Great Expectations

A novel by Charles Dickens (1812 – 1870), which first appeared in All the Year Round in 1860–61, and in book form (three volumes) in 1861. While living with his abusive sister and her genial husband, the novel’s protagonist Pip Pirrip briefly encounters and assists an escaped convict, Abel Magwitch. When the boy is summoned to the mysterious Satis House by reclusive Miss Havisham, he falls in love with her cold-hearted ward, Estella. Pip aspires to social advancement, and assumes the eccentric old lady is his sponsor. Reunited with Magwitch, he becomes conscious of darkness at the heart of his supposed rise in fortunes. Great Expectations is a Bildungsroman, tracing the development of its protagonist. Ultimately Pip's values are shattered, as he reassesses the meaning of being a ‘gentleman’.

Creator:
Charles Dickens
Published:
1861
Forms:
Prose
Genre:
Victorian Literature
Literary period:
Victorian

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The Gothic in Great Expectations

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Themes: 
The novel 1832 - 1880, The Gothic

Professor John Bowen considers how Dickens uses the characters of Magwitch and Miss Havisham to incorporate elements of the Gothic in Great Expectations.

Crime in Great Expectations

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Crime exists as a powerful psychological force throughout Dickens’s Great Expectations. Professor John Mullan examines the complicated criminal web in which the novel’s protagonist, Pip, finds himself caught.

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