Martin Chuzzlewit

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The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit (commonly known as Martin Chuzzlewit) is a novel by Charles Dickens, considered the last of his picaresque novels. It was originally serialised between 1842 and 1844. While he was writing it Dickens told a friend that he thought it was his best work, but it was one of his least popular novels. The late nineteenth century English novelist George Gissing read the novel in February 1888 "for refreshment" but felt that it showed "incomprehensible weakness of story". Like nearly all of Dickens's novels, Martin Chuzzlewit was first published in monthly instalments. Early sales of the monthly parts were disappointing, compared to previous works, so Dickens changed the plot to send the title character to the United States. This allowed the author to portray the United States, which he had visited in 1842, satirically, as a near-wilderness with pockets of civilisation filled with deceptive and self-promoting hucksters. The main theme of the novel, according to Dickens's preface, is selfishness, portrayed in a satirical fashion using all the members of the Chuzzlewit family. The novel is also notable for two of Dickens's great villains, Seth Pecksniff and Jonas Chuzzlewit. It is dedicated to Angela Georgina Burdett-Coutts, a friend of Dickens's.
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original title: The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit
date of publication: 1844
genre: Social commentary, novel
narrative location: England
follows: American Notes
followed by: Dombey and Son

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