Great Expectations (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Mass Market Paperback | April 1, 2003

byCharles DickensIntroduction byRadhika Jones

not yet rated|write a review
Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate
  • All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.

     

    Great Expectations, described by G. K. Chesterton as a “study in human weakness and the slow human surrender,” may be called Charles Dickens’s finest moment in a remarkably illustrious literary career.

    In an overgrown churchyard, a grizzled convict springs upon an orphan named Pip. The convict terrifies the young boy and threatens to kill him unless Pip helps further his escape. Later, Pip finds himself in the ruined garden where he meets the bitter and crazy Miss Havisham and her foster child Estella, with whom he immediately falls in love. After a secret benefactor gives him a fortune, Pip moves to London, where he cultivates great expectations for a life which would allow him to discard his impoverished beginnings and socialize with the idle upper class. As Pip struggles to become a gentleman and is tormented endlessly by the beautiful Estella, he slowly learns the truth about himself and his illusions.

    Written in the last decade of his life, Great Expectations reveals Dickens’s dark attitudes toward Victorian society, its inherent class structure, and its materialism. Yet this novel persists as one of Dickens’s most popular. Richly comic and immensely readable, Great Expectations overspills with vividly drawn characters, moral maelstroms, and the sorrow and pity of love.

    Radhika Jones is a doctoral candidate in English and comparative literature at Columbia University and the managing editor of Grand Street magazine.

From the Publisher

Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics: New in...

Radhika Jones is a doctoral candidate in English and comparative literature at Columbia University and the managing editor of Grand Street magazine.

other books by Charles Dickens

Major Works Of Charles Dickens (penguin Classics Hardcover Boxed Set): HC
Major Works Of Charles Dickens (penguin Classics Hardco...

Hardcover|Nov 23 2011

$113.78 online$160.00list price(save 28%)
A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol

Mass Market Paperback|Nov 1 1986

$5.00

Scrooge #worstgiftever
Scrooge #worstgiftever

Hardcover|Sep 27 2016

$12.95 online$12.99list price
see all books by Charles Dickens
Format:Mass Market PaperbackPublished:April 1, 2003Publisher:Barnes & Noble BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1593080069

ISBN - 13:9781593080068

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of Great Expectations (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Depressing hilarity. Often bleak, but quite hilarious at the same time. Charles Dickens' classic Great Expectations is something that everyone has to at least try to read. There is a lot going on in this book. Duality, character development, commentary on class division, ambition, and a good deal of heart break. Welcome to England.
Date published: 2012-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Fantastic Read This book was really a lot of fun to read. Dickens is such an animated writer and he includes a bunch of characters here that are unforgettable. You really don't see the twist coming, and when it does, it wrenches your insides on so many levels. My sympathies found themselves moving all over the board until the very end. Dickens criticizes society in such a unique, timeless way that still resonates as strongly today as it did in 1861.
Date published: 2010-03-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from As the others Dickens' books, this one is outstanding An outstanding book that I read this year was Great Expectations. This was a wonderful classic written by the magnificent author Charles Dickens. Charles Dickens wrote a book that truly captivated the power of human love. He showed us that life can be very difficult, and you have to work very hard in order for you to succeed. In the beginning of the book, a character named Pip lived on a forge near some marshes in England. His family was generally poor. He lived with his older sister and her husband named Joe. Joe was a fairly poor blacksmith. One day, Pip was walking on the marshes. Suddenly, a strange man came up to Pip and threatened him. The strange man was a convict who was put to die on the marshes. He was handcuffed and chained. He told Pip that he would kill him if he didn't bring him a steel file and something to eat. Pip then ran back to the forge and brought the convict a steel file and some food. This vivid occurrence haunted Pip for the rest of his life. After the incident on the marshes, Pip met a lady named Miss Havesham. Miss Havesham was a very weird lady. She always wore her wedding dress in her house. She never left her house. Miss Havesham had a very beautiful adopted daughter named Estella. She was an arrogant woman. While looking at her, Pip fell in love with Estella. One day, a mysterious man came to Joe's forge. This man was sent by a secret benefactor who was residing in London. The man didn't give his name. He told Pip and Joe that someone in London was requesting him. The secret benefactor wanted Pip to come to London so that he could become a gentleman. Pip was very excited when he heard that he could work in London. Pip and Joe agreed upon the proposal. Later in that same week, Pip left Joe's forge to travel to London. There he could be a gentleman with a bright and bold future. While in London, Pip encountered many strange mysteries. Pip finally met his secret benefactor. Read the book to find out who the secret benefactor was... Overall, Great Expectations was an outstanding book. It really captivated the vast stretches of life. Great Expectations really made me feel quite sad. I felt very sorry for Pip. He had a very difficult life. He had change his personality forever once he became a gentleman. I would recommend this book to anybody who enjoys reading classics. I have read other excellent books by the wonderful author Charles Dickens. I have read Oliver Twist and The Christmas Carol. They were also excellent books.
Date published: 2009-09-06

Extra Content

Read from the Book

From Radhika Jones's Introduction to Great Expectations Whatever expectations Charles Dickens had for his thirteenth novel, he probably did not anticipate that it would someday come to exemplify the Victorian novel itself. But to the countless contemporary readers who follow the adventures of young Pip, the convict he fears, the girl he loves, and the strange old woman he thinks will make his fortune, Great Expectations is in many ways the quintessential nineteenth-century story: part mystery, part bildungsroman, or novel of education, in which our hero, rising above his modest beginnings, moves to London, prospers, and eventually (he hopes) gets the girl. Pip's course, however, does not run so smoothly, and it is the variations Dickens plays on this theme that prompt us to read Great Expectations both with and against the grain of the Victorian novel, for at times it is less an emblem of tradition than a marker of change in both the English society it depicts and the English novel it represents. There are surprises at work in Great Expectations for both its characters and its readers, who bring to it their own expectations of what a novel should be and do. A caricature of Dickens displayed in bookstores when the first sections of Great Expectations appeared (in serialized form, as was common for novels in the Victorian era) shows the author at his desk, pen in hand, hair standing on end, exuding genius. The caption reads, "Charles Dickens, from whom we have Great Expectations." Though the pun is obvious, it is worth recalling for the simple reason that it sounds oddly forward-looking, like something one would say of a promising young writer at the beginning of his career. When Dickens began Great Expectations, at age forty-eight, he already had a dozen novels to his name, as well as countless short stories; he was also an accomplished and experienced editor, a powerful publisher, and a prolific generator of nonfiction-articles, editorials, sketches, and so on. Thanks to both his own prodigious skills and the remarkable rise in literacy rates in nineteenth-century England and America-a fortuitous combination of talented writer and eager new readership-Dickens was one of the first bona-fide mass-market writers in history, a best-selling author and, as novelist Jane Smiley observes in a recent biography, "maybe the first true celebrity in the modern sense." If the world had Great Expectations of Dickens, those expectations could be only that he would continue to deliver a product of which he himself was the most significant producer: compelling stories that appeared in monthly or weekly installments to entertain and inform. And so the caricature's caption reminds us of Dickens's intimate relationship to his readership; the novels he produced went from his pen to their hands with a kind of immediacy that no longer exists in the world of fiction outside of journalism. With every installment of his new novel, Dickens would fulfill expectations, even as he stoked the public's appetite for more. The writing of Great Expectations coincided roughly with a new phase in Dickens's life and career. He had recently left his wife, Catherine, mother of his ten children, and had embarked on a very private affair with a young actress, Ellen Ternan. He had also discontinued his immensely popular weekly journal Household Words, of which he was editor and part-owner, after his copublishers took issue with his decision to print a personal statement, intended to refute rumors about his dissolving marriage, on the front page. Now Dickens was editor of a replacement journal, All the Year Round, in which his historical novel A Tale of Two Cities debuted. Shortly after finishing that work, he began contributing chapters of Great Expectations to boost the circulation, which was sagging due to a lackluster serial by Charles Lever that was then running. (As Dickens's friend and biographer John Forster wryly notes: "A tale, which at the time was appearing in his serial, had disappointed expectation.") Dickens called a staff meeting to discuss options, but he had already decided on a course of action: It was time for him to "strike in." His faith in his selling power did not go unrewarded; circulation of the weekly rebounded and remained healthy for the rest of Dickens's career. But his decision had an impact on the story he was envisioning before it even reached the page. According to Forster, Dickens was planning to compose his new novel-for which he had already conceived the pivotal relationship, between a young boy and a convict-in monthly serial form, comprising twenty numbers, which would have made it a much longer work on the scale of such previous hits as Dombey and Son and Little Dorrit. Publishing it in his weekly journal would require Dickens to reconfigure his idea into a shorter book, along the lines of its predecessor, A Tale of Two Cities. The result is a novel more pruned in its plots, more limited in its cast of characters than others of Dickens's great works. It was a "sacrifice," Dickens told Forster, "really and truly made for myself"-a compromise between Dickens the publisher and Dickens the writer. Thus was Great Expectations born: out of disappointed expectation, transformed from its creator's original expectation. The meanings inscribed in its title had already begun to multiply.