David Copperfield is Charles Dickens' most autobiographical novel and, like his other works, exposes the underbelly of human life in Victorian society. It starts with David Copperfield's unhappy childhood. David's father dies when he is young and his mother marries an unpleasant man who beats David. One day, David decides to retaliate and bites his stepfather's hand, upon which he is sent away to boarding school. However, with his mother's death, David's stepfather has him removed from the school and makes him work in a factory.
This incident is taken directly from Charles Dickens' own life. When Dickens' father went to prison as a result of unpaid debts, young Charles was forced to work at a boot blacking factory from 8 am to 8 pm, walking three miles to get to work and back. This episode of his youth is echoed in David's being forced to do the same. Eventually, however, David moves away and gets his aunt, Betsey Trotwood, to take him in. Betsey is eccentric but does not treat him badly and David continues his education.
As a grown man, David becomes a proctor, another incident taken from Dickens' own life, since Dickens first trained to be a lawyer and then realized that it wasn't the profession for him. David falls in love with his boss' daughter, Dora, and marries her. She is essentially a spoilt child who has no idea about housekeeping but they love each other and they're happy. Meanwhile, David's school friend Steerforth persuades David's old nurse's daughter, Little Em'ly, to run away with him, thereby ruining her, since he has no intention of marrying her.
As an adult, David comes into contact with a large cast of characters and, each time, he must consult his heart and decide who to trust and who to avoid. When Dora dies of a miscarriage, David ends up marrying his childhood friend, Agnes, who, unlike Dora, has a great deal of common sense. Given that Dickens is a sentimentalist, he makes sure that everyone gets what they deserve. David eventually gfinds happiness while the evildoers must suffer for their crimes.
Dickens' life story is an inspiring one because he rose above his mean beginnings, becoming a reporter and later, a fiction writer. He married an editor's daughter and was with her for twenty years, fathering ten children before he fell in love with an actress half his age and moved in with her instead. He wrote fifteen novels and many more short stories and non-fiction articles. He also did many readings of his works, really acting out the various parts. However, the strain of all this work finally proved too much for him and he suffered two strokes, which finally led to his death.
Download David Copperfield now from The Audio Bookstore for an in-depth look at Victorian society and mores. Even though Dickens wrote so many years ago, his insight into human nature was so great that his characters resonate with us even today.
David Copperfield is the quintessential novel by England’s most beloved novelist. Based in part on Dickens’ own life, it is the story of a young man’s journey from an unhappy and impoverished childhood to the discovery of his vocation as a successful novelist. Among its gloriously vivid cast of characters, he encounters his tyrannical stepfather, Mr. Murdstone; his formidable aunt, Betsey Trotwood; the eternally humble yet treacherous Uriah Heep; the frivolous, enchanting Dora; and one of literature’s great comic creations, the magnificently impecunious Mr. Micawber—a character resembling Dickens’ own father.
In David Copperfield—the novel he described as his “favorite child”—Dickens drew revealingly on his own experiences to create one of his most exuberant and enduringly popular works, filled with tragedy and comedy in equal measure. Download and start listening now!