David Copperfield, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


When David Copperfield escapes from the cruelty of his childhood home, he embarks on a journey to adulthood which will lead him through comedy and tragedy, love and heartbreak and friendship and betrayal.

Over the course of his adventures, David meets an array of eccentric characters and learns hard lessons about the world before he finally discovers true happiness.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 976 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
  • ISBN: 9780099511465

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I have read, in this order, <i>Bleak House</i>, <i>Nicholas Nickleby</i> and <i>David Copperfield</i>, and my enjoyment of them is ranked more or less in the same order. They are all deliciously written, and are bursting with Dickens’ unique character portrayal (including some quite startling examples of womanhood which, being no kind of feminist at all, I am perfectly willing to overlook in exchange for being entertained; it’s important to put these characters in context… it’s not just the women who are drawn in extremis, after all) but <i>David Copperfield</i>, despite its share of comedic characters and passages, is perceptibly less <i>delightful</i> a read than the other two, the author’s own entanglement in the tale bringing substance and detail, but also a seriousness which seems to place a burden on the novel rather than enhance it.The reader follows the titled protagonist through a troubled childhood into an early adulthood as an articled clerk, into marriage, a writing career and beyond, while around him, Copperfield’s friends are being led into ruin by various parties. Without doing any research into this, I’m assuming that the autobiographical aspect of <i>David Copperfield</i> centres upon his childhood and intimate adult life rather than the broader plot and character cast – particularly novelising the arena in which villainously ‘umble Uriah Heep begins overthrowing reputations, the alternative being too bizarre to contemplate. For me, the rich detail of childhood, and the emerging plot sat very oddly together, as though the author were telling two different stories at the same time, and happened to be the principal character in one of them, and an observer, rather than hero, in the other. Macawber, Traddles and Mr. Peggoty manage to sort themselves out quite satisfactorily, in the end, while Copperfield’s own successes seem an entirely separate matter. Despite this odd disparity, I enjoyed <i>David Copperfield</i> as a story – Mr. Macawber’s verbosity might have been frustrating at points, but it was worth it for --- that ---- HEEP speech, and overall, Dickens’ talent for creating characters that are both enormous in personality and multi-layered, so they don’t simply become caricatures was, if anything, more in evidence in <i>David Copperfield</i> than in even those of those works of his that I prefer… Steerforth, particularly, is a wonderful example of how to draw a character and then use him.

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