Nicholas Nickleby
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
read book* *Different edition

Nicholas Nickleby

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  22,370 ratings  ·  763 reviews
Librarian's Note: this is an alternate cover edition - ISBN 1853262641

Following the success of "Pickwick Papers" and "Oliver Twist", "Nicholas Nickleby" was hailed as a comic triumph and firmly established Dickens as a 'literary gentleman'. It has a full supporting cast of delectable characters that range from the iniquitous Wackford Squeers and his family, to the delightf...more
Paperback, Wordsworth Classics, 776 pages
Published 2000 by Wordsworth Editions Ltd (first published 1839)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Nicholas Nickleby, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Nicholas Nickleby

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Brad
When the name of the cruel schoolmaster is Wackford Squeers you just know it's going to be good. Nicholas himself can sometimes be a bit prissy but this serves well as a foil for the many extreme characters that surround him (and he's a lot more feisty than the relatively milquetoast David Copperfield). This is classic Dickens at the height of his powers.

My generic comment about Charles Dickens:
First of all, although I am a partisan of Dickens' writing and have read and relished most his works,...more
Jean
Peter Ackroyd, in his ground-breaking biography of Charles Dickens, says that Nicholas Nickleby is "perhaps the funniest novel in the English language". The complete title of the novel is perhaps a bit of a mouthful,

"The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, containing a Faithful Account of the Fortunes, Misfortunes, Uprisings, Downfallings and Complete Career of the Nickleby Family".

It was published, as his previous novels had been, in monthly installments, between 1838 and 1839, and the la...more
MJ Nicholls
I have a titular affinity with this novel since it incorporates many common misspellings of my surname: Nicols, Nichols, Nickles, Nicholas, Nicolls and (once) Amber Juliana Swami. Dickens’s third novel unites the comedic episodes of The Pickwick Papers with the melodramatic realism of Oliver Twist in a brilliant 832-page (OWC edition) adventure filled with more manipulative drama than Lot 45 on Hollywood Studios (known as the Robin Williams Crap Mound). Unlike the aforesaid former comic actor’s...more
Jonathan
"In short, the poor Nicklebys were social and happy; while the rich Nickleby was alone and miserable."

The contrast between rich and poor, happy and miserable, greed and contentment, have always been key parts of all Dickens' works. Nicholas Nickleby is no exception to this rule in how Dickens sets up the titular hero as the originally poor, yet noble, character and the other men around him as scheming misers.

The plot essentially follows the Nickleby family, left without a father and with Nichola...more
Barry Pierce
One common criticism of The Pickwick Papers is that it has no plot. This novel is the antithesis of Pickwick, it has too much plot. At 1020 pages in length this is the largest book that I have ever read, and it really felt like it.

Dickens is the master of setting and characterisation. However, sometimes he can get so caught up in describing the mood and the presence of a location that half the chapter is gone before any dialogue is even uttered.

This novel contains, in my opinion, one of Dicken...more
Margaret
When I first went to the UK and was doing my version of A Tour Round the Whole Island of Great Britain, which involved many hours alone on British Rail and in B&Bs, this was the only book I took with me - and it was the only one I needed. Because of their length, you could probably say the same about any of Dickens' novels, but somehow this story of two young people going out for the first time to travel through the world on their own (albeit by necessity and not by choice) and meeting all k...more
Velma
Holy crap, if I had known how funny Dickens is, I wouldn't have put off reading him for so long. Now, I'm not sure why I did.

While I read that Nicholas Nickleby isn't Dickens' best or most-respected work, I enjoyed the dickens out of it (sorry). Farcical melodrama at it's most amusing, I say. Sure, the characters are pretty cliche, aptonymical caricatures of various personality traits writ large, but who is better at rendering human motivations and clothing them in astonishingly recognizable por...more
Paul Brogan
It was with some difficulty and not a little despair and disappointment that I struggled through the first few pages of Nicholas Nickleby. It's David Copperfield in disguise, I thought; oh, no, not another commentary on how unfair life is, I reflected further; and there Dickens goes again with his one-dimensional women, in their fainting swoons, righteous indignation, and sheer bitchery.

A few pages further, and I was into the story and read it with some enjoyment to the end, where everyone gets...more
Ayu Palar
Jun 21, 2009 Ayu Palar rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sherien Sabbah, Boof, Sandybanks
Shelves: classics, dickens
The first Dickens I read. I wanted to read Nicholas Nickleby so much since I love the adaptation starring the ever so gorgeous Charlie Hunnam as Nicholas. Compared to other Dickens that I have read, Nicholas Nickleby is lighter. Basically, it tells Nicholas’ journey to reach success. Not only that, he also reveals some dark secrets of his family. I enjoyed this a lot, due to the fact that when reading it, I always imagined Mr. Hunnam’s face *ehm*.

The characters are also remarkable. Our hero Nic...more
Christopher H.
I stayed up late to finish this novel, and it was well worth the lack of sleep! Nicholas Nickleby is an engrossing and exciting read; full of some perfectly nasty, evil, and some very good-hearted characters. Also, I have to say that I had no idea that the conditions at the so-called "Yorkshire schools" were so incredibly deplorable. Yet for every moment of 'doom and gloom' in the novel, Dickens comes right back with the 'bright light' and 'flowers' of the better side of humanity.

The novel is fa...more
F.R.
Wackford Squeers!

The aforementioned schoolmaster is probably the most famous character (with the obvious exception of Nicholas himself) in Dickens’ third novel. Indeed, in my memory of this book – which I last read some fifteen years ago – Wackford Squeers featured as one of the dominant figures. And that’s somewhat odd as he is not the major villain of the piece, he is merely one of a gallery of grotesque rogues the Nickleby children encounter. So why does he linger so long in the mind? I think...more
Craig
Wackford Squeers and Ralph Nickelby, together make Bill Sikes look very common in his (Sikes) evil ways. I thought I had experienced an extreme Dickens character in Bill Sikes from Twist, but the sheer pseudo-intellectualism coupled with brute dishonesty of Squeers and the cold, calculating avarice of Ralph push Sikes into a byword of bad deeds. Again, Dickens crafts wonderfully rich and diverse character, though mostly male(which male characters are developed in more detail). Understanding that...more
Petra
Loved it! This is the light, breezy, humorous, cheery side of Dickens. He must have written this through a good, happy period of his life.
Nicholas Nickleby contains Dickens’ signature purely evil people and purely pure people, his incredibly described people and situations. It also is chockfull of humorous paragraphs, descriptions, situations and quippy one-liners. Wonderful, entertaining reading with a great story, lots of twists, turns and surprises.
K.
Apr 26, 2014 K. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dickens lovers, not necessarily noviates
“Don’t you just love starting a book this big, knowing you’ll have such a long time to spend in a new and delightful world?” From the sticky note I put on the cover of my son’s copy of Nicholas Nickleby before placing it on his TBR pile. The bigger the book the better (in many cases), I say.

2014 Dickens project reread.

While it’s true that Nicholas Nickleby hasn’t descended through time as Dickens’ best book, quite possibly it is known as his most humorous. I’m not the first to observe this, no...more
Joff
Say What You Like, this Nick's a Dick

Dickens was only 26 when he started writing Nicholas Nickelby - and it bloody shows.

After the knockabout good-natured comedy of The Pickwick Papers and the rage-driven sucker-punch of Oliver Twist, the prolific young writer had built up a head of hyperactive steam and really had the bit between his teeth for this one. He hadn't even finished Oliver Twist before he launched into writing this. It's a rags-to-riches story of a young middle-class gent and his mis...more
Avi Gvili
The day I finished reading Great Expectations, I made a promise to myself that I would read every book ever written By Charles Dickens. I'm glad to say that fulfilling this promise is one of the best journeys I have ever taken.

Dickens is simply a giant among writers, immortal as long as the written word is valued. It was hearing Eli Siegel's lecture, THE TRIAL OF MR. PICKWICK: A consideration of Chapter 33 of Charles Dickens' Pickwick Papers, at the Aesthetic Realism Foundation in Soho, NY, that...more
Vicky
I couldn't quite bring myself to give just one star to a master of English fiction, but honestly, this book is Dickens at his worst: maudlin, melodramatic, and almost pathological in its hysterical demonization of the villains. Dickens here caters shamelessly to the sentimentalities, moral simplicities, and stereotypes of his readership. The good characters are gooily good, the bad ones lack not only any redeeming feature but any plausible motivation, and we are encouraged to relish their downfa...more
Radina Stamenova
The two main characters (Nick and Ralph) are like the two sides of the same coin – both Nickleby men, but a few pages into the story we see that this remains the only thing in common (though at some point you may expect that Kate, Nick’s sister might build a bridge between them) and the one is the opposite to the other. Nick’s young, unexperienced in life, a little bit naïve and with a feeling of deep and dear attachment to his family; Ralph’s old, crafty, calculating and only cares for his mone...more
Virginia
This novel is a feast of assorted delights and from start to finish, offers the reader a rollicking good time. It has much more buoyancy than many of his other novels, possibly because Dickens felt greater optimism about society’s capacity to address the social ills he explored in the novel, relative to those illumined in others such as Bleak House. Nicholas Nickleby offers a protagonist whose good heart is almost matched by his heedlessness of any dangers to himself as he impetuously battles a...more
Anna Bear
I actually listened to the BBC read version of this book while I was sick a couple of weeks ago. Although there is nothing quite like the feel and companionship of a physical book, in this case I have to say that nothing showcases Dickens like the audio version. BBC Radio 4 has an extensive selection of Dickens novels dramatized. They are so fantastic because they really capture the period with all the accompanying sound effects. If the text says that the Nicklebys were having tea, you'll hear t...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in October 2000.

One of the most successful of all Dickens' early novels, Nicholas Nickleby will always be remembered for its portrayal of the wonderfully named brutal school, Dotheboys Hall. The plot of the novel is a variation of the young man coming to terms with the world theme. After his father's death, Nicholas Nickleby and his sister Kate need to earn their livings for the first time. They turn to their rich uncle Ralph for help, not realising that he i...more
Angela Young
So often there's a particular scene or series of scenes from a book that stay with me and the ones from Nicholas Nickleby are the early ones between him and Smike. On page 97 of this edition Nickleby sees Smike on his knees before the stove. Smike shrinks back expecting a blow but Nickleby says, 'You need not fear me ... are you cold?' Smike says he's not cold but Nickleby can see he's shivering. He thinks, 'There was such an obvious fear of giving offence in his manner, and he was such a timid,...more
Silvana
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tristram
“[… I]t will be our aim to amuse, by producing a rapid succession of characters and incidents, and describing them as cheerfully and pleasantly as in us lies […]”

Thus it reads in the so-called Nickleby Proclamation, which was supposed to assure readers that their beloved Boz would once again treat them to a feast of Pickwickian antics and Twistish melodrama.

Strike the iron while it’s still hot!

The energetic young Dickens, probably overwhelmed with the success of his Sketches and his first two no...more
Jill Bonsteel
I just finished Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens. Wow, what an emotionally draining but compelling piece. I loved it because even though it is filled with SO much tragedy, Love and Kindness win in the end.

This book reminds all of us, that money doesn’t equate to happiness and that it is our relationships that matter at the end of the day. It also reminds us of the law of reciprocity; what goes around comes around. Though we cannot always know the effects of our actions we can be certain tha...more
Paul
Wow, what a trial. I loved Great Expectations, I tolerated Oliver Twist, but Nicholas Nickleby was a bear to get through. I bought the book years ago in error, thinking it was on a college course reading list. This book sat on my shelf until I finally decided to take a crack at it last fall. After about 200 pages, I put it down and it just kind of sat there. Then I decided to download a pdf copy from google books in an effort to read a little bit each day at work on my lunch break. Didn’t enjoy...more
Reihane
یکی از بهترین آثار چارلز دیکنز
داشتم کتاب غول بزرگ مهربان اثر روالد دال رو می خوندم که دال توی کتابش یه اشاره ای به این کتاب کرده بود. فرداش رفتم کتابخونه و از شانس خوب توی ردیف کتابها همین طوری که می گشتم پیداش کردم. اول رغبتی به خوندن یه کتاب کلاسیک دیگه نداشتم اما شرایط دست به دست هم داد که کتابای دیگه ای که دنبالشون بودم همه امانت بودن و منم این کتاب رو امانت گرفتم. از همون وقتی که شروع کردمش واقعاً از نثر بی نظیر چارلز دیکنز لذت بردم.
به تمام کلاسیک خوونا پیشنهادش می کنم.
Maurine
What a book. I had no idea what infinite charms 19th-century literature holds for me. I have never read Dickens strictly for pleasure before, but this is the book to do it. Nicholas Nickleby is not a wimp! That's what I loved about it. He stands up for himself in a way that I always longed for in, say, Great Expectations. He is quite an admirable character. Also, what an awesome villain. It's the same inexplicable hatred for our hero as in Othello. And, of course, the ending is satisfying and ti...more
Valerie
As is usual with classics, edition matters. This edition is the 2000 revision of the 1995 Wordsworth edition (The dedication is evidently by the editors, and reads "In Loving Memory of MICHAEL TRAYNER the founder of Wordsworth Editions"), and the 2000 revision has a new Introduction (by Dr Tom Cook) and notes. As usual in such cases, the Introduction should probably be read after the first reading of the book (except for noting that the book was begun in 1838, and published serially), but the No...more
Khristine
This is my favorite Dickens. It is witty and sarcastic, and I love his sense of humor. It is very long, and you are making a real commitment when you begin it. Also, the language can be hard to get in to, but it gets better over time. When I finished this book, I was ready to pick it right back up and start over!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • Framley Parsonage
  • The Hand of Ethelberta
  • Daniel Deronda
  • The Absentee
  • Rob Roy
  • No Name
  • Mary Barton
  • New Grub Street
239579
A prolific 19th Century author of short stories, plays, novellas, novels, fiction and non-fiction; during his lifetime Dickens became known the world over for his remarkable characters, his mastery of prose in the telling of their lives, and his depictions of the social classes, morals and values of his times. Some considered him the spokesman for the poor, for he definitely brought much awarenes...more
More about Charles Dickens...
A Tale of Two Cities Great Expectations A Christmas Carol Oliver Twist David Copperfield

Share This Book

“The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again.” 786 likes
“Happiness is a gift and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes.” 182 likes
More quotes…