Among all the genres of literature, the novel has always held a fascination for the readers over the centuries. Rightly so, because it tells a story in a gripping and dramatic style, which often reminds them of their lives, sometimes transporting them into an imaginary world of entertainment and escape, and enabling them to forget their worries and concerns.
The 19th century England was prodigious for the production of novels with such luminaries as William Makepeace Thackeray, Charles Dickens, the famous Bronte sisters—Charlotte Bronte, Anne Bronte and Emily Bronte—George Eliot and Thomas Hardy adorning the horizon. Among these, Dickens certainly holds a pride of place: his prodigious writings, predominantly novels, and his inimitable style bear testimony to this.
The child figure is ubiquitous in all his novels—from Oliver Twist, Dombey and Son to Hard Times and Great Expectations. The child is sometimes the victim and sometimes the reminder of the innocence lost in a materialistic world. Great Expectations is a fascinating novel told with remarkable drama, humour and irony. It is a gripping story, the story of Pip, the orphan boy adopted by Mr. Joe Gragery, a blacksmith. Pip has both good luck and great expectations; but then he loses both. Through his rise and fall, Pip learns how to find happiness and, in the process, falls in love. Pip is neither a hero nor an antihero. He is just an ordinary human being who experiences myriad emotions—fright, love, grief, misery and happiness. As in his other novels, Dickens draws memorable and haunting characters in this novel, too, and also exposes the rampant corruption prevalent during the period.
Besides a comprehensive Preface by the Editor, the book gives the actual text, followed by specially written critical essays on the novel by experts in the field, each offering insights on different aspects of narrative, themes and culture. Undergraduate and postgraduate students of English Literature as well as researchers in the field should find this book extremely useful and immensely readable.