Charles, Dickens

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (Penguin Classics)

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“David Copperfield” is a novel written by English author Charles Dickens, first published as a serial from 1849 to 1850 and later published as a complete novel in 1850. The novel is widely regarded as one of Dickens’s most autobiographical works and is considered a classic of Victorian literature.

The story follows the life and experiences of its titular character, David Copperfield, from his childhood into adulthood. The narrative is presented as a first-person autobiography, allowing readers to follow David’s journey and growth through his own perspective.

David Copperfield is born to a loving mother, Clara, but his father dies before his birth. After his mother’s remarriage to the oppressive and cruel Mr. Murdstone, David’s life takes a turn for the worse. He faces abuse from Mr. Murdstone and his sister, Jane Murdstone.

After his mother’s death, David is sent to live with his stepfather’s sister, Betsey Trotwood, who becomes one of his most significant benefactors. The novel then traces David’s experiences as he moves through different stages of his life, from his time at the boarding school run by the tyrannical Mr. Creakle to his career as a proctor in London.

The narrative introduces a host of memorable characters, including the kind-hearted Peggotty family, the eccentric Mr. Micawber, the loyal and self-sacrificing Agnes Wickfield, and the charming but deceptive Uriah Heep.

As David navigates love, loss, friendship, and adversity, he goes through a process of self-discovery and personal growth. The novel explores themes of social class, the impact of childhood experiences on adult life, and the resilience of the human spirit.

“David Copperfield” is notable for its vibrant and varied cast of characters, its intricate plot, and Dickens’s skillful blending of humor and sentiment. The novel reflects Dickens’s own experiences and draws from his own life, making it one of his most autobiographical works.

The novel’s themes of personal transformation, societal injustices, and the power of resilience have contributed to its lasting appeal. “David Copperfield” remains a beloved and often-studied work that offers insights into the complexities of human nature and the society of Victorian England.


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