Charles DickensISBN: 0-19-281676-4;
`Martin Chuzzlewit`, the most ambitious of Dickens`s early novels in general purpose and design, was praised by his biographer Forster as `going deeper into springs of character` than ever before. The `commonest of all the vices`, Selfishness, isdisplayed in a variety of aspects: not least by contrast with the unfailingly cheerful and self-denying Mark Tapley, who accompanies young Martin on his voyage of self-discovery in America. The controversial American scenes, in the author`s words, `made them all stark staring raving mad across the water`. Of more permanent value is the brilliant comedy in the persons of Mr Pecksniff and Mrs Gamp; the latter was hailed as outshining even Shakespeare`s Nurse in `Romeo and Juliet`. In the highly topicalstory of the Anglo-Bengalee swindle Dickens`s never-failing fascination with crime finds effective scope. Jonas Chuzzlewit is a study of a murderer worthy to be set alongside the figures of Bill Sikes and Bradley Headstone. This...
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