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Nicholas Nickleby

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  41,110 ratings  ·  1,638 reviews
'I shall never regret doing as I have—never, if I starve or beg in consequence'

When Nicholas Nickleby is left penniless after his father's death, he appeals to his wealthy uncle to help him find work and to protect his mother and sister. But Ralph Nickleby proves both hard-hearted and unscrupulous, and Nicholas finds himself forced to make his own way in the world. His
Paperback, 817 pages
Published 2003 by Penguin (first published 1839)
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Greg Yes, but it's mostly in a humorous mode. This book is often outrageous in its portrayal of characters.…moreYes, but it's mostly in a humorous mode. This book is often outrageous in its portrayal of characters.(less)

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Average rating 3.92  · 
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Bionic 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
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Charles Dickens

The novel centers on the life and adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, a young man who must support his mother and sister after his father dies. Nicholas Nickleby's father dies unexpectedly after losing all of his money in a poor investment.

Nicholas, his mother and his younger sister, Kate, are forced to give up their comfortable lifestyle in Devonshire and travel to London to seek the aid of their only relative, Nicholas's uncle, Ralph N
Reading Dickens is like taking a deep breath of air, feeling life in its most vivid form!

Being completely faithless and illoyal, I will now dump all previous Dickens novels and claim with brutal inconsistency that Nicholas Nickleby is my favourite!

Yes, I know! I have said it before, and I am likely to say it again, knowing human nature in its most Dickensian expressions. But Nicholas really is my “Now Time Favourite”.

I should like to state my case, as it would be very un-Dickensian of me not to
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“In journeys, as in life, it is a great deal easier to go down hill than up.”
Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby
Often sidelined by both critics and multimedia this work of utter genius is my all-time favourite Dickens. Full of darkly comedic antagonists, as well as a raft of fully realised supporting characters, this work feels like Dickens unleashed. I recommend this is read after reading some of the so called greats like Oliver Twist and Great Expectations, to see just what a genius piece of wo
Glenn Sumi
Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: before-1900, classics
Was there ever a novelist with a bigger heart than Charles Dickens?

This is the sixth Dickens book I’ve read (including the novella A Christmas Carol ). And, like most of his other works, it’s expansive, bursting with all manner of incident and life. Some of that life, mind you, goes ON AND ON. And a few scenes about social graces/manners might need explaining to a contemporary reader. But the overall effect, if you ignore the repetition, is absorbing and very satisfying.

Just as we binge-wat
Jul 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brittish-lit
The third book of Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby has some marked differences from the other Dickens books I've read. Except Oliver Twist, which I've read as a teen, I haven't read any early work by Dickens, a work written in his youth. So Nicholas Nickleby was a welcoming change and an opportunity to see a different side of Dickens.

The original title The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby pretty well sums up the story. Yes, it is about Nicholas, an honest, trusting, good-natured, an
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
"No dark sarcasm in the classroom....
If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding!"
Pink Floyd, "Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2"

I delight in Dickens' class humor/social satire and irony. Nicholas Nickleby was his third novel, right after Oliver Twist. This novel is lighter than Twist but nearly as influential in pressuring changes to English society in the mid-1800s. Here, Dickens' target was an abusive all-male boarding school in Yorkshire. In researching for this novel, Dickens made
Jun 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
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,
I'm glad that Classics Corner at Constant Reader elected to read NN for its April book as I've intended for a while to return to my goal of reading as many of Dickens' books as possible over time. And I was not disappointed with this book. While not as developed as later works, it introduces familiar themes, settings, character types, etc.

further review to come...
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I’m really not sure why I like Dickens so much. He is predictable, there will be coincidences that could never happen in the real world, and in the end everyone will get their just deserts except for the poor, sad creature who is destined to see heaven ahead of his time. Ah, but he does it with so much style and panache. He creates characters you are seldom ambivalent about, dastardly villains you can feel no compassion for, and good people who restore your faith in humanity.

In Nicholas Nickleby
Jan 15, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2nd reading

I wouldn’t have chosen this Dickens to reread but for recently joining a local group (The Dickens Fellowship of New Orleans). The reread was certainly worth it and not only for the convivial fellowship of the monthly meetings. (How can you go wrong with cheese and cakes being offered, and tea and sometimes wine being poured?) Sure, there were the somewhat annoying coincidences, melodrama, blushing love interests and meaningless side-plots (and I don’t mean at the meetings), all true t
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well, fan my brow. I’ve been wandering around this world for years, telling anyone who will listen that my favourite Dickens novel is David Copperfield , with conviction which cannot be rivalled. I’m all a-flutter now Nickleby has come along and knocked Copperfield from the top spot.

What an absolute triumph this novel is. All of my favourite Dickens staples are firmly present - Victorian social customs, comedy, villains, tragedy, debtors, and drunks. There’s plenty of heartbreak and injustice
Why classify this novel in children's literature? I am not convinced that this is the category that corresponds. It took me a while to get into this novel because we do not understand the style right away. Will there be several adventures utterly independent of each other? As the chapters read, since in the end, they are chapters, we realize that there will be a continuous story and that all these little adventures lead to a final scene. Characters continually added and it is not always easy to ...more
Paul E. Morph
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
What can I say? This is Dickens at his best and the master certainly doesn't need MY recommendation! Suffice it to say that Simon Vance's narration does justice to the material making this an excellent choice for any audiobook reader with an ear for the classics.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
'Sex! Drugs! Rock 'n' Roll! None of them are in this film but watch it anyway!'

Any additional comments?
Apologies fo
Jan 13, 2018 rated it liked it
After his father dies, Nicholas Nickleby must go to work to support his mother and sister. The family is at the mercy of the "wicked uncle." Nicholas, at Ralph's arrangement, takes a position with Dothebys, a boarding school run by Mr. Squeers. Squeers and his equally corrupt wife regularly abuse the boys in their charge. After an incident, Nicholas leaves for London, being joined by Smike, one of the older boys. Newman Noggs, an employee of Ralph Nickleby,delivers a message to Nicholas. Life, l ...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
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
Jan 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Spoilers. Do not read if you fear them.

I think that this is the most satisfying of Dickens's novels.

But then, I say that about all of his novels, after each re-read. Except for Martin Chuzzlewit. : /

Dickens is one writer I'll probably never review, because my reviews would be longer than the novels, so multi-layered as they are.

The most satisfying scene:

It was one of the brimstone-and-treacle mornings, and Mrs. Squeers had entered school according to custom with the large bowl and spoon, follo
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

“Happiness is a gift and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes.”

I will never tire of reading Dickens. Although a bit wordy and long-winded at times, I have not found his equal in irony and wit. There is an underlying sarcasm in these books that make them a joy to read. I know that sounds incongruous, but to me, it just is. This story of a boy and his sister, who are left by a loving but destitute father, demonstrates the power of providence in the lives of
Sep 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best author's best book ever-read it slowly as you would a fine wine. ...more
Tristram Shandy
Sep 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
“[… 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

Nicholas Nickleby is primarily about family relationships -from parent/child relationships, to siblings, and even extended family members - uncles, aunts, cousins, et al. Charles Dickens paints a wide panorama in this story of familial relationships and how formative they are to an individual's physical, emotional, and psychological well-being. He effectively illustrates just how very important a parent's love and support is to a child.

Charles Dickens was always the champion for the dow
Jul 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 kinds ...more
Dec 29, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: classics
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
Oct 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: floor-joists
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.
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Will review later.
Jonathan Terrington
"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
Jun 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
You guys should know by now that I'm a tragic Dickens fangirl. I've been obsessed with the dude's writing since I was ten. I passed Dickens Trash status many a long year ago. Nicholas Nickleby isn't one of my favourites, and it took me a solid week to get through it. But it's still definitely worth a regular reread.

Nicholas as a character is kind of a pain. He clearly has anger management issues, and yet everyone fawns over him. Madeline is almost non-existent on the page, and yet we're suppose
Jul 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Nicholas Nickleby was the second Dickens novel I ever read; now many many years ago. Oliver Twist was the first. I liked OT but after reading NN I fell in love with Dickens. I have since read many others by Dickens but this one will hold that special place in my heart. I have increased my original 4-star rating to 5 stars due to the memories this one brings to me.
There is comedy, pathos, tragedy, and finally a semi righting of the wrongs of society and man. This was one of Dickens' earlier works
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Reading 1001: The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby - Charles Dickens 3 17 Sep 09, 2019 06:52PM  
Reading 1001: Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens 4 11 Sep 09, 2019 06:01PM  
Goodreads Librari...: This topic has been closed to new comments. No Page Count 6 23 Mar 23, 2019 10:56AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Add authors 3 14 Feb 10, 2019 08:40AM  
The Old Curiosity...: NN, Chp. 11-15 77 17 Nov 27, 2018 03:19PM  
The Old Curiosity...: NN, Chp. 51-55 70 11 Nov 27, 2018 01:19PM  
The Old Curiosity...: NN, Chp. 01-05 93 23 Nov 27, 2018 01:02PM  

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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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