Great Expectations (1861) is Charles Dickens' thirteenth novel. It is the second novel, after David Copperfield, to be fully narrated in the first person. Great Expectations is a bildungsroman, or a coming-of-age novel, and the story genre is Victorian Literature. It depicts the growth and personal development of an orphan named Pip. The novel was first published in serial form in Dickens' weekly periodical All the Year Round, from 1 December 1860 to August 1861. In October 1861, Chapman and Hall published the novel in three volumes. It is set among the marshes of Kent and in London in the early-to-mid 1800s. From the outset, the reader is "treated" by the terrifying encounter between Pip, the protagonist, and the escaped convict, Abel Magwitch. Great Expectations is a graphic book, full of extreme imagery, poverty, prison ships, "the hulks," barriers and chains, and fights to the death. It therefore combines intrigue and unexpected twists of autobiograhical detail in different tones. Regardless of its narrative technique, the novel reflects the events of the time, Dickens' concerns, and the relationship between society and man.
An absorbing mystery as well as a morality tale, the story of Pip, a poor village lad, and his expectations of wealth is Dickens at his most deliciously readable. The cast of characters includes kindly Joe Gargery, the loyal convict Abel Magwitch and the haunting Miss Havisham. If you have heartstrings, count on them being tugged.