My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Reading online at eBooks@ Adelaide, one chapter per day.
Some David Perdue’s Charles Dickens page background about this book:
When artist Robert Seymour proposed to publishers Chapman and Hall a series of engravings featuring Cockney sporting life, with accompanying text published in monthly installments, they readily accepted and set about the task of finding a writer. The publishers were turned down by several writers and finally asked 24-year-old Charles Dickens to provide the text. Dickens accepted and argued successfully that the text should be foremost and the engravings should complement the story. Seymour, an established artist but without recent success, was troubled with the direction the upstart writer was taking his project and with Dickens’ suggestions of changes to the illustrations.
This is the story of Samuel Pickwick, the founder and perpetual president of the Pickwick Club. In order to enlarge his researches into the British countryside, he suggested that he and the other threes members of the club, the “Pickwickians” should make journeys by coach to remote places and relate their findings to the other remembers of the club. This also provides a memorable description of the old coaching inns of England.
Since it was the first book written by Dickens (he wrote it when he was only 24 years old), I must confess that this was not an easy reading.
In my opinion, the best part of the book is when Mr Pickwick’s attempts to defend a lawsuit brought by his landlady, Mrs Bardell, who (through an apparent misunderstanding on her part) is suing him for the breach of promise to marry her. Another is Mr Pickwick’s incarceration at Fleet prison for his stubborn refusal to pay the compensation to her because he doesn’t want to give a penny to Mrs Bardell’s lawyers, the unscrupulous firm of Messrs. Dodson and Fogg.
Recently, BBC Radio 4 Extra presented again the original dramatization which was broadcasted originally in January 2008.