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Essential (or popular) Dickens?

January 5, 2012

Here is a list of some of the major works by Charles Dickens (followed the year of completion of its original serial version) and some Dickens collections that I own; I am interested to see which Dickens novels are considered important enough to be in collections.

A = Annotated Dickens, a pair of volumes published by Clarkson Potter as part of their “Annotated series” (out of print)

P = Penguin Classic’s Major Works of Charles Dickens, a box set containing hardcover versions of some Penguin Classics editions

N = volume is contained in the Norton Critical Edition series.

B = Barnes and Noble volume Charles Dickens:  Five Novels.

D = contained in DVD version in BBC collections (volume 1, 2)

Just for grins, I added up the total check marks for each major work to get a total – representing a rather unscientific popularity score. 

Despite the sum not having even a shred of scientific respectability, I have to say that the totals mostly came out the same as my assessment; although I would rank Pickwick Papers rather higher than on the list.







Pickwick Papers (1837)       2
Oliver Twist (1839) 5
Nicholas Nickleby (1839)           0
Old Curiosity Shop (1841)         1
Barnaby Rudge (1841)         1
Christmas Carol (1843)     3
Dombey and Son (1848)         1
Martin Chuzzlewit (1844)         1
David Copperfield (1850)   4
Bleak House (1853)     3
Hard Times (1854)   4
Little Dorrit (1857)           0
Tale of Two Cities (1859)     3
Great Expectations (1861) 5
Our Mutual Friend (1865)         1
Mystery of Edward Drood (1870)           0
contains other short stories or Christmas stories         1


In this 200th Dickens anniversary year, what do you consider as his most important works?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 5, 2012 7:17 pm

    I guess I agree with you somewhat: David Copperfield, Tale of Two Cities, and Tale of Two Cities. It would be interesting to see which are sold and bought most in 2012.

  2. January 5, 2012 10:52 pm

    Tale of Two Cities — so good it needs to be mentioned twice (once for each city)!

    For Oprah Winfrey’s 65th entry in her bookclub series, she chose Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations as her books (admitting that she had never read Dickens before). I don’t follow Winfrey, but I’ve heard that her bookclub selections have resulted in startlingly high sales, so it may be difficult even for an anniversary year to match that.

    But Dickens is so accessible and so easy to read (and so entertaining) that he really should generate some sales.

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