Perhaps Dickens's best-loved work, Great Expectations tells the story of Pip, a young man with few prospects for advancement until a mysterious benefactor allows him to escape the Kent marshes for a more promising life in London. Despite his good fortune, Pip is haunted by figures from his pastthe escaped convict Magwitch, the time-withered Miss Havisham, and her proud and beautiful ward, Estellaand in time uncovers not just the origins of his great expectations but the mystery of his own heart.
A powerful and moving novel, Great Expectations is suffused with Dickens's memories of the past and its grip on the present, and it raises disturbing questions about the extent to which individuals affect each other's lives. This edition reprints the definitive Clarendon text. Robert Douglas-Fairhurst's new introduction ranges widely across critical issues raised by the novel: its biographical genesis, ideas of origin and progress and what makes a "gentleman," memory, melodrama, and the book's critical reception. The book includes four appendices and the fullest set of critical notes in any mass-market edition.
Mr. Dickens may be reasonably proud of these volumes.... he has written a story that is new, original, powerful and very entertaining.... It is in his best vein, and although it is too slight, and bears many traces of hasty writing, it is quite worthy to stand beside Martin Chuzzlewit and David Copperfield.