David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
David Copperfield is more or less an autobiography of Charles Dicken' life. More or less meaning that in most cases he does not use actual names, but makes up the scenery and names of the people, but the events and general meaning remain the same. To create such an atmosphere and still have it retain the same essential elements of a true autobiography is an act of shear genius in my opinion. The book is divided into two basic parts - David as a boy, (Freddie Bartholemew) and David the young man (Frank Lawton). David's father dies six months before he is born. David and his mother (Elizabeth) are very close until she marries Mr. Murdstone, who is a cold, mean man who dominates the relationship between Elizabeth and David; but before any of that happens, David spends a few weeks with Peggoty at her brother Dan's house. David meets to kids - Little Em'ly, and Ham. When David's mother dies in still childbirth, he is shipped off the London to work where he meets W.C. Fields (Wilkins Micawber), who let's David stay with him. He turns out to be a fraud, but does it in such a weird way that it's hard not to like him. Micawber is in great financial trouble, and is always expecting something to turn up. Micawber is later arrested and sent to prison for his debts.
David's last stop in his youth is Dover, where he lives with his fathers sister, Betswet Trotwood, who lives with crazy cousin Mr. Dick. David takes to Mr. Dick right off, and again, David is happy. He is sent to live with the Wickfield family, which includes old Mr. Wickfield who is a well off, but alcoholic, businessman; his daughter Agnes who is David's age, and the clerk, Uriah Heep. By the time David graduates from school, Agnes has fallen in love with David (although he doesn't know it yet) Mr. Wickfield has fallen under the influence of Uriah Heep, and Heep has hired Mr. Micawber. David returns to London to become a writer where David meets up with Steerforth whom he once knew in school. The two soon become very good friends. Together, they attend an opera where David is introduced to Dora who will eventually become his bride. Later, David takes Steerforth to meet the Peggotys. This turned out to be a complete disaster! Em'ly was now grown up, is engaged to marry Ham, but falls in love with Steerforth, who takes her away and abandons her in Italy. Ham and Steerforth eventually die together when Steerforth's yacht sinks in a storm and Ham dies trying to save the ship. David's marriage to Dora hurt Agnes very deeply. Their happiness isn't long lasting when Dora soon dies of a strange disease after they are married. Agnes becomes threatened by Uriah Heep, who has taken over the business and now wants to marry Agnes. Heep is eventually discovered by Micawber, and he returns to his umble self and the day is saved. To put a great ending to the book, David confesses his love to Agnes.
Preface to the Charles Dickens Edition
I REMARKED in the original Preface to this Book, that I did not find it easy to get sufficiently far away from it, in the first sensations of having finished it, to refer to it with the composure which this formal heading would seem to require. My interest in it was so recent and strong, and my mind was so divided between pleasure and regret - pleasure in the achievement of a long design, regret in the separation from many companions - that I was in danger of wearying the reader with personal confidences and private emotions. Besides which, all that I could have said of the Story to any purpose, I had endeavoured to say in it. It would concern the reader little, perhaps, to know how sorrowfully the pen is laid down at the close of a two-years' imaginative task; or how an Author feels as if he were dismissing some portion of himself into the shadowy world, when a crowd of the creatures of his brain are going from him for ever. Yet, I had nothing else to tell; unless, indeed, I were to confebe of less moment still), that no one can ever believe this Narrative, in the reading, more than I believed it in the writing. So true are these avowals at the present day, that I can now only take the reader into one confidence more. Of all my books, I like this the best. It will be easily believed that I am a fond parent to every child of my fancy, and that no one can ever love that family as dearly as I love them. But, like many fond parents, I have in my heart of hearts a favourite child. And his name is DAVID COPPERFIELD. 1869