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The Great Winglebury Duel

3.09  ·  Rating details ·  411 ratings  ·  51 reviews
'Desperate-minded villain!'

Two of Dickens' hilarious early stories from Sketches by Boz: 'The Great Winglebury Duel' and 'Bloomsbury Christening'

Introducing Little Black Classics: 80 books for Penguin's 80th birthday. Little Black Classics celebrate the huge range and diversity of Penguin Classics, with books from around the world and across many centuries. They take us
Paperback, Little Black Classics #37, 56 pages
Published February 26th 2015 by Penguin Classics (first published 1839)
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Average rating 3.09  · 
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Sean Barrs
I love some of Dickens’ novels, but I absolutely hated these two short stories. They are so boring and painfully uninteresting in thier density; I really struggled with both and just couldn’t get into the plots. Only because this was written by Dickens did I try to read each story multiple times, but it made no difference as I had the same reaction each time. These stories are just awful and unapproachable.

If you’ve not read any Dickens then do not start here because there enough to put a reade
Joey Woolfardis
[First read: 7th July, 2015. 3 stars.
Second read: 16th March, 2016. 3 stars.]

Charles Dickens was a 19th Century English writer who wrote 15 novels and hundreds of short stories. He was also keen on social commentary and worked hard to show the poor conditions that working class people suffered, especially in London and the North-West.

This Little Black Classics contains two short stories that he wrote under his pseudonym of Boz, and can be found in Sketches by Boz. If you've never read any Dick
Jul 18, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is composed of two short stories.

1# Story – The Great Winglebury Duel – It was a story about mistaken identity and with humour within it, something I wasn’t expecting but this made it all the more enjoyable to read.

2# Story – The Steam Excursion - It is about a law student, who proceeds on a steamship excursion.
I really enjoyed this, no surprise there since it's Dickens. Although, I do wish we could have had more room for character development...the one thing that's hard to capture in short stories!
"- impudence and the marvellous are sure passports to any society."
- Charles Dickens, "The Steam Excursion"


Vol N° 37 of my Penguin Little Black Classics Box Set. This book contains two, early short stories by Dickens that appeared in Sketches by Boz:

1. The Great Winglebury Duel - ★★★
2. The Steam Excursion - ★★★★

They were actually both quite enjoyable, and showed some early Dickens flair for narrative, characters and setting, but I just didn't think Dickens had enough room to develop these ideas
Tamsien West (Babbling Books)
I just couldn't get into these stories, found myself struggling to keep my eyes on the page. I also felt as though the stories were setting themselves up for punch lines that were over my head.

I've enjoyed other works by Dickens, but unfortunately these two stories weren't for me.
Nick Phillips
Oct 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Having spent much of the past year or so reading Dostoyevsky, Zola and Tolstoy it seemed about time to get stuck in to some of the British classics that have so far passed me by. Having recently started Dickens' Great Expectations I thought that I'd actually go one step back and read a couple of his very early short stories. Both of these stories were originally published in 1836 and they show a writer emerging, just as the world around him is modernising. In these he captures the end of Hanover ...more
May 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is my second foray into the world of Dickens and I must say it has been a pleasure beyond measure. Many nay sayers have given it one star which is a shame, Dickens fabulous wordplay and skill make him a master of his craft. Even these early works show us what will evolve into his well known masterpieces there is nothing dull here whatsoever.
The title story is an amusing piece of wit involving letters being ascribed to the wrong person, characters who are described in the way that his unique
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
If you like short humorous stories involving sugar mamas, toy boys, incompetent mayors, and the gentry acting in a most ridiculous manner – then this one’s for you.

Written in 1836, The Great Winglebury duel begins with the arrival of a Mr Trott into the town of Winglebury, where he is presented with a letter requesting his presence at a duel at dawn by a Mr Hunter (their squabble is, of course, over a woman).

The letter signs off with the following delightful quip:

‘You had better not order you
Jul 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
After Great Expectations and this I have come to the conclusion that Dickens is simply not for me. I'm still willing to be persuaded to try another of his novels but I'm very wary now (I do feel bad about it though!).
I am way behind on my classics and I am willing to admit it. This means so far, I had not read much of Charles Dickens besides A Christmas Carol. This edition contains two short stories, and they were quite nice but lacked something. Maybe, because the typical social criticism was largely absent, it felt like something was missing. While I haven't read enough of his work, this seems like a rather odd start if you are new to Charles Dickens.

~Little Black Classics #37~
Apr 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two short comedic stories. The first The Great Winglebury Duel is about a coward trying to avoid a duel. Mistaken identity and people who are not very likable with an amusing if misogynistic ending.

The Steam Excursion about a disastrous pleasure trip on the Thames was amusing but no real plot. The characters were interesting and the fake Captain and battle between the two families of who is the most unlikeable.
Liz Janet
Dec 20, 2015 rated it did not like it
Katie Wood
Mar 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
really liked the first story, very Dickens-esque. the second one I enjoyed a lot less.
Aug 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
Heads up! There's a one sentence tl;dr at the end of this review.

In a time before our present, in the land of England which was ruled by the honorable Victoria, queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and from 1876 additionally known as the Empress of India, there lived a man known by many for his famous works; initially serialized and then later published independently; as Mr. Charles Dickens, who was remarkable in himself for being of little social standing and yet making for
Apr 04, 2019 rated it liked it
In this Penguin Classics series, The Great Wingleburry Duel consist of two short stories, first the title itself and the second, The Steam Excursion. Dickens is one of the greatest authors, but I think if you haven’t read any Dickens work, this one won’t steal your attention right away—that’s what happen to me. In both short stories, the plots are okay, flowing smoothly, the characters are okay too, but not really strong that they are easily forgotten. In short, this book is easy to read, but no ...more
Mar 24, 2015 rated it liked it
The first story The Great Winglebury Duel was definitely my favourite out of the two, a story about mistaken identity. I loved the humour that Dickens brought to this story which wasn't something I was expecting but it made it all the more enjoyable.

The Steam Excursion was a bit dull I have to admit and I guess I was expecting these to both be dull, and so at least I was right with this one. I couldn't get into it as much as I did with the first story, and no doubt I'll feel the same when I work
May 05, 2015 rated it liked it
So the book is a collection of two short stories.
Didn't like the first one. The writing was dense and not at all gripping.
The second one was quite the contradictory. Vivid characters, Simplistic setting, Fast paced, and has that Dickens' element in the writing.
Overall, I enjoyed it.
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
"The Great Winglebury Duel", the first story included in this book, was intriguing and very entertaining. (4.5 stars)
The second story, "The Steam Excursion" was fun, but without any plot and I liked it less. (3 stars)
Mar 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
With resolutions only dreamed fo in Victorian society, this is a succinct taster of Dickens, without the necessity of reading several hundred pages to reach a (most likely) similar ending. ;)
Robin Dawes
Jul 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
The title story is excellent - the second story ("Steam Excursion") is weaker.
Jan 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: charles-dickens
Once again this is my first Charles Dickens Story but I really like it
Apr 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Fun little story from Dickens.
Luke Bennion
Sep 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
I am fairly sure that Charles Dickens is not for everyone; of what I am certain, however, is that Charles Dickens is definitely not for me. This paperback, which collects The Great Winglebury Duel and The Steam Excursion is laborious at best. Each page is a chore, and leads nowhere interesting. I'm sure this means something to someone out there - Dickens is one of the most famous literary names of all time, and his fame (I am fairly certain) is unlikely to be based on his inadequacies as a write ...more
Nov 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, short-story
Hmm. It is always difficult rating a collection of short stories - even if there are only two short stories in the collection.

The first story, 'The Great Winglebury Duel' was light and fun. It is a tale about mistaken identity. It is unrealistically simple in its outcome, but an entertaining read for the 10 minutes it took.
The second story, 'The Steam Excursion' was less appealing in my opinion. It is a quick tale of a party on a boat where everything went wrong. I can't say the characters inter
Gabor Hernadi
Jun 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Two early short stories from Dickens. The first, based on a classic misunderstanding is an entertaining one, but the second, describing a boat ride and ithe organisation of it, simply boring. I understand well, that Dickens wanted to write a satire about the rich, but hard to enjoy something when basically nothing happening over 25 pages.
Oct 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: literature
Great little book to read on your commute. Two short stories full of Dickensian brilliance. Maybe showing their age a bit but who wouldn’t like to be transported to Victorian Britain even if it is only for the time it takes to travel from Bromley to Victoria....
Dec 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
I’ve neglected Dickens for a long time now, for no good reason. Although these stories were bland, I always appreciate Dickens’s artful command of syntax. In 2018 I will definitely pick up some more of Charles Dickens!
Felt like these stories could have been much better than they were. Kept reading just because it is Dickens, but although there were funny moments in both of them, I didn't really think they were particularly memorable or entertaining.
Confused between giving this a 2.5 or 3. The stories aren't bad. They are well written and at times humorous too. But the endings aren't very satisfying. But as far as short stories go these were nice. So for now I'll leave the rating as is.
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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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