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The Old Curiosity Shop

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  12,875 Ratings  ·  774 Reviews
The archetypal Victorian melodrama, as heartfelt and moving today as when it was first published, Charles Dickens's The Old Curiosity Shop is edited with notes and an introduction by Norman Page in Penguin Classics.

Little Nell Trent lives in the quiet gloom of the old curiosity shop with her ailing grandfather, for whom she cares with selfless devotion. But when they are u
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Paperback, 576 pages
Published January 25th 2001 by Penguin Classics (first published 1840)
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Jean
The Old Curiosity Shop was the most popular of Dickens's novels during his lifetime. Yet now there is perhaps no other novel by him which splits opinion so much. How can that be?

The simple answer is that tastes change. Just as with modern-day fantasy stories the reader has to suspend their disbelief, accepting the basic premise of the magical or dystopian world described, with Dickens one has to "go along with" his unique view of the world. Yes, he was writing about everyday characters and the h
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Jason Koivu
Dec 02, 2008 Jason Koivu rated it liked it
Charles Dickens likes to beat the shit out of his main characters. It's like a form of domestic abuse!

Has he beaten the crap out of another character more than poor little Nell from The Old Curiosity Shop? Certainly Pip and Oliver get theirs. But at least with them there's some sort of happy ending or comeuppance for the villains. Like Little Dorrit without the uplifting ending, Nell is flat out beat down. Time and again she is taken advantage of and there is no redemption, not in my eyes. Sure,
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Paul Bryant
Apr 17, 2017 Paul Bryant rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
AN EQUILIBRIUM OF DISGUST AND DELICIOUSNESS

You have rarely read a novel in which the bad stuff is so so so bad and the good stuff so good and the crunching wrenching sounds of the gear changes between the good bits and the bad bits can be heard from three streets away. Little Nell and her grandfather will revolt modern readers – the former is treated with a religious sanctimoniousness which would make a vicar throw up into the collection plate, and the latter is a gambling addict and depressive
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Henry Avila
In the slums of London, in the mid 1800's, on a dirty, lonely, and obscure street, a crumbling house still stands, The Old Curiosity Shop. Inside lives an old man (never named), and his pretty, young granddaughter, Nell Trent, in the back of the building. An older, lazy brother of Nell's, Frederick, is always coming to the house, trying to get some more cash ( he already has wasted, too much), from the grandfather, he needs for his drinking. The almost worthless merchandise the store, has, stran ...more
MJ Nicholls
Not too sentimental. Oscar Wilde was clearly in a bad mood. Boasts the evillest dwarf outside German folklore, the irrepressible Qulip. Cute kid (view spoiler) and her put-upon granddaddy (view spoiler) in King Lear and Cordelia metaphor. A crackerbox of eccentrics: the morally unsure Dick Swiveller, the ruthless Brasses (precursor of the legal vipers in Bleak House), the hero-in-waiting Kit. A rodomontade of freaks and carnies, from Mrs Jarley’s ...more
Perry
Mar 21, 2017 Perry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: revring
Stropping Sentimentally

In this third Dickens novel (1841), one can see Dickens stropping his sharp sabre of social satire with the tale of "little" Nell Trent (almost 14) and her grandfather going on the run from the monstrously malevolent Daniel Quilp, a grotesque, hunchbacked dwarf usurer, once gramps runs up a huge debt to Quilp after becoming addicted to gambling. Quilp has his evil eye on Nell as Mrs. Quilp #2, and tells her so.

I think it's so well known that it's no longer a spoiler to poi
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Brad
Jun 25, 2007 Brad rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novel
Another masterful confection of pathos and comic genius, this time featuring such characters as the slacker Dick Swiveler and the cruel Daniel Quilp.


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, I concede to three flaws in his oeuvre that are not insignificant. First, while he seemed to develop an almost endless variety of male social types, his female characters are much less well developed. Second,
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Barry Pierce
Dickens, how dare you end the novel like that! MY EMOTIONS YOU PIG-DOG! This was great, really great (obviously, it's Dickens for goodness sake). The story of Little Nell and her grandfather is tragic and beautiful, while Daniel Quilp is an incredibly dastardly Dickensian villain (he's no Bill Sikes though). Read this because it's Dickens and he's a fucking genius.
Mona
Jul 29, 2015 Mona rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5

A Dickensian "Alice in Wonderland"


"Curiosity Shop" vs. "Alice

This novel, serialized in 1840 and 1841, and published as a book in 1841, reminds me in some respects of "Alice in Wonderland" (published in 1865).

Maybe it's that they're both British Victorian novels. Maybe it's the abundance of eccentric (and even lunatic) characters that seems to be the specialty of British novelists of the time. Maybe it's the original (and quite wonderfully demented) illustrations by George Cattermole and Habl
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Lisa
Oct 10, 2010 Lisa rated it liked it
The book itself is okay--(a young girl and her grandfather flee London to escape an evil creditor)--but for me the real fun was reading a story that people got so excited about over 150 years ago. According to Wikipedia, "In 2007, many newspapers claimed the excitement at the release of the last volume of 'The Old Curiosity Shop' was the only historical comparison that could be made to the excitement at the release of the last Harry Potter novel .... Dickens fans were reported to storm the piers ...more
Hannah
Feb 13, 2013 Hannah rated it liked it
I'm revising my rating because I just don't have good memories of this book. I got a two-volume set from around the 1880s, and decided to read through it; I kinda liked Nell, but it was like slogging through mud for me to get into the story. Well, I made it to the end of the first volume, and by then I'd invested enough time to put it aside, so I gritted my teeth and ploughed into it. I could hardly wait to finish the final chapter, because this villain is utterly bad and was totally creeping me ...more
Duntay
Mar 28, 2011 Duntay rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am quite worried by this insipid-looking woman on the cover...

So far my favourite character is Whiskers the pony. I'm not sure if that bodes well.

I confess: I abandoned Little Nell. In a drawer, in a B&B in Tobermory. I did however finish the book, after lugging it about since March. I'm afraid my initial reservations were confirmed: Nell was insipid, and Whiskers the pony was ace. Especially as it is reported that his final act was to kick his doctor in his last illness. The doctor is nev
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Manny
Dec 09, 2008 Manny rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alex
Nov 16, 2012 Alex rated it it was amazing
Shelves: victorian
The Old Curiosity Shop seems the perfect title for this novel, even thought the titular shop hardly features beyond the first few chapters. It's a perfect curio, a ramshackle assortment of strange Dickensian characters and one never knows what one will find from one chapter to the next. There's no overarching plot or purpose, and the novel revolves around a bunch of characters, namely Daniel Quilp, Richard Swiveller, Little Nell and Kit Nubbles - for starters - all vaguely loosely connected, but ...more
TheSkepticalReader
More so like a 2.5 star. It’s a bit stereotypical and I felt like Dickens never fully did Nell justice in the end. And the dwarf being the obvious evil dude is also eye roll worthy.
Ayu Palar
Apr 04, 2009 Ayu Palar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More than a century ago, people were waiting on the docks at New York to ask a question to passengers from England ‘Is Nell dead?’. So influential Old Curiosity Shop to those readers’ lives! And how Little Nell has stolen many readers’ hearts! I adore the novel so much and I do think that Little Nell’s life is tragic, yet I didn’t shed any tear when I closed the last page of the book. There are other elements of the book that attract me more, especially the rich description that successfully bui ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"

"...and so do things pass away, like a tale that is told."

When I started this novel I got all excited, thinking it might be even better than Great Expectations, my favorite Dickens novel to date. What always happens to me with Charles Dickens, though, is that my interest starts to fade about 2/3 of the way through the book. He has many sub-plots going all at once, and he abandons some of them for so long in order to focus on just one. Often the one he favors is the one I'm least interested in,
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Sergio
Oct 23, 2014 Sergio rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There’s Little Nell, an orphan, and her grandfather says, “she shall be rich one of these days, and a fine lady.” They are devoted to one another, and as the story unfolds, we see that Nell is the most devoted. The girl cares for the old man, and when they leave the shop she leads him on their journey.
The narrative is full of picturesque and amazing characters, vivid images of city life and nature, with the villains plotting cunningly and the honest people coming to rescue, but not always in ti
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Simona
Jun 07, 2016 Simona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Sono tanti i mutamenti che avvengono in pochi anni, e tutto passa come la narrazione di una fiaba".

La bottega dell' antiquario è un negozio di chincaglierie e curiosità che funge solo da scenario al luogo della storia.
Siamo a Londra dove si muovono una serie di personaggi che sono tutti contraddistinti da una grande umanità.
Ciò che sorprende maggiormente di questa vicenda sono i vari personaggi, tra cui spiccano il nonno e la nipote, Nell, che sono legati da un rapporto di amore, fedeltà e l
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Duffy Pratt
Apr 25, 2010 Duffy Pratt rated it did not like it
Shelves: classic
Daniel Quilp stands short in stature, but has a large spirit. A dwarf, he has endured the prejudice and the malign intentions of people who judge him solely on his appearance. For example, one character (Kit) says of Quilp that he is uglier than anyone you might pay to see in a circus freak show. Despite the relentless hostility towards him, Quilp, through his intelligence, his energy, and his large spirit, has managed to rise in the ranks of the business world. But even his success does nothing ...more
Mikey B.
Jan 01, 2017 Mikey B. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Once more I find Dickens to be a story-teller of the first rank, full of zest and a love of life. Almost everything is perfect, but more on this qualification later. The book is so engaging – all the physical and psychological traits of the characters are so well rendered. The images of streets, houses, and the countryside are superb. In a biography of Dickens I read some time ago it was related that he was a massive walker – wandering, sometimes daily, several miles through city streets and cou ...more
Chris
Sep 05, 2011 Chris rated it liked it
Reading this strengthened my opinion that Charles Dickens was a genius at creating memorable characters, but not so skilled at creating plots. Who could ever forget the devilish dwarf Mr. Quilp, the brother and sister lawyers Samson and Sarah Brass, and the kind-hearted rogue Dick Swiveller. The curious thing about the Old Curiosity Shop is that the namesake venue ceases to be location of the story very early on, and the so-called main character Nell is not half as memorable as her supporting ca ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Old Curiosity Shop, Charles Dickens
مغازه عتیقه فروشی
چند فیلم و سریال بر اساس این داستان ساخته شده
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Tristram
A Treacly Treat

Written between the spring of 1840 and the late autumn of 1841 for the weekly serial “Master Humphrey’s Clock”, Dickens’s “The Old Curiosity Shop” is utterly blemished by the constraints on a writer’s imagination such a serial publication demands, for the novel is extremely ill-composed, its plot comes out as threadbare and rather pointless, and some of the characters undergo rather improbable changes. In fact, had this been the first Dickens novel I had ever laid eyes on, I would
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Milica
Jan 23, 2014 Milica rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
Tačno je da je tu prodavnica. I da je stara. I da u njoj možete naći svakave retkosti. Isto tako je tačno da iz nje sve kreće i da njena sudbina jasno prikazuje sudbinu glavnih likova. Međutim, kako se vrlo lako uvidi nije poenta u tome da je prodavnica stara, već da prodaje starine, retke starine, pa samim tim je primereniji naslov, bar po mojoj proceni, „Prodavnica retkih starina“. Ne zvuči toliko pompezno kao pravi naslov, ali je ipak bliži istini. Za ovu priču i nije preterano, ako je uopšte ...more
Ange
Mar 23, 2017 Ange rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own, classic, 2017
*2.5
Mary
May 12, 2012 Mary rated it really liked it
I read this for a book club, would not have read it on my own, and in fact I found it a lot more engaging than I expected. Not surprising that this was written to be serialized, and a lot of it is very formulaic. I find that I am reminded of the little girl with a curl right in the middle of her forehead – when she was good she was very very good, and when she was bad she was horrid. The very very good here is Nell, who is so good that she is described as an angel, and apparently is too good to ...more
Moon Rose
In the beginning was the lonesome shop that creeped in the grimness of the dark like a long standing specter riveted on its haunted spot. It stood isolated and unnoticed amid the light and bustle of the night as it appeared like a stump of some neglected tombstone in a forgotten cemetery left to its own blight. In it were some of the old and curiosity things, of knickknacks, trinkets and stuff, of unwanted items left to rot in their own dust. From which dark corner, two unlikely souls emerged in ...more
Debbie
Mar 04, 2012 Debbie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderfully enjoyable book. The classic Dickens formula is put to work: good vs. evil, hardship, the sad reality of real life, the journey, the secret, the bittersweet happy ending. All this equation performed amongst a myriad of extremely colorful characters and scenes so pictographic in description and prose that the landscape seems to pop up out of the book and play out in animation before the eyes. Dickens has such a way with his characters. They are always to the extreme. When the ...more
Brian Robbins
Jun 11, 2012 Brian Robbins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was another CD version to make driving more fun, and at 18 discs it promised hours and many miles of fun driving. We even had to go on a short driving holiday just to finish it!

Anton Lesser reads Dickens extremely well, even if his elderly women (thinking more of his reading of Pickwick Papers here) tend to become impersonations of Dame Edith Evans at her most theatrical. In this production his Quilp was outstanding.

I last read the book in 1987 and thoroughly enjoyed it. Returning to it was
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Charles John Huffam Dickens (7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the twentieth century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and sho ...more
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“It is a pleasant world we live in, sir, a very pleasant world. There are bad people in it, Mr. Richard, but if there were no bad people, there would be no good lawyers.” 203 likes
“Fan the sinking flame of hilarity with the wing of friendship; and pass the rosy wine.” 16 likes
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