With an Introduction by Simon Callow
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY SIMON CALLOW
Wealthy old Martin Chuzzlewit is surrounded by a host of grasping, unscrupulous relatives and suspects the family vices of selfishness and greed are already showing in his grandson. The younger Martin is therefore cast out upon the world to learn to fend for himself. Apprenticed to the oily hypocrite Peckniff, he meets both the sweet-tempered Tom Pinch and the irrepressible Mark Tapley, with whom he sets forth to America to find his fortune. Dickens created some of his most gleefully repulsive and enduring characters in this tale of corruption and virtue, murder and unrequited love.
Charles Dickens was born on 7 February 1812 in Landport in Portsmouth. His father was a clerk in the Navy Pay Office who often ended up in financial trouble. When Dickens was twelve years' old he was sent to work in a shoe polish factory because his father had been imprisoned for debt.In 1833 he began to publish short stories and essays in newspapers and magazines. The Pickwick Papers, his first commercial success, was published in 1836, the same year that he married Catherine Hogarth. The serialisation of Oliver Twist began in 1837 while The Pickwick Papers was still running. Many other novels followed and Dickens became a celebrity in America as well as Britain. He also set up and edited the journals Household Words (1850-9) and All the Year Round (1859-70). Charles Dickens died on 9 June 1870 leaving his last novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, unfinished. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.