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Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (Version 3)
Peter John Keeble
Nicholas Nickleby was Dickens's third novel following on from Pickwick Papers and Oliver twist. It has a cast of wonderful characters that include Wackford Squeers, the reprehensible and villainous headmaster whose reign of terror at his school in Yorkshire resulted in the abuse and deaths of many of his unwanted and orphaned children, Mr Vincent Crummles and his hilariously inept touring company, the munificent Cheeryble brothers, Ralph Nickleby, Nicholas's uncle, a mean spirited man who is driven by avarice and irrational hatred of his nephew, Smike a boy brutalised by Squeers and his family leaving him mentally and physically handicapped and Mrs Nickleby, Nicholas’s mother, who is pretentiously genteel and somewhat garrulous. There are many more finely drawn characters who combine to make this not only a comic masterpiece of the period but more than one love story threads its way through the dialogue. Probably what we would call today a ‘Romacom’ and as such Nicholas Nickleby never ceases to delight. (Summary by Peter Keeble)
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