MJ Nicholls's Reviews > The Pickwick Papers

The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Mar 05, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: novels, pre-1900s, sassysassenachs, art-or-illustrated, voluminous, oxford-classics
Read from March 05 to 08, 2012

The middle classes in this country still aspire to some half-baked bucolic idyll—renting a farmhouse, living off the land, swinging on a hammock reading Balzac while buxom farmlasses frolic in the Devonshire sun. The reality? The work involved in milking cows, shearing sheep, fattening chickens requires the brawny pluck of a youngster, not the snoozy disregard of the doddery, and those farmhouse repairs won’t repair themselves, those bills won’t pay themselves . . . until the call of the one-bedroom flat in the city becomes impossible to ignore. Unless you’re rich enough to hire lackeys, in which case, the vida loca awaits! This is a rambling and rambunctious comedic debut from the soon-to-be Bard of Blighty, rich in top-flight farce, whip-smart satire, and politely scabrous social comment. All very tame and steeped in the Fielding and Smollett tradition, but absolutely engaging from page one to page seven-and-twenty (depending on your edition), and full of marvellous set-pieces, among them the courtroom farce scene, which remains unbettered in modern satire (no, Liar Liar doesn’t count, as fetching as Amanda Donohoe is), and the subsequent imprisonment of Mr. Pickwick for being caught in flagrante consoling his housekeeper. The touching bromance between Samuel and Pickwick, the hilarious Mr. Jingle’s frantic shorthand dialogue, and the indefatigable amiability of this bucolic idyll (and occasional dark turns) make this novel essential for even the most casual of Dickens admirers.
55 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Pickwick Papers.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

03/07/2012 page 390
02/08/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-18 of 18) (18 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Richard I hope that when it comes time to review this, there will be no off-colour comments. Just once I'd like to read one of your reviews without being morally outraged. Thanks.

message 2: by MJ (last edited Mar 05, 2012 09:00AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

MJ Nicholls Prithee, sir, I shan't discolour Esquire Dickens, t'would be calumnious and recreantly!

Richard MJ wrote: "Prithee, sir, I shan't discolour Esquire Dickens, t'would be calumnious and recreantly!"

Have you been reading Sir Thomas Malory? Or just watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail?

message 4: by MJ (new) - rated it 5 stars

MJ Nicholls I'd like to say the former. But we know it's the latter.

message 5: by MJ (new) - rated it 5 stars

MJ Nicholls Oh, just noticed your five-star rating. You are a Pickwickian? is this your favourite Dickens?

message 6: by Richard (last edited Mar 05, 2012 08:18PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Richard No, it isn't but I have a bit of a soft spot for it. I think it was the second Dickens novel I ever read (after an abridged "children's" version of Oliver Twist). I was impressed by the comic style as much as--or more than--the actual story I think. But it's a worthwhile read, as there are some memorable characters, especially Sam Weller and Alfred Jingle. As you go along you'll notice some chapters where characters tell stories that are much darker in tone, too.

message 7: by Mike (new) - added it

Mike Puma <--Is a big fan of MJ's (or anyone else's) moral outrage, but I can live without it. I'm gonna have to read this.

message 8: by MJ (last edited Mar 08, 2012 01:40PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

MJ Nicholls Richard's a sensitive soul. I dedicate this cuss-free, rant-free review to morally outraged gentlemen everywhere.

Richard MJ wrote: "Richard's a sensitive soul. I dedicate this cuss-free, rant-free review to morally outraged gentlemen everywhere."

Awww thanks! See, you can do it if you try!

message 10: by MJ (new) - rated it 5 stars

MJ Nicholls I'm still slightly staggered at this sweary filth-peddling label I've somehow acquired (have you seen your fellow Americans' reviews?), but hey nonny no. Soap suds all the way.

message 11: by Steven (new)

Steven The octogenarian gentry are none to impressed with your mud accursed tongue.

message 12: by Paul (new) - rated it 3 stars

Paul Bryant Dicktastic.

message 14: by MJ (new) - rated it 5 stars

MJ Nicholls Steven wrote: "http://namingschemes.com/Penis_Synonyms


That's a comprehensive list, for sure.

message 15: by Paul (new) - rated it 3 stars

Paul Bryant Jangle?

message 16: by MJ (new) - rated it 5 stars

MJ Nicholls Paul wrote: "Jangle?"

Filigree and Shadow was the one.

Edward What a great lyrical description of PICKWICK PAPERS. "Bucolic idylls" and
"dark turns", along with a suggestion of the historical context, past and present, too, reminded me of why I liked the Pickwickian sketches so much. Thanks!

message 18: by MJ (new) - rated it 5 stars

MJ Nicholls Thanks, Edward. I'm not sure what that gabble about the middle classes has to do with Pickwick per se, but it certainly filled the space. This novel made me a Dickens convert.

back to top