(Book Jacket Status: Not Jacketed)At The Center of Martin Chuzzlewit -- the novel Angus Wilson called "one of the most sheerly exciting of all Dickens stories" -- is Martin himself, very old, very rich, very much on his guard. What he suspects (with good reason) is that every one of Iris close and distant relations. now converging in droves on the country inn where they believe he is dying, will stop at nothing to become the inheritor of Iris great fortune.Having unjustly disinherited Iris grandson, young Martin, the old fellow now trusts no one but Mary Graham, the pretty girl hired as Iris companion. Though she has been made to understand she will not inherit a penny, she remains old Chuzzlewit's only ally. As the viperish relations and hangers-on close in on him, we meet some of Dickens's most marvelous characters -- among them Mr. Pecksniff (whose name has entered the language as a synonym for ultimate hypocrisy and self-importance); the fabulously evil Jonas Chuzzlewit; the strutting reptile Tigg Montague; and the ridiculous, terrible, comical Sairey Gamp.Reluctantly heading for America in search of opportunity, the penniless young Martin goes west, rides a riverboat, and is overtaken by bad company and mortal danger -- while the battle for his grandfather's gold reveals new depths of family treachery, cunning, and ruthlessness. And in scene after wonderful scene of conflict and suspense, of high excitement and fierce and hilarious satire, Dickens's huge saga of greed versus decency comes to its magnificent climax.
About Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens was born in a little house in Landport, Portsea, England, on February 7, 1812. The second of eight children, he grew up in a family frequently beset by financial insecurity. At age eleven, Dickens was taken out of school and sent to work in London backing warehouse, where his job was to paste labels on bottles for six shillings a week. His father John Dickens, was a warmhearted but improvident man. When he was condemned the Marshela Prison for unpaid debts, he unwisely agreed that Charles should stay in lodgings and continue working while the rest of the family joined him in jail. This three-month separation caused Charles much pain; his experiences as a child alone in a huge city–cold, isolated with barely enough to eat–haunted him for the rest of his life.
When the family fortunes improved, Charles went back to school, after which he became an office boy, a freelance reporter and finally an author. With Pickwick Papers (1836-7) he achieved immediate fame; in a few years he was easily the post popular and respected writer of his time. It has been estimated that one out of every ten persons in Victorian England was a Dickens reader. Oliver Twist (1837), Nicholas Nickleby (1838-9) and The Old Curiosity Shop (1840-41) were huge successes. Martin Chuzzlewit (1843-4) was less so, but Dickens followed it with his unforgettable, A Christmas Carol (1843), Bleak House (1852-3), Hard Times (1854) and Little Dorrit (1855-7) reveal his deepening concern for the injustices of British Society. A Tale of Two Cities (1859), Great Expectations (1860-1) and Our Mutual Friend (1864-5) complete his major works.
Dickens's marriage to Catherine Hoggarth produced ten children but ended in separation in 1858. In that year he began a series of exhausting public readings; his health gradually declined. After putting in a full day's work at his home at Gads Hill, Kent on June 8, 1870, Dickens suffered a stroke, and he died the following day.
Martin Chuzzlewit is a dramatic serial on Masterpiece Theatre, a PBS television series presented by WGBH-TV, Boston, made possible by a grant from Mobil Corporation.