David Copperfield is the eighth novel by Charles Dickens. The novel's full title is The Personal . At the end of the book, David encounters him in prison, convicted of attempting to defraud the Bank of England. After completing school, David. Now a grown man, David Copperfield tells the story of his youth. As a young boy, he lives happily with his mother and his nurse, Peggotty. His father died before. David Copperfield book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. David Copperfield is the story of a young man's adventures on.
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Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. No cover available. Download; Bibrec. Sign me up to get more news about Classics books. Please make But, it may be Dickens's most autobiographical novel, David Copperfield is a work of fiction. Download free eBooks of classic literature, books and novels at Planet eBook. have fallen on these leaves of David Copperfield, and made me happy. London.
In such passages, which punctuate the retrospective chapters, the relived moment replaces the lived, the historical present seals the collapse of the original experience and the recreation of a here and now that seizes the entire field of consciousness.
Without being Dickens, this narrator, Copperfield, is very like him and often becomes his spokesperson. It adds to his point of view, directly or indirectly, that of the author, without there necessarily being total match between the two. As such, Copperfield serves as "medium", mirror and also screen, Dickens sometimes subverting his speech to get to the forefront or, on the contrary, hide behind this elegant delegate to the nimble pen.
Dickens' voice, however, is in general well concealed and, according to Gareth Cordery, the most difficult to detect because mostly present by implication. For example, in chapter 21, the two friends arrive by surprise at the Peggotty home, and Copperfield presents Steerforth to Emily at the very moment when her betrothal with Ham has just been announced.
This sudden intrusion stops the girl as she has just jumped from Ham's arms to nestle in those of Mr Peggotty, a sign, says Cordery in passing, that the promise of marriage is as much for the uncle as for the nephew. The text remains brief but Phiz interprets, anticipates the events, denounces even the future guilt of Copperfield: Copperfield, dressed as a gentleman, stands in the doorway, one finger pointing at Steerforth who is taller by one head, the other measuring the gap between Ham and Dan Peggotty, as if offering Emily to his friend.
Emily, meanwhile, still has her head turned to Ham but the body is withdrawn and the look has become both challenging and provocative. Phiz brings together in a single image a whole bunch of unwritten information, which Dickens approved and probably even suggested. A third perspective is the point of view of the discerning reader who, although generally carried away by sympathy for the narrator's self-interested pleading, does not remain blissfully ignorant and ends up recognizing the faults of the man and of the writer, just as he also learns to identify and gauge the covert interventions of the author.
The discerning reader listens to the adult Copperfield and hears what this adult wants or does not want them to hear. So, when Dora dies, the reader sees that the topic of grief is dropped in a hurry, as if Copperfield had more important things to do than to indulge in sorrow: Copperfield also examines some of his most culpable weaknesses, such as unconscious connivance his "own unconscious part" in the defilement of the Peggotty home by Steerforth, which he remains forever incapable of opposing: These underground currents are thus revealed in David's psychological struggle, Gareth Cordery concludes, currents that his narrative unconsciously attempts to disguise.
The story is a road from which different paths leave. The road is that of David's life, the main plot; the branches are born of meetings with him and lead to several secondary intrigues taken more or less far along. Each is represented by an important figure: Mr Micawber, Steerforth, little Emily, Uriah Heep; there are side stories, that of Martha Endell, Rosa Dartle, and, along the main road, stretch some parallel paths on which the reader is from time to time invited: The different tracks do not move away from the main avenue, and when they do, a narrative "forceps" brings them together again.
Hence the retrospective chapters and the ultimate recapitulation were written. The narrative is, indeed, linear in appearance, as it should be in its traditional first-person form.
It covers the narrator's entire life, at least until the day he decides to put an end to his literary endeavor. However, whole sections of his life are summarized in a few paragraphs, or sometimes just a sentence or two, indicating that three or ten years have passed, or that Dora is dead, necessary to keep the story moving along.
Thus, the long stay of reflection in Switzerland which leads to the recognition of love for Agnes, or the lapse of time before the final chapter, are all blanks in the story.
Besides the hero, this story concerns important secondary characters such as Mr Micawber or Uriah Heep, or Betsey Trotwood and Traddles, the few facts necessary for a believable story are parsimoniously distilled in the final chapters: As such, the epilogue that represents the last chapter Ch 64 is a model of the genre, a systematic review, presumably inspired by his memory, without true connection.
There is the desire to finish with each one, with forced exclamations and ecstatic observations, scrolling through the lives of those who are frozen in time: Dick with his "Memorial" and his kite, Dr Strong and his dictionary, and as a bonus, the news of David's "least child", which implies that there have been other children between him and eldest child Agnes of whom the reader has never heard by name.
So also goes the story of Dan Peggotty relating the sad tale of his niece. The four chapters called "Retrospect" Ch 18 A Retrospect, Ch 43 Another Retrospect, Ch 53 Another Retrospect and Ch 64 A Last Retrospect are placed at strategic moments of the general discourse, which play a catch-up role more than one of meditation by the narrator, without venturing into event details.
Here, the narration has disappeared, it has given way to a list, an enumeration of events. Dickens' approach, as shown in David Copperfield , does not escape what fr: Georges Gusdorf calls "the original sin of autobiography", that is to say a restructuring a posteriori and in this, paradoxically, it demonstrates its authenticity. It is a succession of autonomous moments which do not end up amalgamating in a coherent whole and that connect the tenuous thread of the "I" recognizing each other.
In this reconstruction, one part of truth and the other of poetry, the famous Dichtung und Wahrheit From my Life: Poetry and Truth; — , autobiography of Goethe , there is the obligatory absence of objectivity, the promotion of oblivion as an integral part of memory, the ruling power of the subjectivity of time found.
Thus, to use George Gusdorf's words again, David Copperfield appears as a "second reading of a man's experience", in this case, Charles Dickens, when he reached the fullness of his career, tried to give "a meaning to his legend". This novel's main theme arises from the fact that it is a bildungsroman , a literary genre that focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood, which is common in Dickens's novels,  and in which character change is extremely important.
Other important themes relate especially to Dickens's social concerns, and his desire for reform.
This includes the plight of so-called 'fallen women', and prostitutes, as well as the attitude of middle-class society to these women; the status of women in marriage; the rigid class structure; the prison system; educational standards, and emigration to the colonies of what was becoming the British Empire. The latter was a way for individuals to escape some of the rigidity of British society and start anew.
Some of these subjects are directly satirized, while others are worked into the novel in more complex ways by Dickens.
Copperfield's path to maturity is marked by the different names assigned to him: It is by writing his own story, and giving him his name in the title, that Copperfield can finally assert who he is. In fact, David's life is in a way a series of lives, each one in radical disjunction from what follows, writes Paul Davis. For example, in Chapter 17, while attending Canterbury School, he met Mr Micawber at Uriah Heep's, and a sudden terror gripped him that Heep could connect him, such as he is today, and the abandoned child who lodged with the Micawber family in London.
So many mutations indicate the name changes, which are sometimes received with relief: There is a process of forgetfulness, a survival strategy developed by memory, which poses a major challenge to the narrator; his art, in fact, depends on the ultimate reconciliation of differences in order to free and preserve the unified identity of his being a man.
David opens his story with a question: Will I be the hero of my own life? Which means that he does not know where his approach will lead him, that writing itself will be the test. As Paul Davis puts it, "In this Victorian quest narrative, the pen might be lighter than the sword, and the reader will be left to judge those qualities of the man and the writer that constitute heroism. However, question implies an affirmation: Copperfield is not always the hero of his life, and not always the hero of his story, as some characters have a stronger role than him,  Besides Steerforth, Heep, Micawber, for example, he often appears passive and lightweight.
Hence, concludes Paul Davis, the need to read his life differently; it is more by refraction through other characters that the reader has a true idea of the "hero" of the story. What do these three men reveal to him, and also to Dora, whom he marries?
The dictionary of Strong will never be completed and, as a story of a life, will end with the death of its author. As for Mr Dick, his autobiographical project constantly raises the question of whether he can transcend the incoherence and indecision of his subject-narrator.
Will he be able to take the reins, provide a beginning, a middle, an end? Will he succeed in unifying the whole, in overcoming the trauma of the past, his obsession with the decapitated royal head, so as to make sense of the present and find a direction for the future? According to Paul Davis, only does Copperfield succeeds in constructing a whole of his life, including suffering and failure, as well as successes, and that is "one measure of his heroism as a writer".
The past "speaks" especially to David, "a child of close observation" chapter 2 ; the title of this chapter is: The past tense verb is often the preterite for the narrative , and the sentences are often short independent propositions, each one stating a fact.
Admittedly, the adult narrator intervenes to qualify or provide an explanation, without, however, taking precedence over the child's vision. And sometimes, the story is prolonged by a reflection on the functioning of the memory. So, again in chapter 2, the second and third paragraphs comment on the first memory of the two beings surrounding David, his mother, and Peggotty:.
I believe I can remember these two at a little distance apart, dwarfed to my sight by stooping or kneeling on the floor, and I going unsteadily from the one to the other. I have an impression on my mind, which I cannot distinguish from actual remembrance, of the touch of Peggotty's forefinger as she used to hold it out to me, and of its being roughened by needlework, like a pocket nutmeg-grater. This may be fancy, though I think the memory of most of us can go further back into such times than many of us suppose; just as I believe the power of observation in numbers of very young children to be quite wonderful for its closeness and accuracy.
Indeed, I think that most grown men who are remarkable in this respect may with greater propriety be said not to have lost the faculty than to have acquired it; the rather, as I generally observe such men to retain a certain freshness, and gentleness, and capacity of being pleased, which are also an inheritance they have preserved from their childhood.
David thus succeeds, as George Orwell puts it, in standing "both inside and outside a child's mind",  a particularly important double vision effect in the first chapters. The perspective of the child is combined with that of the adult narrator who knows that innocence will be violated and the feeling of security broken.
Thus, even before the intrusion of Mr Murdstone as step-father or Clara's death, the boy feels "intimations of mortality". Bewitching Mrs Copperfield's incumbrance?
Somebody's sharp. I looked up quickly, being curious to know. I was quite relieved to find that it was only Brooks of Sheffield, for, at first, I really thought it was I. There seemed to be something very comical in the reputation of Mr Brooks of Sheffield, for both the gentlemen laughed heartily when he was mentioned, and Mr Murdstone was a good deal amused also.
The final blow, brutal and irremediable this time, is the vision, in chapter 9, of his own reflection in his little dead brother lying on the breast of his mother: David Copperfield is a posthumous child , that is, he was born after his father died. His first years are spent with women, two Claras, [N 8] his mother and Peggotty, which, according to Paul Davis, "undermines his sense of masculinity".
Steerforth is not mistaken, when from the outset he calls Copperfield "Daisy"—a flower of spring, symbol of innocent youth. To forge an identity as a man and learn how to survive in a world governed by masculine values, instinctively, he looks for a father figure who can replace that of the father he did not have.
Several male models will successively offer themselves to him: Mr Murdstone darkens Copperfield's life instead of enlightening him, because the principle of firmness which he champions, absolute novelty for the initial family unit, if he instills order and discipline, kills spontaneity and love. The resistance that Copperfield offers him is symbolic: Mr Murdstone thus represents the anti-father, double negative of the one of which David was deprived, model a contrario of what it is not necessary to be.
The second surrogate father is just as ineffective, although of a diametrically opposed personality: Overflowing with imagination and love, in every way faithful and devoted, inveterate optimist, he eventually becomes, in a way, the child of David who helps him to alleviate his financial difficulties. The roles are reversed and, by the absurdity, David is forced to act as a man and to exercise adult responsibilities towards him.
However, the Micawbers are not lacking in charm, the round Wilkins, of course, but also his dry wife, whose music helps her to live. New avatar of this quest, Uriah Heep is "a kind of negative mirror to David".
For David, Steerforth represents all that Heep is not: However, his failure as a model is announced well before the episode at Yarmouth where he seizes, like a thief, Little Emily before causing her loss in Italy.
He already shows himself as he is, brutal, condescending, selfish and sufficient, towards Rosa Dartle, bruised by him for life, and Mr Mell who undergoes the assaults of his cruelty.
The paradox is that even as he gauges his infamy, David remains from start to finish dazzled by Steerforth's aristocratic ascendancy, even as he contemplates him drowning on Yarmouth Beach, "lying with his head upon his arm, as I had often seen him at school".
Now consider Traddles, the anti-Steerforth, the same age as the hero, not very brilliant at school, but wise enough to avoid the manipulations to which David succumbs. His attraction for moderation and reserve assures him the strength of character that David struggles to forge.
Neither rich nor poor, he must also make a place for himself in the world, at which he succeeds by putting love and patience at the center of his priorities, the love that tempers the ambition and the patience that moderates the passion. His ideal is to achieve justice in his actions, which he ends up implementing in his profession practically. In the end, Traddles, in his supreme modesty, represents the best male model available to David.
There are others, Daniel Peggotty for example, all love and dedication, who goes in search of his lost niece and persists in mountains and valleys, beyond the seas and continents, to find her trace. Mr Peggotty is the anti-Murdstone par excellence, but his influence is rather marginal on David, as his absolute excellence, like the maternal perfection embodied by his sister Peggotty, makes him a character type more than an individual to refer to. There is also the carter Barkis, original, laconic and not without defects, but a man of heart.
He too plays a role in the personal history of the hero, but in a fashion too episodic to be significant, especially since he dies well before the end of the story.
It is true that David's personal story makes it more difficult for him to access the kind of equilibrium that Traddles presents, because it seems destined, according to Paul Davis, to reproduce the errors committed by his parents. The chapters describing their loves are among the best in the novel  because Dickens manages to capture the painful ambivalence of David, both passionately infatuated with the irresistible young woman, to whom we can only pass and forgive everything, and frustrated by his weak character and his absolute ignorance of any discipline.
For love, the supreme illusion of youth, he tries to change it, to "form her mind", which leads him to recognize that "firmness" can to be a virtue which, ultimately, he needs. However, finding himself in a community of thought, even distantly, with his hateful and cruel stepfather whom he holds responsible for the death of his mother and a good deal of his own misfortunes, it was a troubling discovery. It is his aunt Betsey who, by her character, represents the struggle to find the right balance between firmness and gentleness, rationality and empathy.
Life forced Betsey Trotwood to assume the role she did not want, that of a father, and as such she became, but in her own way, adept at steadfastness and discipline.
From an initially culpable intransigence, which led her to abandon the newborn by denouncing the incompetence of the parents not even capable of producing a girl, she finds herself gradually tempered by circumstances and powerfully helped by the "madness" of her protege, Mr Dick. He, between two flights of kites that carry away the fragments of his personal history, and without his knowing it, plays a moderating role, inflecting the rationality of his protector by his own irrationality, and his cookie-cutter judgments by considerations of seeming absurdity, but which, taken literally, prove to be innate wisdom.
In truth, Aunt Betsey, despite her stiffness and bravado, does not dominate her destiny; she may say she can do it, yet she cannot get David to be a girl, or escape the machinations of Uriah Heep any more than the money demands of her mysterious husband.
She also fails, in spite of her lucidity, her clear understanding, of the love blindness of her nephew, to prevent him from marrying Dora and in a parallel way, to reconcile the Strongs. In fact, in supreme irony, it is once again Mr Dick who compensates for his inadequacies, succeeding with intuition and instinctive understanding of things, to direct Mr Micawber to save Betsey from the clutches of Heep and also to dispel the misunderstandings of Dr Strong and his wife Annie.
As often in Dickens where a satellite of the main character reproduces the course in parallel, the story of the Strong couple develops in counterpoint that of David and Dora. While Dora is in agony, David, himself obsessed with his role as a husband, observes the Strongs who are busy unraveling their marital distress. Two statements made by Annie Strong impressed him: The second was like a flash of revelation: He concludes that in all things, discipline tempered by kindness and kindness is necessary for the equilibrium of a successful life.
Mr Murdstone preached firmness; in that, he was not wrong. Where he cruelly failed was that he matched it with selfish brutality instead of making it effective by the love of others. It is because David has taken stock of his values and accepted the painful memories of Dora's death, that he is finally ready to go beyond his emotional blindness and recognize his love for Agnes Wickfield, the one he already has called the "true heroine" of the novel to which he gives his name.
Paul Davis writes that Agnes is surrounded by an aura of sanctity worthy of a stained glass window, that she is more a consciousness or an ideal than a person, that, certainly, she brings the loving discipline and responsibility of which the hero needs, but lacks the charm and human qualities that made Dora so attractive. That said, the writer David, now David Copperfield, realised the vow expressed to Agnes when he was newly in love with Dora, in Chapter Thus, David Copperfield is the story of a journey through life and through oneself, but also, by the grace of the writer, the recreation of the tenuous thread uniting the child and the adult, the past and the present, in what Georges Gusdorf calls "fidelity to the person".
Admittedly, it is not the primary interest of David Copperfield that remains above all the story of a life told by the very one who lived it, but the novel is imbued with a dominant ideology, that of the middle class , advocating moral constancy, hard work, separate spheres for men and women, and, in general, the art of knowing one's place, indeed staying in that place.
Further, some social problems and repeated abuses being topical, Dickens took the opportunity to expose them in his own way in his fiction, and Trevor Blount, in his introduction to the edition Penguin Classics, reissued in , devotes several pages to this topic.
However, Gareth Cordery shows that behind the display of Victorian values, often hides a watermarked discourse that tends to question, test, and even subvert them. Among the social issues that David Copperfield is concerned with, are prostitution, the prison system, education, as well as society's treatment of the insane.
Dickens' views on education are reflected in the contrast he makes between the harsh treatment that David receives at at the hands of Crankle at Salem House and Dr Strong's school where the methods used inculcate honour and self—reliance in its pupils.
Through the character of "the amiable, innocent, and wise fool" Mr Dick, Dickens's "advocacy in the humane treatment of the insane" can be seen. So Betsy Trotwood, continuing Mr Dick's story in Chapter 14, stepped in to suggest that Mr Dick should be given "his little income, and come and live with" her: The employment of young children in factories and mines under harsh conditions in the early Victorian era disturbed many.
There was a series of Parliamentary enquiries into the working conditions of children, and these "reports shocked writers Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Charles Dickens.
Young David works in a factory for a while after his mother dies and his stepfather showed no interest in him. Such depictions contributed to the call for legislative reform.
Dickens satirises contemporary ideas about how prisoners should be treated in Chapter 61, 'I am Shown Two Interesting Penitents'. In this chapter, published in November , David along with Traddles is shown around a large well-built new prison, modelled on Pentonville prison built in , where a new, supposedly more humane, system of incarceration is in operation, under the management of David's former headmaster Creakle.
In the prison David and Traddles encounter 'model prisoners' 27 and 28, who they discover are Uriah Heep and Mr Littimer. Heep is seen reading a hymn book and Littimer also "walked forth, reading a good book": Both are questioned about the quality of the food and Creakle promises improvements.
Dickens ideas in this chapter were in line with Carlyle , whose pamphlet, "Model Prisons", also denounced Pentonville Prison, was published in the spring of Dickens exploration of the subject of emigration in the novel has been criticized, initially by John Forster and later by G K Chesterton. Chesterton accused Dickens of presenting emigration in an excessively optimistic light.
That Dickens believed that by sending a boatload of people overseas their 'souls' can be changed, while ignoring the fact that poor people like Peggotty have seen their home stained or, like Emily, their honour tarnished. Micawber has been broken by the English social system and his journey to the antipodes is paid for by a paragon of the Victorian bourgeoisie, Betsey Trotwood,  And he is supposed to regain control of his destiny once he has arrived in Australia.
Dickens cares about material and psychological happiness, and is convinced that physical well-being is a comfort for life's wounds. Dickens sent his characters to America in Nicholas Nickleby and Martin Chuzzlewit , but he has the Peggotty and Micawber families emigrate to the Australia. This approach was part of official policy of the s, focusing on Australia as a land of welcome. It was at this time necessary to stimulate interest in the new colony and propagandists arrived in England in particular John Dunmore Lang and Caroline Chisholm from Australia.
Dickens was only following this movement and, in any case, had faith in family colonisation. Moreover, the idea that redemption could be achieved by such a new start in a person's life was a preoccupation of the author, and he saw here subject matter to charm his readers.
From the point of view of the novel's inner logic, in order for Copperfield to complete his psychological maturation and exist independently, Dickens must expel his surrogate fathers, including Peggotty and Micawber, and emigration is an easy way to remove them. The episode in the prison, according to novelist Angus Wilson , is more than a piece of journalism;  it represents Dickens's vision of the society in which he lives.
The same can be said of the episodes concerning prostitution and emigration, which illuminate the limits of Copperfield's moral universe and Dickens's own uncertainties. All these conversions are somewhat 'ironic',  and tend to undermine the hypothesis of 'a Dickens believing in the miracle of the antipodes', which Jane Rogers considers in her analysis of the 'fallen woman' as a plot device to gain the sympathy of Dickens' readers for Emily.
John Forster , Dickens's early biographer, praises the bourgeois or middle-class values and ideology found in David Copperfield. Gateth Cordery takes a close look at class consciousness.
According to him, Copperfield's relationship with aristocrat Steerforth and the humble Uriah Heep is "crucial". The Peggotty family, in Chapter 3, treat him with respect, "as a visitor of distinction"; even at Murdstone and Grinby, his behaviour and clothes earned him the title of "the little gentleman". When he reached adulthood, he naturally enjoyed Steerforth's disdain for Ham as a simple "joke about the poor".
So he is predisposed to succumb, by what he calls in chapter 7 an "inborn power of attraction", to the charm instinctively lent to beautiful people, about which David said "a kind of enchantment. In parallel there is a contempt of the upstart, Heep, hatred of the same nature as Copperfield's senseless adoration for Steerforth, but inverted.
That ' umble Heep goes from a lowly clerk to an associate at Wickfield's, to claiming to win the hand of Agnes, daughter of his boss, is intolerable to David, though it is very similar to his own efforts to go from shorthand clerk to literary fame, with Dora Spenlow, the daughter of his employer. Another concern of Dickens is the institution of marriage and in particular the unenviable place occupied by women. Whether at the home of Wickfield, Strong, or under the Peggotty boat, women are vulnerable to predators or intruders like Uriah Heep, Jack Maldon, James Steerforth; Murdstone's firmness prevails up to the death of two wives; with David and Dora complete incompetence reigns; and at the Micawber household, love and chaos go hand in hand; while Aunt Betsey is subjected to blackmail by her mysterious husband.
Dickens, according to Gareth Cordery, clearly attacks the official status of marriage, which perpetuated an inequality between the sexes, an injustice that does not end with the separation of couples. The mid-Victorian era saw change in gender roles, for men and women, in part forced by the factories and separation of work and home, which made stereotypes of the woman at home and the man working away from home.
Dickens's understanding of the burden on women in marriage in this novel contrasts with his treatment of his own wife Catherine , whom he expected to be an Angel in the House. Martha Endell and Emily Peggotty, the two friends in Yarmouth who work at the undertaker's house, reflect Dickens's commitment to "save" so-called fallen women. Dickens was co-found with Angela Burdett-Coutts Urania Cottage, a home for young women who had "turned to a life of immorality", including theft and prostitution.
After Steerforth deserts her, she doesn't go back home, because she has disgraced herself and her family. Her uncle, Mr Peggotty, finds her in London on the brink of being forced into prostitution. So that she may have a fresh start away from her now degraded reputation, she and her uncle emigrate to Australia. Martha has been a prostitute and contemplated suicide but towards the end of the novel, she redeems herself by helping Daniel Peggotty find his niece after she returns to London.
She goes with Emily to start a new life in Australia.
There, she marries and lives happily. Their emigration to Australia, in the wake of that of Micawber, Daniel Peggotty, and Mr Mell, emphasizes Dickens' belief that social and moral redemption can be achieved in a distant place, where someone may create a new and healthy life.
Morally, Dickens here conforms to the dominant middle-class opinion,. John O Jordan devotes two pages to this woman, also "lost," though never having sinned. Dickens denounced this restrictive dichotomy by portraying women "in between".
Such is Rosa Dartle, passionate being, with the inextinguishable resentment of having been betrayed by Steerforth, a wound that is symbolised by the vibrant scar on her lip.
David Copperfield Reader’s Guide
Never does she allow herself to be assimilated by the dominant morality, refusing tooth and nail to put on the habit of the ideal woman. Avenger to the end, she wants the death of Little Emily, both the new conquest and victim of the same predator, and has only contempt for the efforts of David to minimize the scope of his words. As virtuous as anyone else, she claims, especially that Emily, she does not recognize any ideal family, each being molded in the manner of its social class, nor any affiliation as a woman: David's vision, on the other hand, is marked by class consciousness: In reality, says Jordan, it is impossible for David to understand or even imagine any sexual tension, especially that which governs the relationship between Rosa and Steerforth, which, in a way, reassures his own innocence and protects what he calls his "candor" - frankness or angelism?
Also, Rosa Dartle's irreducible and angry marginality represents a mysterious threat to his comfortable and reassuring domestic ideology. Dickens's approach to the novel is influenced by various things, including the picaresque novel tradition,  melodrama ,  and the novel of sensibility.
Fielding's Tom Jones   was a major influence on the nineteenth novel including Dickens, who read it in his youth,  and named a son Henry Fielding Dickens in his honour. Trevor Blount comments on the fascination that Dickens has always exercised on the public, He mentions the lavishness, energy, vividness, brilliance, and tenderness of Dickens's writing, along with the range of his imagination.
Blount also refers to Dickens's humour, and his use of the macabre and of pathos. Finally Blount celebrates the artistic mastery of an overflowing spontaneity, which is conveyed carried with both delicacy and subtlety. This is best illustrated in many of Dickens's works, by the powerful figure of a weak individual. In David Copperfield Mr Wilkins Micawber is such a figure, someone who is formidably incompetent, grandiose in his irreducible optimism, sumptuous in his verbal virtuosity, and whose grandiloquent tenderness is irresistibly comical.
In this novel, one characteristic noted by Edgar Johnson is that Dickens, in the first part, "makes the reader see with the eyes of a child",  an innovative technique for the time, first tried in Dombey and Son with an omniscient narrator , and carried here to perfection through the use of the 'I'. Modernist novelist Virginia Woolf writes, that when we read Dickens "we remodel our psychological geography The very principle of satire is to question, and to tear off the masks, so as to reveal the raw reality under the varnish.
These tools include irony , humour , and caricature. How it is employed relates to the characters differing personalities. Satire is thus gentler towards some characters than others; toward David the hero-narrator, it is at once indulgent and transparent. There are several different types of character: On the one hand there are the good ones, Peggotty, Dr Strong, Traddles, etc, on the hand there are the bad ones, Murdstone, Steerforth, Uriah Heep etc.
A third category are characters who change over time, including Betsey Trotwood, who at first is more obstinate than nasty, it is true, and Martha Endell, and Creakle etc.
A Review of the Novel, 'David Copperfield'
There is also a contrast drawn between ever-frozen personalities such as Micawber, Dora, Rosa Dartle, and those who evolve. The there is also a contrast drawn between the idiosyncrasies of Mr Dick, Barkis, Mrs Gummidge, and the subtle metamorphosis from innocence to maturity of characters like David, Traddles, Sophy Crewler.
Dickens worked intensively on developing arresting names for his characters that would reverberate with associations for his readers, and assist the development of motifs in the storyline, giving what one critic calls an "allegorical impetus" to a novel's meanings. There can also be a visual dimension to Dickens's humour. This includes Micawber's rotundity, his wife's dried-up body, which forever offers a sterile breast, Betsey's steadfast stiffness, Mr Sharp's bowed head, Daniel Peggotty's stubborn rudeness, Clara Copperfield's delicate silhouette, and Dora's mischievous air.
Then there are exaggerated attitudes that are constantly repeated. Dickens creates humour out of character traits, such as Mr Dick's kite flying, James Maldon's insistent charm, Uriah Heep's obsequiousness, Betsey pounding David's room.
There are in addition the employment of repetitive verbal phrases: Dickens also uses objects for a humorous purpose, like Traddles' skeletons, the secret box of Barkis, the image of Heep as a snake, and the metallic rigidity of Murdstone.
In David Copperfield idealised characters and highly sentimental scenes are contrasted with caricatures and ugly social truths. While good characters are also satirised, a considered sentimentality replaces satirical ferocity. This is a characteristic of all of Dickens's writing, but it is reinforced in David Copperfield by the fact that these people are the narrator's close family members and friends, who are devoted to David and sacrificing themselves for his happiness.
Hence the indulgence applied from the outset, with humour prevailing along with loving complicity. David is the first to receive such treatment, especially in the section devoted to his early childhood, when he is lost in the depths of loneliness in London, following his punishment by Mr Murdstone. Michael Hollington analyses a scene in chapter 11 that seems emblematic of the situation and how humour and sentimentality are employed by Dickens.
He has forgotten the exact date his birthday. This episode release David's emotional pain, writes Michael Hollington, obliterating the infected part of the wound. Beyond the admiration aroused for the amazing self-confidence of the little child, in resolving this issue and taking control of his life with the assurance of someone much older, the passage "testifies to the work of memory, transfiguring the moment into a true myth". The wife of the keeper, returning David's money, deposits on his forehead a gift that has become extremely rare,  a kiss, "Half admired and half compassionate", but above all full of kindness and femininity; at least, adds David, as a tender and precious reminder, "I am sure".
Dickens went to the theatre regularly from an early age and even considered becoming an actor in The cry of Martha at the edge of the river belongs to the purest Victorian melodrama , as does the confrontation between Mr Peggotty and Mrs Steerforth, in chapter Such language, according to Trevor Blount, is meant to be said aloud. Many other scenes employ the same method: Micawber crossing the threshold, Heep harassing David in Chapter 17, the chilling apparition of Littimer in the middle of David's party in Chapter The climax of this splendid series of scenes is the storm off Yarmouth, which is an epilogue to the menacing references to the sea previously, which shows Dicken's most intense virtuosity chapter Dickens made the following comment in Setting is a major aspect of Dickens's "narrative artistry and of his methods of characterization", so that "the most memorable quality of his novels may well be their atmospheric density [ In David Copperfield setting is less urban, more rustic than in other novels, and especially maritime.
Besides Peggotty, who is a seaman whose home is an overturned hull, Mr Micawber goes to the naval port of Plymouth on the south coast after prison and appears finally on board a steamer. Young David notices the sea on his first day at her home; "the air from the sea came blowing in again, mixed with the perfume of the flowers". Important symbols include, imprisonment, the sea, flowers, animals, dreams, and Mr Dick's kite.
The constant repetition of these details Separating realism and symbolism can be tricky, especially, for example, when it relates, to the subject of imprisonment, which is both a very real place of confinement for the Micawber family, and, more generally throughout David Copperfield , symbolic of the damage inflicted on a sick society, trapped in its an inability to adapt or compromise, with many individuals walled within in themselves. The imponderable power of the sea is almost always associated with death: The violent storm in Yarmouth coincides with the moment when the conflicts reached a critical threshold, when it is as if angry Nature called for a final resolution; as Kearney noted, "The rest of the novel is something of an anti-climax after the storm chapter,".
According to Daniel L Plung, four types of animal are a particularly important aspect of the way symbolism is used: Flowers symbolize innocence, for example David is called "Daisy" by Steerforth, because he is naive and pure, while Dora constantly paints bouquets, and when Heep was removed from Wickfield House, flowers return to the living room.
Mr Dick's kite, represents how much he is both outside and above society, immune to its hierarchical social system. Furthermore it flies among the innocent birds,  and just as this toy soothes and gives joy to him, Mr Dick heals the wounds and restore peace where the others without exception have failed.
Dreams are also an important part of the novel's underlying symbolic structure, and are "used as a transitional device to bind [its] parts together" with twelve chapters ending "with a dream or reverie".
In addition physical beauty, in the form of Clara, is emblematic of moral good, while the ugliness of Uriah Heep, Mr Creakle and Mr Murdstone underlines their villainy. While David, the story's hero, has benefited from her love and suffered from the violence of the others.
Dickens, in preparation for this novel, went to Norwich , Lowestoft , and Yarmouth where the Peggotty family resides, but he stayed there for only five hours, on 9 January He assured his friends, that his descriptions were based on his own memories, brief as were his local experiences.
However, looking to the work of K J Fielding  reveals that the dialect of this town was taken from a book written by a local author, Major Edward Moor published in Many view this novel as Dickens's masterpiece , beginning with his friend and first biographer John Forster, who writes: It is therefore not surprising that the book is often placed in the category of autobiographical works. From a strictly literary point of view, however, it goes beyond this framework in the richness of its themes and the originality of its writing.
Situated in the middle of Dickens's career, it represents, according to Paul Davis, [N 11] a turning point in his work, the point of separation between the novels of youth and those of maturity.
In , Dickens was 38 years old and had twenty more to live, which he filled with other masterpieces, often denser, sometimes darker, that addressed most of the political, social and personal issues he faced. Dickens welcomed the publication of his work with intense emotion, and he continued to experience this until the end of his life.
When he went through a period of personal difficulty and frustration in the s, he returned to David Copperfield as to a dear friend who resembled him: Although Dickens became a Victorian celebrity his readership was mainly the middle classes, including the so-called skilled workers, according to the French critic Fabrice Bensimon, because ordinary people could not afford it. The first reviews were mixed,  but the great contemporaries of Dickens showed their approval: Thackeray found the novel "freshly and simply simple";  John Ruskin , in his Modern Painters , was of the opinion that the scene of the storm surpasses Turner's evocations of the sea; more soberly, Matthew Arnold declared it "rich in merits";  and, in his autobiographical book A Small Boy and Others , Henry James evokes the memory of "treasure so hoarded in the dusty chamber of youth".
After Dickens' death, David Copperfield rose to the forefront of the writer's works, both through sales, for example, in Household Words in where sales reached 83,,  and the praise of critics. In , Scottish novelist and poet Margaret Oliphant described it as "the culmination of Dickens's early comic fiction";  However, in the late nineteenth-century Dickens's critical reputation suffered a decline, though he continued to have many readers.
This began when Henry James in "relegated Dickens to the second division of literature on the grounds that he could not 'see beneath the surface of things'". Then in , two years after Dickens's death, George Henry Lewes wondered how to "reconcile [Dickens's] immense popularity with the 'critical contempt' which he attracted". A Critical Study. Leavis in The Great Tradition , contentiously, excluded Dickens from his canon, characterising him as a "popular entertainer"  without "mature standards and interests".
Dickens's reputation, however, continued to grow and K J Fielding and Geoffrey Thurley identify what they call David Copperfield' s "centrality", and Q D Leavis in , looked at the images he draws of marriage, of women, and of moral simplicity. According to writer Paul B Davis, Q. Leavis excels at dissecting David's relationship with Dora. Finally, J B Priestley was particularly interested in Mr Micawber and concludes that "With the one exception of Falstaff , he is the greatest comic figure in English literature".
David Copperfield has pleased many writers. I have read David Copperfield ; it seems to me very good—admirable in some parts. You said it had affinity to Jane Eyre: The imprisonment of his father forced the family to send the twelve-year-old Dickens to work in a blacking factory.
Dickens found these memories too painful to continue his autobiography; in fact, he jealously guarded the facts of his London youth. Converting his autobiographical impulse into fiction allowed Dickens to explore uncomfortable truths about his life. Dickens divides the life of Copperfield into two distinct parts, the first recounting the untimely loss of his innocence.
Creakle is replaced by the kind instruction of Mr. Wickfield and Dr.
Strong; the callous neglect of his stepfather is replaced by the solicitude of his aunt. The practical lesson for Copperfield is to eschew the sternness of Murdstone as well as the carelessness of Micawber, the grandiloquent and improvident father figure who lodges Copperfield. The relationship falters and Copperfield begins to see parallels with the marriage of the aging Dr. When the marriage dissolves, Dora dies in labor — quite conveniently, some critics have charged, for her death releases Copperfield of his conjugal obligations.
The concluding chapters function as an epilogue to the first two parts. Copperfield, now a famous novelist, takes his sufferings to Europe in a listless journey.
The novel concludes with Copperfield marrying Agnes. Throughout the novel, Dickens addresses several important social issues of his time: Against these dilemmas, Dickens offers the intuitive wisdom of Mr. Dick, the genuineness of the Micawbers, and, above all, the simple earnestness of Peggotty. But Copperfield is foremost a novel about memory.
However, memory also proves to be a source of anguish.
Copperfield prefaces the time he spent at Murdstone and Grinby by remarking: The words of the great English critic G. Chesterton perhaps best summarize the experience of reading it: His family moved often throughout his childhood, living variously in Chatham, Kent and Camden Town, London. At eighteen, Dickens met Maria Beadnell whom he courted unsuccessfully until The episode left a deep impression on Dickens who subsequently based the character of Dora in David Copperfield and Estella in Great Expectations on Maria.
In , Dickens married Catherine Hogarth, daughter of a prominent theater and music critic. That same year he also met John Forster, his literary advisor and future biographer, and began serialization of his first novel The Pickwick Papers. This work as an editor and fiction writer continued throughout the rest of his life. Dickens made his first visit to North America in , a trip he later recorded in American Notes.
The story proved to be an enormous success with the general public, was dramatized and represented the first of many Christmas stories he would write over the years. These novels were followed by Bleak House From this time onwards, Dickens maintained a furious public reading schedule that proved to be a great popular and financial success. In the spring of , he initiated a new magazine All the Year Round , which began serialization of A Tale of Two Cities in weekly installments.May 14, Carlos rated it really liked it.
The use of the first person determines the point of view: When he is seven years old his mother marries Edward Murdstone. In the fall of , Dickens, now separated from his wife but with custody of all but one of his children, began work on Great Expectations. Following Ham's death, she keeps house for David's aunt, Betsey Trotwood. The novel concludes with Copperfield marrying Agnes. The difficulty of being an adult, of marrying, of finding love and of getting on feel very real and shine from every page of this delightful book.
The second surrogate father is just as ineffective, although of a diametrically opposed personality: I learned that a nosegay is a bouquet of showy flowers.