"Of all my books," says Charles Dickens in his preface to this immortal novel, "I like this the best. . . . Like many fond parents, I have in my heart of hearts a favorite child. And his name is David Copperfield." When "David Copperfield' appeared in 1850, after "Dombey and Son" and before "Bleak House," it became so popular that its only rival was "Pickwick." Beneath the fiction lies much of the author's personal life, yet it is not an autobiography. The story treats of David's sad experiences as a child, his youth at school, and his struggles for a livelihood, and leaves him in early manhood, prosperous and happily married. Pathos, humor, and skill in delineation, give vitality to this remarkable work; and nowhere has Dickens filled his canvas with more vivid and diversified characters. Forster says that the author's favorites were the Peggotty family, composed of David's nurse Peggotty, who was married to Barkis, the carrier; Daniel Peggotty, her brother, a Yarmouth fisherman; Ham Peggotty, his nephew; the doleful Mrs. Gummidge; and Little Emily, ruined by David's schoolmate, Steerforth. "It has been their fate," says Forster, "as with all the leading figures of his invention, to pass their names into the language and become types; and he has nowhere given happier embodiment to that purity of homely goodness, which, by the kindly and all-reconciling influences of humor, may exalt into comeliness and even grandeur the clumsiest forms of humanity." ...
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