Please note: In order to keep Hive up to date and provide users with the best features, we are no longer able to fully support Internet Explorer. The site is still available to you, however some sections of the site may appear broken. We would encourage you to move to a more modern browser like Firefox, Edge or Chrome in order to experience the site fully.

The Companion to Great Expectations, Hardback Book

The Companion to Great Expectations Hardback

Part of the The Dickens Companions series



This study sets out to recover and illuminate the Victorian culture and allusive verbal worlds that inform Charles Dickens's novel "Great Expectations".

How distinctive are the story's temporal and topographical settings?

How carefully has Dickens integrated Pip's life story with the embedded histories of a mad, jilted spinster, a beautiful orphan girl, an unscupulous con man, a fierce yet tender convict and a brilliant criminal lawyer?

What relevance does the "then" of Pip's childhood and the "now" when he relates the story of his evolution into gentleman have to the revised controversial ending Dickens adopted on the advice of a fellow novelist?David Paroissien draws on a range of 19th century sources to illuminate the novel's late Georgian and mid-Victorian contexts: the brutal punishments that characterized Hanoverian England's legal system; the transportation of felons and their rough lives in Australia's first penal colony; the social mobility a public school education conferred on a swindler and forger; the struggle to gain the desired status of "gentleman" among brewers, bakers and a raw yound blacksmith from the country ignorant of the ways of society and its social graces; the genteel city of Rochester, whose quiet nooks and stately historic houses excercised a powerful hold over Dickens's imagination; the nearby Hoo peninsular, with its lonely marsh villages and picturesque churchyards; and the changing face of early 19th century London, with its Inns of Chancery and Inns of Court, the vibrant life of the Thames, where watermen struggle against steamers as technological changes brought the old and the new face to face; and the river's lower, deserted reaches, bound by mists, marshes and tidal flats, which serve as background for the novel's brilliant menacing opening.


Other Formats


Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops