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The Pickwick Papers

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  25,572 ratings  ·  1,818 reviews
Few first novels have created as much popular excitement as The Pickwick Papers–-a comic masterpiece that catapulted its 24-year-old author to immediate fame. Readers were captivated by the adventures of the poet Snodgrass, the lover Tupman, the sportsman Winkle &, above all, by that quintessentially English Quixote, Mr Pickwick, & his cockney Sancho Panza, Sam Weller. Fro ...more
Paperback, 801 pages
Published February 24th 2000 by Penguin Classics (first published 1837)
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S.n. Jarvis There is no novel in the world like The Pickwick Papers. When you reach the last page, you feel like you have travelled a long way, in the company of …moreThere is no novel in the world like The Pickwick Papers. When you reach the last page, you feel like you have travelled a long way, in the company of Mr Pickwick and his friends, and the beginning of the book seems an eternity ago. No novel I have read has so many characters, and so many varied scenes. It is, in a way, more of a library than a single book. And here is the thing: it is perhaps the only novel in the world that could inspire ANOTHER novel to be written about its extraordinary origins and history. And - ahem! - I am the author of that novel, which will be coming out later this year. If you are interested, check out the website:

Best wishes

Stephen Jarvis(less)

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Vit Babenco
Apr 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Pickwick Papers was the first novel by Charles Dickens but I’ve read it last. I was always afraid to start but once I did it proved to be a real pageturner for me.
There sat the man who had traced to their source the mighty ponds of Hampstead, and agitated the scientific world with his Theory of Tittlebats, as calm and unmoved as the deep waters of the one on a frosty day, or as a solitary specimen of the other in the inmost recesses of an earthen jar.

The peculiar and effervescent sense of hu
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club = The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens

The Pickwick Papers was Charles Dickens's first novel. He was asked to contribute to the project as an up-and-coming writer following the success of Sketches by Boz, published in 1836.

The novel's main character, Samuel Pickwick, Esquire, is a kind and wealthy old gentleman, the founder and perpetual president of the Pickwick Club. To extend his researches into the quaint and curious phenomena of life, he suggests
Always Pouting
Oh god this was such a long read, the problem is I didn't realize going into it that Charles Dickens originally published this as a series over time and so I read the whole freaking thing at once and honestly there's only so much of this one can read at once and still enjoy. The writing itself was really good and Dickens is really witty. I found all of it really funny and amusing and I see why people would have liked it. I don't think I myself could enjoy it as much because it just felt like a T ...more
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: charles-dickens
Same procedure as last year, Mr Dickens?

Same procedure as every year, My Dear Reader!

Well, then. I officially declare the December Dickens challenge completed, and according to tradition, The Most Recently Read Dickens knocks the Previous Favourite off the pedestal.

As always, the Dickensian spirit manifests itself mainly in the minor characters and the villains. I would give my soul (to the care of a trustworthy person of Mr Pickwick's calibre, under no circumstances to lawyers like Dodson and
Bionic Jean
Have you read The Pickwick Papers? It does seem to be the one work by Charles Dickens which is sadly neglected by many readers.

"The Pickwick Papers" was originally published in 19 monthly magazine instalments, from March 1836 to October 1837, this last being a double issue. They were then reissued in a volume as The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club in 1839 when Dickens was still only 25. They comprise humorous sketches, themselves interspersed with incidental tales, such as "The Goblins w
Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
“what was over couldn't be begun, and what couldn't be cured must be endured;”
― Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers


This book morphed a couple times in my brain. It started off a bit uneven, filled with vignettes and sketches that seemed to anticipate the later genius of Dickens and even presented several shadows of future books and stories. After 100 pages I figured I would have another 700 pages of various Pickwick club digressions. There would be interesting characters (Sam Weller, Alfred
MJ Nicholls
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-bed ...more
Mar 21, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic
The well penned chronicles of the members of the Pickwick Club… a steady stream of comedy, intrigue, dalliances, crime, debtors prisons and love… a truly astounding feat for a first novel, but Charles Dickens did go on to write so much more, so just a Three Star read for me. 5 out of 12. I was probably disadvantaged having read the likes of Little Dorrit and Nicholas Nickleby amongst others, prior to reading this.
I read this out in the garden, of the small house my parents bought before buying an even smaller one in a moderately more expensive street, anyhow I sat in a broad bottomed wicker chair beneath a flowering jasmine bush(view spoiler), one summer many years ago. It was the first book by Dickens that I enjoyed ...more
Dec 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Pickwick Papers promised heft. Weighing in at 900 pages and larded with indices and erudite observations, the project promised muscle training, if nothing else. The serial natural of the narrative and general zany approach was also apprehended. I simply wasn't prepared, however, for Sam Weller. Oh lord, he may be my favorite character in recent memory. I wasn't prepared for such. I was expecting tales of the idle and curious confronting rural and proletarian situations, if only for hilarity ...more
Cindy Newton
I'm sure that nothing I say here has not already been said, but here goes. This is the most light-hearted Dickens' I've read thus far, although there are hints and glimpses of his social activism to be found. This is his first novel, and you can see the seeds of who he will become already sprouting. It is amazing to read this and realize that he wrote this when he was 24. 24!!! Besides his youth, the method of writing is very limiting--he writes this in serial form, so each installment leaves hi ...more
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's over, and can't be helped, they always say in Turkey when they cut the wrong man's head off."
“She dotes on poetry, sir. She adores it; I may say that her whole soul and mind are wound up, and entwined with it. She has produced some delightful pieces, herself, sir. You may have met with her 'Ode to an Expiring Frog,' sir.”

“Can I view thee panting, lying
On thy stomach, without sighing;
Can I unmoved see thee dying
On a log
Expiring frog!”

I agree generally with my Goodreads friends' rev
Barry Pierce
Who needs a plot when you have wit?! This is less a novel more a series of continued vignettes disguised as a narrative, and I really liked it. It's essentially "Three Men in a Boat" but 950 pages long. ...more
aPriL does feral sometimes
Gorgeous writing lifts 'The Pickwick Papers' into an upper stratosphere! It isn't often a farce gets five stars from me. This may be Charles Dickens' first novel, built out of a newspaper serial, but there is nothing here to indicate to me that Dickens was struggling to find his voice! He comes out of the gate full speed! Everything which has most critics adoring his later books is here: social satire, a comprehensive set of lively and memorable contemporary 19th-century comical and lovable char ...more
4.5 Stars

My second novel this year by Dickens, the first was David Copperfield, and I've also read three short stories. For a guy who spent his life scared to even try a novel written by Dickens, I've read a bunch over the last few years. I hope to live long enough to read all of his works.

As for Pickwick, I enjoyed it, a lot. I may just be me and again It haven't read all of his work, but it seems that he was testing the waters for future plots and characters. Anyway this was a great way to fin
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brit-lit
It has been quite some time since a book made me laugh out loud. Charles Dickens' Pickwick Papers, or more properly The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, did so again and again. The book arose from Dickens' engagement to provide descriptions to accompany a series of comic prints in the popular genre of the picture novel. Dickens' captions grew into serialized articles which appeared in nineteen installments over twenty months during 1836-37. They were then compiled into his first novel and ...more
Jan 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mttbr-2012
I found this while clearing out the cellar. The price inside the front cover is one pound seventy five, and there's a card inside from an antiquarian bookshop in St Andrews. I have zero recall of buying it, although I do remember visits to St Andrews, and losing one daughter in the haar at the beach. Luckily it was the sensible daughter, not inclined to panic.

"The Biographical Edition, edited by Arthur Waugh, father of Evelyn Waugh, with his introduction in each volume. Waugh had been appointed
Avery America
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm not yet finished with this book, but I can say with certitude that it's one of my favorite works by Dickens. Everything in the book - the hustle and bustle of 19th-century English life, the silly adventures experienced by the company, and the close-knit friendships between the characters, is so artfully done for a first novel that it makes for wonderful reading again and again.

I find the four Pickwickians to be so closely intertwined in their escapades that it warms one's heart just to read
Jun 25, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
Dickens' first novel shows his comic gift and knack for character development. Really a string of connected episodes rather than a complex novel as he later created, this is still an enjoyable romp.

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
Blaine DeSantis
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book and am now proud to proclaim myself a Pickwickian!! For years I shied away from Dickens and his novels. But a few years ago I began with A Tale of Two Cities and loved it, despite its overuse of commas and semi-colons! So I decided to give Dickens a try and bought the first five of his novels in paperback form and his entire collection on Kindle. For a year the books just sat on the shelf and stared at me, as did books by Victor Hugo and Dumas. I kept saying I was going to star ...more
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Utterly delightful! I knew nothing about this book except it was about something called The Pickwick Club, and is alluded to in other books, like The Hiding Place and Little Women. But I recently decided that I should really read Dickens' other books, since I do enjoy Great Expectations and A Christmas Carol so much!

There's not really a plot here, but what there is is a gentleman traveling around England, making friends and enemies, and giving us a look into English society at the time: lawsuit
Jun 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I wish I had gotten around to reading Charles Dickens before my English teacher did, because I have spent most of my life erroneously believing that I loathed the author, only to force myself recently into reading through his work in chronological order and discovering that I LOVE Charles Dickens.

Seriously, this book is terrible on a technical level, having a plot which wanders all over the place, characters doing a lot of mundane things like eating, going hunting, telling stories which have not
Sep 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: charles-dickens
I began reading this hilariously comical,slapstick,humorous book just after 1am New Years day. (I had been chomping at the bit to start it and it didn't disappoint.)
All month I have read every day 2 chapters and made notes of what happened in most, and nearly every day I have had a smile on my face.
The first day I was taken by a description of Mr Pickwicks apparel...I love this description in the opening few pages that "Pickwicks tights and gaiters if they had been on an ordinary man' would have
Roy Lotz
Jan 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
“It’s always best on these occasions to do what the mobs do.”
“But suppose there are two mobs?” suggested Mr. Snodgrass.
“Shout with the largest,” replied Mr. Pickwick.

This is a tough book to review, because it doesn’t seem to need one. The Pickwick Papers is, for the most part, a silly, uncomplicated, and enjoyable novel. His first book, Charles Dickens wrote it at the ripe old age of twenty-four, when most of us are hardly prepared to read a book of this length, much less write one. Dickens
Duffy Pratt
Apr 25, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: classic
This book caused a huge sensation when it first appeared in serialization. I'm at a loss. It makes me wonder whether people in Victorian England had anything to do.

I initially tried to read this along the serialization schedule, finishing several chapters a month. That didn't work out. Ordinarily, that plan fails because I can't wait to rush ahead. Here, the problem was that nothing was luring me back to this book, and I happily read other things I found more interesting and entertaining. But, I
Douglas Wilson
Oct 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, classics
Okay, so I have a confession to make. I have never really read any Dickens. Some of my family were big into him, but I never got around to it. I may have read A Christmas Carol some time, but don't think that counts. At any rate, one of my projects consists of always reading some Chesterton, and as it happened, I am now reading Chesterton's collection of pieces on Dickens. So Chesterton convinced me that I needed to read some Dickens, and so I chose Pickwick. I enjoyed it as I went, and by the e ...more
Jan 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
great humerous portrait of victorian society, not a book if you're in your 20s but if you're in your 40s you will definitely enjoy this great classic. No other author can set his characters better in scene, I had to laugh about the names of the characters and the adventures they faced... magnificent, afterwards, please to to London... ...more
Lisa Wolf
Sep 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: classic-fiction
Done, finally! I've been on a mission to read more Dickens, and ended up reading Pickwick Papers with my book group this year. Parts are quite funny, and overall it's silly and endearing, but it lacks the deeper impact of some of his masterpieces. ...more
Paul Secor
I'm not sure what I expected when I began reading The Pickwick Papers. It turned out to be a rambling series of adventures involving a multitude of characters. It was originally published in a periodical over a period of twenty months. I decided to read it that fashion, though I only spent nine months reading it.
While reading it, I had the feeling that there were points at which Dickens could have reasonably ended the novel by tying things up. He didn't and wrote it out to the ending which was r
Charles Dickens was in his mid-20s when he wrote The Pickwick Papers. I'm in my mid-30s and I think just going to work in the morning makes me pretty successful.

Don't go into reading this as a linear novel. These are loosely-connected stories surrounding the members of the Pickwick Club. In fact, the actual title of the book is The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club containing a faithful record of the perambulations, perils, travels, adventures and sporting transactions of the corresponding
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Catching up on Cl...: Pickwick Papers, No Spoilers 54 106 Dec 21, 2020 01:00PM  
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The Old Curiosity...: Reading Schedule, and Preliminary Remarks 99 70 Nov 26, 2020 07:31AM  
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What is the funniest Dickens? 18 251 Feb 02, 2020 06:11AM  

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Charles John Huffam Dickens was a writer and social critic who 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 short stories enjoy lasting popularity.


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