Dombey and Son

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Penguin Books Limited, 2002 - Fiction - 996 pages
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Charles Dickens's Dombey and Son is a darkly witty tale of two siblings' struggle to achieve happiness in the shadow of their father's pride, edited with an introduction and notes by Andrew Sanders in Penguin Classics.

To Paul Dombey, business is all and money can do anything. He runs his family life as he runs his firm: coldly, calculatingly and commercially. The only person he cares for is his frail son, grooming him for entry into the family business; his daughter Florence, abandoned and ignored, craves affection from her unloving father, who sees her only as a 'base coin that couldn't be invested'. As Dombey's callousness extends to others - from his defiant second wife Edith, to Florence's admirer Walter Gay - he sows the seeds of his own destruction. Can this heartless businessman be redeemed? A compelling depiction of a man imprisoned by his own pride, Dombey and Son explores the devastating effects of emotional deprivation on a dysfunctional family and on society as a whole.

In his introduction, Andrew Sanders discusses the character of Paul Dombey, business and family relationships in Dombey and Son and their similarities to Dickens's own childhood. This edition also includes a chronology, further reading, appendices, notes and the original illustrations by 'Phiz'.

Charles Dickens is one of the best-loved novelists in the English language, whose 200th anniversary was celebrated in 2012. His most famous books, including Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield and The Pickwick Papers, have been adapted for stage and screen and read by millions.

If you liked Dombey and Son, you might enjoy Dickens's Martin Chuzzlewit, also available in Penguin Classics.

'There's no writing against such power as this - one has no chance'
William Makepeace Thackeray

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About the author (2002)

Charles Dickenswas born in Portsmouth on 7 February 1812, the second of eight children. Dickens's childhood experiences were similar to those depicted in David Copperfield. His father, who was a government clerk, was imprisoned for debt and Dickens was briefly sent to work in a blacking warehouse at the age of twelve. He received little formal education, but taught himself shorthand and became a reporter of parliamentary debates for the Morning Chronicle. He began to publish sketches in various periodicals, which were subsequently republished as Sketches by Boz. The Pickwick Paperswas published in 1836-7, after a slow start it became a publishing phenomenon and Dickens's characters the centre of a popular cult. Part of the secret of his success was the method of cheap serial publication he adopted; thereafter, all Dickens's novels were first published in serial form. He began Oliver Twistin 1837, followed by Nicholas Nickleby(1838) and The Old Curiosity Shop(1840-41). After finishing Barnaby Rudge(1841) Dickens set off for America; he went full of enthusiasm for the young republic but, in spite of a triumphant reception, he returned disillusioned. His experiences are recorded in American Notes(1842). A Christmas Carol, the first of the hugely popular Christmas Books, appeared in 1843, while

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