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Martin Chuzzlewit (1844)

de Charles Dickens

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This edition of one of Dickens's earlier novels is based on the accurate Clarendon edition of the text and includes the prefaces to the 1850 and 1867 editions and Dickens's Number Plans.
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Charles Dickens wrote this book between 1842 and 1844 when it was published in monthly installments. According to Wikipedia early response to it was disappointing although Dickens felt it was his best work. In order to increase sales Dickens added a plot line that took several characters to the United States. His portrayal of the USA is scathing as he peoples it with hucksters and braggarts and violence. Although Dickens later said this was a satirical portrayal I couldn't help but think it could have been written in our current century.

There are two Martin Chuzzlewits in the book. One is the grandfather of the other. The senior Chuzzlewit raised the junior but when the young man fell in love with the female orphan (Mary Graham) that the senior had taken in to look after him Martin senior threw out Martin junior. Senior Chuzzlewit was very rich but he cut his grandson out of his will and he told Mary from the beginning that she could expect nothing in his will either. There are many relatives who could hope that they would receive the estate. We get introduced to all of them when Martin senior becomes ill while travelling near the village where a relative (and scoundrel), Seth Pecksniff, lives. Pecksniff calls himself an architect and he makes his living by taking in students to learn architecture. If the students learn anything it is because of Thomas Pinch, Pecksniff's assistant, who is probably the nicest character in the book. (Mark Tapley, an assistant to the innkeeper where Martin Senior stays, is another genuinely nice person but he is a little peculiar.) Pecksniff has recently lost one student so he inveigles another to take his place and that student is none other than Martin Junior. Soon Pecksniff is after the Chuzzlewit fortune and, in order to ingratiate himself with Martin Senior, he throws Martin Junior out. Mark Tapley is desirous of finding another situation; he wants some place where his good humour is really tested by adversity. Mark proposes that he become a servant to Martin Junior and the two of them set off to America. In steerage accommodations on the ship going there Mark is indeed tested and he rises to the occasion but it is in America where he really proves his mettle. Martin Junior has implored Thomas Pinch to convey messages to Mary, little realizing that Thomas is in love with Mary himself. When Pecksniff discovers this he fires Pinch, again to curry favour with Chuzzlewit senior. Another branch of the Chuzzlewit family, Anthony and his son Jonas, play an important role in the plot. Suffice it to say that murder is involved.

Eventually the evil-doers get their just desserts and the kind and good are rewarded but there are many twists and turns along the way and it takes over 750 pages to reach the end. I enjoyed the book though and any fan of Dickens who has not read it should do so. ( )
1 vote gypsysmom | Feb 6, 2021 |
Ifv this book is Dickens, then I'm not a fan at all. I thought the book was very long, with many characters, none really very likeable to me. I lost track of the story from time to time, because the narrative didn't keep me focussed.
It went on and on and on, as far as I'm concerned, without ever really going somewhere.
It felt the same as some of the other big novels I've read, only here there was a male perspective instead of a female.

I hope the other books by Dickens on my shelf will turn out to be more to my liking! ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Jan 13, 2021 |
Martin Chuzzlewit feels like the beginning of Dickens' second act. While all of his previous books had strengths (and I probably still viscerally prefer Nicholas Nickleby), this, his 9th major work and 6th novel, was written after the celebrity Dickens' return from America, and marks the start of a busier lifestyle for the author, which included social engagements, speaking tours, and community responsibilities, not to mention a growing household. My suspicion is that he started devoting more time to the nuances of his writing - not the descriptions, which have always been first-rate, but the character arcs. The vivid characters of Pecksniff and Mrs. Gamp have a comic life of their own, while the analysis of human folly among the Chuzzlewit family is a deeper, more internal attempt at storytelling which Dickens would return to in his next novel, Dombey and Son. For the first time, Dickens hasn't felt the need to make his central character a paper-thin but sentimental naif (not that young Martin is exactly the most scintillating of figures).

We'll dock a couple of points for the American sequences, which have a reasonable level of thematic resonance but are clearly filler, but this is a new, more "novelistic" side of Dickens that can't be ignored. I certainly think more people should be reading Martin Chuzzlewit when they feel like a taste of Dickens. ( )
  therebelprince | Nov 15, 2020 |
The first chapter was so dense and indecipherable I was in half a mind to give it up. Glad I didn't. This is one of Dicken's funniest books, with humor pouring out of sentences. It has its usual cast of saintly and villainy characters. Tom Pinch would have been unbelievable if he doesn't know how to stand up for himself. Pecksniff is not Dicken's most villainy character though he must have been the most pretentious. I eagerly waited for him to be exposed; there was certainly a dramatic scene where he was exposed by old Chuzzlewit. But it wasn't that satisfying; Dickens didn't really describe his humiliated state. He chose to inflict it on his daughter, Charity. As is Dicken's style, she was ironically named. She certainly didn't show charity to her sister Mercy. She got her just desserts when her fiance deserted her on her wedding day, in front of all her relatives whom she disliked but invited to boast of her happiness. The unlikely relationship between old Chuzzlewit and Mercy was rather touching; he gave her refuge and showed her concern when she was at her most downcast. The theme of this book is very clear - self and how it causes greed and bring about the most undesirable behavior in people. But total selflessness is also absurd, as shown by Mark Tapley, although he is one of the most likable characters in the book. ( )
  siok | Sep 5, 2020 |
Holy cow, this took a while to get through. I must remember that Dickens is best read all at once; there's a certain momentum that needs to build, especially since he adds in so much detail that is easily forgotten. I blew through Nicholas Nickleby in two weeks and was expecting the same here, but this took much longer.

Now that I'm done (and read the last 300 pages relatively quickly), I really liked it. The final events are satisfying and develop quickly, while the middle section (especially in America) dragged. The entire Pecksniff arc was my favorite. ( )
  beautifulshell | Aug 27, 2020 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Charles Dickensautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Barrett, SeanNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Browne, Hablot KnightIlustradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Furbank, P.N.Editorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Houghton, Arthur BoydArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Ingham, PatriciaIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Ingham, PatriciaEditorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Mathias, RobertDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Russell, GeoffreyIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Wall, StephenChronologyautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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To Miss Burdett Coutts this tale is dedicated, with the true and earnest regard of the author
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As no lady or gentleman, with any claims to polite breeding, can possibly sympathise with the Chuzzlewit Family without being first assured of the extreme antiquity of the race, it is a great satisfaction to know that it undoubtedly descended in a direct line from Adam and Eve; and was, in the very earliest times, closely connected with the agricultural interest.
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"You have heard of him whose misery (the gratification of his own foolish wish) was, that he turned every thing he touched into gold. The curse of my existence, and the realization of my own mad desire, is that by the golden standard which I bear about me, I am doomed to try the metal of all other men, and find it false and hollow."
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This work is Martin Chuzzlewit as a unified work (and with no additional stories). Please do not combine with compilations or with individual volumes of Martin Chuzzlewit. Thank you.
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This edition of one of Dickens's earlier novels is based on the accurate Clarendon edition of the text and includes the prefaces to the 1850 and 1867 editions and Dickens's Number Plans.

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Penguin Australia

2 edições deste livro foram publicadas por Penguin Australia.

Edições: 0140436146, 0141198907

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