The Pickwick Papers

The Pickwick Papers: The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (Illustrated Modern Library)The Pickwick Papers: The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club by Charles Dickens

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A comical romp through the English countryside, which pokes fun at politics, lawyers, medical students, aggressive middle-aged women, fat people, costume parties, and “scientific” research, for starters. Along the way, it is also a morality tale. The genial, bumbling Mr. Pickwick learns something about human nature along the way and is a better person for it. Goodness, generosity, mercy and forgiveness will triumph over greed, meanness, cruelty, and deception. Dickens is at his best when describing parties, Christmas festivities, and the conviviality of food and drink and friendship. My favorite character is Sam Weller, the faithful servant, friend, and surrogate son to Mr. Pickwick. One wonders if Tolkien modeled Samwise after this character. The plot, if you can call it that, is frequently interrupted by story telling. While the result is a bit rambling, the stories do usually either parallel or contrast something in the current situation. And of course, the whole thing is told with wickedly funny dialogue, satire and wordplay already mature in this first work of Dickens.

Description: Meet Mr. Pickwick, General Chairman and Member of the Pickwick Club, whose aim it is to advance knowledge (meet the good people of the neighborhood) and diffuse learning (talk with the good people of the neighborhood) by widening its members’ sphere of observation (traveling to and between the good people of the neighborhood) so long as the effort be not too great (which it rarely is) and that there be plenty of room for good cheer (of which there is never a lack). Meet Mr. Pickwick, and you cannot fail to meet those cheery gentlement Mr. Snodgrass, Mr. Tracy Tupman, Mr. Jingle, and Mr. Nathaniel Winkle. Meet Mr. Pickwick, and without a doubt your day will dawn a little brighter, and your temperament will be a little sweeter for the aquaintance. Narrated by Patrick Tull.

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