Author(s): Charles Dickens
'But what added most to the grotesque expression of his face, was a ghastly smile, which, appearing to be the mere result of habit and to have no connexion with any mirthful or complacent feeling, constantly revealed the few discoloured fangs that were yet scattered in his mouth, and gave him the aspect of a panting dog'. The tale of Little Nell gripped the nation when it first appeared in 1841. Described as a 'tragedy of sorrows', the story tells of Nell uprooted from a secure and innocent childhood and cast into a world where evil takes many shapes, the most fascinating of which is the stunted, lecherous Quilp. Blending realism with non-realistic genres such as fairy-tale, allegory, and pastoral, the tale of Nell's tragedy contains some of Dickens most memorable comic and grotesque creations, including the dwarf Daniel Quilp, Dick Swiveller and Kit Nubbles. The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the first novels to the beginning of the First World War.
Charles Dickens (1812-70) had his first, astounding success with his first novel The Pickwick Papers and never looked back. In an extraordinarily full life he wrote, campaigned and spoke on a huge range of issues, and was involved in many of the key aspects of Victorian life, by turns cajoling, moving and irritating. He completed numerous volumes of journalism and fourteen full-length novels, of which The Old Curiosity Shop is fourth. It was an instant bestseller. The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, Barnaby Rudge, A Christmas Carol, Martin Chuzzlewit, Dombey and Son, David Copperfield, Bleak House, Hard Times, Little Dorrit, A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, Our Mutual Friend and The Mystery of Edwin Drood are also published in the Penguin English Library.