SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER Should we believe in God? In this new book, written for a new generation, the brilliant science writer and author of The God Delusion, explains why we shouldn’t.Should we believe in God? Do we need God in order to explain the existence of the universe? Do we need God in order to be good? In twelve chapters that address some of the most profound questions human beings confront, Dawkins marshals science, philosophy and comparative religion to interrogate the hypocrisies of..
'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…'
Set before and during the French Revolution in the cities of Paris and London, A Tale of Two Cities tells the story of Dr Manette's release from imprisonment in the Bastille and his reunion with daughter, Lucie. A French aristocrat Darnay and English lawyer Carton compete in their love for Lucie and the ensuing tale plays out against the menacing backdrop of the French Revolution and the shadow of the guillotine...
Each of these short stories was written specifically for Christmas. They combine concern for social ills with the myths and memories of childhood and traditional Christmas spirit-lore. The stories include A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, The Battle of Life and The Cricket on the Hearth...
Dickens wrote of David Copperfield: 'Of all my books I like this the best'. Millions of readers in almost every language on earth have subsequently come to share the author's own enthusiasm for this greatly loved classic, possibly because of its autobiographical form. Following the life of David through many sufferings and great adversity, the reader will also find many light-hearted moments in the company of a host of English fiction's greatest stars including Mr Micawber, Traddles, Uriah Heep,..
David Copperfield's happy childhood is abruptly ended by his mother's remarriage to Mr Murdstone. After enduring the misery of Salem House Academy and a life of drudgery in his step father's business, he runs away to his eccentric aunt, Betsey Trotwood, in Dover, and transforms his life a second time - finding friendship with the ever optimistic Mr Micawber and falling in love with the adorable but spoilt Dora. But David has to face tragedy, and outface the scheming Uriah Heep before he finds ul..
Mr Dombey is a man obsessed with his firm. His son is groomed from birth to take his place within it, despite his visionary eccentricity and declining health. But Dombey also has a daughter, whose unfailing love for her father goes unreturned. 'Girls' said Mr Dombey, 'have nothing to do with Dombey and Son'.
When Walter Gay, a young clerk in her father's office, rescues her from a bewildering experience in the streets of London, his unforgettable friends believe he is well on his way to recei..
Throughout his illustrious writing career, Charles Dickens often turned his hand to fashioning short pieces of ghostly fiction. Even in his first successful work, The Pickwick Papers, you will find five ghost stories, all of which are included in this collection. Dickens began the tradition of 'the ghost story at Christmas', and many of his tales in this genre are presented here, including the brilliant novella 'The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain', which deserves to be as well-known as A Ch..
Set in fictitious Coketown, England during the Industrial Revolution of the 1850s, Dickens wished to expose the enormous gulf between the rich and poor through his writing. In Hard Times, the social and moral purpose of his work is at its most evident. Openly ironic and satirical in its tone, Dickens suggests a mechanization of society, where the wealthy are ruthless and uncharitable towards those less fortunate than themselves. Siblings Louisa and Tom Gradgrind are raised by their father, a har..
Unusually for Dickens, Hard Times is set, not in London, but in the imaginary mid-Victorian Northern industrial town of Coketown with its blackened factories, downtrodden workers and polluted environment. This is the soulless domain of the strict utilitarian Thomas Gradgrind and the heartless factory owner Josiah Bounderby. However human joy is not excluded thanks to 'Mr Sleary's Horse-Riding' circus, a gin-soaked and hilarious troupe of open-hearted and affectionate people who act as an antidot..
Little Dorrit is a classic tale of imprisonment, both literal and metaphorical, while Dickens' working title for the novel, Nobody's Fault, highlights its concern with personal responsibility in private and public life. Dickens' childhood experiences inform the vivid scenes in Marshalsea debtor's prison, while his adult perceptions of governmental failures shape his satirical picture of the Circumlocution Office. The novel's range of characters - the honest, the crooked,..
‘Wealth and beggary, virtue and vice, repletion and the direst hunger, all treading on each other and crowding together’Could any writer portray London better than Charles Dickens? Dickens knew the city inside out, walking the streets day and night, in all weathers, and drawing inspiration from everything he saw. The fog, the mud, the churning river, the clamour of church bells, and at every corner schemes of business or pleasure – this is Dickens’s London in the company of some of his most memo..
Martin Chuzzlewit is Charles Dickens' comic masterpiece about which his biographer, Forster, noted that it marked a crucial phase in the author's development as he began to delve deeper into the 'springs of character'. Old Martin Chuzzlewit, tormented by the greed and selfishness of his family, effectively drives his grandson, young Martin, to undertake a voyage to America. It is a voyage which will have crucial consequences not only for young Martin, but also for his grandfa..
Dickens's final novel, left unfinished at his death, is a tale of mystery whose fast-paced action takes place in an ancient cathedral city and in some of the darkest places in nineteenth-century London. Drugs, sexual obsession, colonial adventuring and puzzles about identity are among the novel's themes. At the centre of the plot lie the baffling disappearance of Edwin Drood and the many explanations of his whereabouts. A sombre and menacing atmosphere, a fascinating range of character..
Following the success of Pickwick Papers and Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby was hailed as a comic triumph and firmly established Dickens as a 'literary gentleman'. It has a full supporting cast of delectable characters that range from the iniquitous Wackford Squeers and his family, to the delightful Mrs Nickleby, taking in the eccentric Crummles and his travelling players, the Mantalinis, the Kenwigs and many more. Combining these with typically Dickensian elements of burlesque and farce, the n..
Our Mutual Friend, Dickens' last complete novel, gives one of his most comprehensive and penetrating accounts of Victorian society. Its vision of a culture stifled by materialistic values emerges not just through its central narratives, but through its apparently incidental characters and scenes.
The chief of its several plots centres on John Harmon who returns to England as his father's heir. He is believed drowned under suspicious circumstances - a situation convenient to his wish for anony..
The Pickwick Papers is Dickens' first novel and widely regarded as one of the major classics of comic writing in English. Originally serialised in monthly instalments, it quickly became a huge popular success with sales reaching 40,000 by the final part. In the century and a half since its first appearance, the characters of Mr Pickwick, Sam Weller and the whole of the Pickwickian crew have entered the consciousness of all who love English literature in general, and the works of Dickens in parti..