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The Old Curiosity Shop

af Charles Dickens

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5,644721,781 (3.67)275
Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

Beautiful, honest Nell Trent lives with her devoted Grandfather in his Old Curiosity Shop, an enchanting shop of odds and ends. Desperate to make a better life for his Nell, Grandfather secretly gambles and gets deeply into debt with the unscrupulous Quilp. When what little money they have is lost in a game of cards, Quilp claims The Old Curiosity Shop as payment for the loans

Released in installments from 1840 to 1841, Charles Dicken's The Old Curiosity Shop caused such a sensation at the time that crowds of avid readers were waiting on the docks of New York to hear news of their heroine when the ship with the last episode approached the port.

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Engelsk (64)  Spansk (5)  Svensk (1)  Alle sprog (70)
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The most popular of Dicken's works while he was alive, with throngs of people excitedly waiting at the dock in New York for the final installment to arrive from England, which I find rather extraordinary. It's Dickens, so it's good if you like Dickens, but I'd admit to it being fairly watery and thin otherwise. Perhaps it shows the excitement that an innocent young girl in mortal danger can inspire - certainly little Nell is every bit as pure-hearted and angel-winged as Oliver Twist, with the rather shocking difference that Dickens kills her off in the end. And it has some fine reflections on death and the influence of the departed on the living, which come in after Nell and her grandfather set up house taking care of a small village church and its graveyard.

Beyond that it has it has its requisite villain, and its requisite noble wealthy gentleman who swoops in near the end, but the overlooked star of the show has to be Whiskers the pony, admirably insisting on living his life his way, gentlemen be damned. Whiskers, thanks for keeping it real. ( )
  lelandleslie | Feb 24, 2024 |
Classic
  BooksInMirror | Feb 19, 2024 |
The Old Curiosity Shop - Dickens' 5th book and 4th novel - is an odd fish, isn't it? Give or take Martin Chuzzlewit, it's perhaps the most confusing of his "Big Fifteen". It's been fifteen years since I first read it as a boy, and I still don't know where I stand. This is Dickens at his most Victorian, most sentimental. The long march of Nell and her Grandfather captured the public imagination in 1840 in a way that people of our era will never truly understand. At the same time, this is a world peopled with characters perhaps not as truly electric as those in Nicholas Nickleby but a little bit more real. The characters here are still, for the most part, symbols and cardboard stands, but by now, Dickens is a master at the novel's structure. The poignancy of Nell, and of the "Marchioness", and the rabid charisma of Mister Quilp, perhaps guaranteed Dickens his celebrity that would keep him in the trade for another 30 years.

I'm not sure if this is really worth 4-stars. Characters like Mrs. Quilp threaten to show signs of a personality and then fade back into the wallpaper. Predictable moment is heaped on predictable moment, glued together with endless apostrophising and moralising. This is perhaps the most dated of Dickens' serious novels. Yet it's still a compelling read, filled with rich descriptions of character and place, with a sense of social seriousness that anchors the novel far stronger than most of its contemporaries. I may never truly understand the "Little Nell mania" of the 1840s, but I can at least appreciate the man behind it. ( )
  therebelprince | Oct 24, 2023 |
1841 original
  betty_s | Oct 16, 2023 |
Stories that Americans stormed the docks to obtain copies of this novel's final installment when it arrived are untrue, as demonstrated by Carra Glatt in this truly excellent essay from Ninteenth-Century Studies (which is unfortunately behind a paywall). Having read the novel, I agree that it must be untrue, because by that point the novel has gotten so boring that the only reason I can imagine storming the docks is to throw all the copies of the final installment into the sea, to save one having to read it. Like most Dickens novels, it starts out well, with Nell, her grandfather, and her friend Kit all sharply drawn in the usual Dickensian fashion. Good pathos and good comedy and good mystery. Nell and her grandfather taking to the road in desperation is well done, and there's so tense stuff as they set forth; Kit's mother provides some good comedy.

But like so many Dickens novels, I am finding, it fizzles away its good start. Soon Nell and her grandfather fade out of the story, and we are reading page upon page about these incredibly boring people adjacent to her family and oh my god please make it stop.
  Stevil2001 | Aug 11, 2023 |
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Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

Beautiful, honest Nell Trent lives with her devoted Grandfather in his Old Curiosity Shop, an enchanting shop of odds and ends. Desperate to make a better life for his Nell, Grandfather secretly gambles and gets deeply into debt with the unscrupulous Quilp. When what little money they have is lost in a game of cards, Quilp claims The Old Curiosity Shop as payment for the loans

Released in installments from 1840 to 1841, Charles Dicken's The Old Curiosity Shop caused such a sensation at the time that crowds of avid readers were waiting on the docks of New York to hear news of their heroine when the ship with the last episode approached the port.

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