About Great Expectations

Is it possible for an author as celebrated as Charles Dickens to have a 'best' novel? According to most literary scholars and critics throughout time, the answer is a decided 'yes' and it points to none other than 'Great Expectations'. As school children, many of us were required to read this giant of Dickensian genius and the perennial characters of Pip, Mrs Havisham, and Estella remain in our minds to this day. However, 'Great Expectations' is so much more than an icon from English literature seminars. In many ways, it is a novel that displays the depths of a genius and the pain of a culture and time. The Victorian era was a beautiful, dichotomous era of Britain's past and Charles Dickens was its designated scribe. The themes of wealth versus poverty, good versus evil, and love, rejection, and acceptance are common among all of his works but presented at near-perfection in 'Great Expectations'. The novel was first published in weekly instalments through Dickens' periodical 'All the Year Round' beginning in August of 1860. The full tale was subsequently presented as a whole in three volumes the following year. Almost immediately, Dickens' thirtieth novel received a good deal of critical acclaim. Though some critics of the 1860s were less enamoured with the novel, Dickens himself proclaimed it one of his best and it has remained a time honoured favourite ever since. Indeed, to this day many consider 'Great Expectations' to be the finest novel penned in the English language. Do you? What's for certain is that its story, characters, themes, and author are all treasured gems that are not to be missed.

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