The Pickwick Papers

  • by Charles Dickens
  • Narrated by Simon Prebble
  • 30 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (commonly known as The Pickwick Papers) is the first novel by Charles Dickens. The book became the first real publishing phenomenon, with bootleg copies, theatrical performances, Sam Weller joke books and other merchandise.
Written for publication as a serial, The Pickwick Papers is a sequence of loosely-related adventures. The novel's main character, Mr. Samuel Pickwick, Esquire, is a kind and wealthy old gentleman, and the founder and perpetual president of the Pickwick Club. To extend his researches into the quaint and curious phenomena of life, he suggests that he and three other "Pickwickians" (Mr. Nathaniel Winkle, Mr. Augustus Snodgrass, and Mr. Tracy Tupman) should make journeys to remote places from London and report on their findings to the members of the club. Their travels throughout the English countryside provide the chief theme of the novel.
Its main literary value and appeal is formed by its numerous memorable characters. Each character in The Pickwick Papers, as in many other Dickens novels, is drawn comically, often with exaggerated personalities. Alfred Jingle provides an aura of comic villainy. His misadventures repeatedly land the Pickwickians in trouble. These include Jingle's elopement with the spinster, Aunt Rachael of Dingley Dell manor, misadventures with Dr. Slammer, and others.


What the Critics Say

This novel, Dickens's first, made him famous and was perhaps the world's first real publishing phenomenon, inspiring bootleg copies, theatrical performances, and merchandise based on the popular characters.
"[T]he great example of everything that made Dickens great....[a] supreme masterpiece." (G. K. Chesterton)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

My favorite Dickens Book Comes to Life

I would recommend this book to anyone, with one condition... Don't give up on it too soon. This book starts very slowly. It was Dickens first book I believe, and it starts out in a very stuffy formal mode. It purports to be a documentation of the activities of the "Pickwick" club (hence the name the Pickwick Papers). The story takes a while to get going, and I'm afraid many might not have the patience to see it through. Once it gets going, you don't ever want it to end. The narration is first rate as well. Sometimes you find yourself mesmerized by the sheer beauty of the writing of the author, and the magnificent reading of the narrator. It also contains some of the most endearing characters that Dickens ever created. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, its wonderful.
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If you are unfamiliar with the writings of Charles Dickens this is a good novel to start with as it is one of his happier ones.

It does touch on one of the social ills of the age, the debtors' prisons and that part is informative and thought provoking, but mostly the story is far less serious.

The humour is both satirical and gentle, the various cxharacters intriguing and often recognisable! The plot is typically complex, but although the story is lengthy it can be listened to gradually with easy breaks.

To those who already love Dickens writing I believe you will find Simon Prebble the narrator is masterful and a joy to listen to. His treatment of the many different characters made them easy to distinguish and readily believable. My own particular favourites, Sam and Tony Weller, came across exactly as I "vould" have imagined and his dear gentle Mr Pickwick was wonderful.

Cannot recommend this highly enough.
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- Hilary

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-21-2009
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.