Sketches by Boz, Paperback
4.5 out of 5 (4 ratings)

Description

Charles Dickens's Sketches by Boz foreshadows his novels in its profusion of characters, its glimpses of surreal modernity and its limitless fund of pathos and comic invention.

This Penguin Classics edition is edited with notes and an introduction by Dennis Walder. Published under the pen-name 'Boz', Charles Dickens's first book Sketches by Boz (1836) heralded an exciting new voice in English literature.

This richly varied collection of observation, fancy and fiction shows the London he knew so intimately at its best and worst - its streets, theatres, inns, pawnshops, law courts, prisons, omnibuses and the river Thames - in honest and visionary descriptions of everyday life and people.

Through pen portraits that often anticipate characters from his great novels, we see the condemned man in his prison cell, garrulous matrons, vulgar young clerks and Scrooge-like bachelors, while Dickens's powers for social critique are never far from the surface, in unflinching depictions of the vast metropolis's forgotten citizens, from child workers to prostitutes.

A startling mixture of humour and pathos, these Sketches reveal London as wonderful terrain for an extraordinary young writer. In his introduction, Dennis Walder discusses Dickens's social commentary, his view of London and his imaginative mixing of genres, and places the Sketches in the tradition of eighteenth and nineteenth-century reportage.

This edition also includes the original illustrations by George Cruickshank, a chronology, further reading, appendices and notes. 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 enjoyed Sketches by Boz, you might like Dickens's The Pickwick Papers, also available in Penguin Classics.

Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 688 pages, b&w illustrations
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
  • ISBN: 9780140433456

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Reviews

Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.

Review by
5

Great Dickens. The reader gets Dickens' characters and descriptive power with a minimum of his ripe sentimentality. A win/win. Good place to start for those new to the author or those that say they don't like Dickens. For those familar with the author's body of work the reader will find the germ of future novels in this early work. The last piece, "A Drunkard's Death", is outstanding.

Review by
5

I had read a number of these before but had never read Sketches by Boz in its entirety. Dickens first book, published when he was twenty-four and already on his third or fourth career, contains his earliest writings, ranging from semi-fictional sketches to a series of "tales" that range from farce to melodramatic tragedy. They contain much of what one would find throughout his career: walking through the streets of London, middle-class families, clerks, comedy, satire of pretension, tragedy, farce, a preoccupation with prisons, etc. Many of the pieces are excellent, virtually none of them are bad or even seem particularly immature, but for most people Sketches is fairly superseded by the novels which take many of the same types of characters and scenes and embed them in a much more compelling and readable format. That said, Sketches was very enjoyable and I would expect to read many of the individual pieces in it again.

Review by
3

Collection of short stories - or "sketches" - about everyday life in London. They range from the very humorous to the tragic.<br/>I experimented with using Libravox with this. On the plus side - a free, complete, audio copy of the book. On the down side, there was a HUGE difference in the quality of readers from chapter to chapter.

Review by
5

I had read a number of these before but had never read Sketches by Boz in its entirety. Dickens first book, published when he was twenty-four and already on his third or fourth career, contains his earliest writings, ranging from semi-fictional sketches to a series of "tales" that range from farce to melodramatic tragedy. They contain much of what one would find throughout his career: walking through the streets of London, middle-class families, clerks, comedy, satire of pretension, tragedy, farce, a preoccupation with prisons, etc. Many of the pieces are excellent, virtually none of them are bad or even seem particularly immature, but for most people Sketches is fairly superseded by the novels which take many of the same types of characters and scenes and embed them in a much more compelling and readable format. That said, Sketches was very enjoyable and I would expect to read many of the individual pieces in it again.