrate that money brings its own unhappiness for some and that true value is found in character and dignity devotion and love When a Dickens character is at the mercy of the world you can bet he will see the worst and best sides of humanity rearing their headsNicholas Nickleby has its share of Dickens humor as well Mrs Nickleby is a bit of a buffoon who is saved from herself by the good sense of her children I will admit that there are times when she is almost too much There is Newman Noggs who is sure to remain a favorite for me because he is good without any obligation to be so He gives from a position in which there is very little to be given and made me chuckle than once when snipping at the horrible Uncle Ralph I dare say most of us would hoard our coins and protect our position in Nogg’s situation and yet he puts his neck and meager fortune on the line for friendshipWe should all like to think that somewhere in our world there are people like Charles and Ned Cheeryble They live up to their names for no two cheerier people could there be in this world and they certainly spread the cheer everywhere They seem to be proof that goodness is its own rewardAnother thing I love about Dickens his ability to touch upon the thin divide between our world and that of the departed ”It is an exuisite and beautiful thing in our nature that when the heart is touched and softened by some tranuil happiness or affectionate feeling the memory of the dead comes over it most powerfully and irresistibly I t would almost seem as though our better thoughts and sympathies were charms in virtue of which the soul is enable to hold some vague and mysterious intercourse with the spirits of those whom we dearly loved in life” I found this observation remarkably accurateI have discovered that reading Dickens slowly brings out the best in his writing I languished over his descriptions of people and places and took my time over his hilarious conversations If you pay close attention you can see 1840s London through his eyes The lessons of his time are the lesson of today where so many seem to think money and possessions outweigh personal connections and love of humanity It is good for the soul to read DickensUp next some Christmas stories and the annual reading of A Christmas Carol Next year I am planning to fit in three Dickens novels Hard Times Little Dorrit and Pickwick Papers It is going slowly but that is fine since it means there will be Dickens’ yet to come for a long long time


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