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March 2012 Book Salon:
Great Expectations

  • This month we're reading Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Our faculty host is Claire Jarvis.

    Listen to an interview with our Book Salon host.

    "Pip's voice, from credulous child to conniving young adult, pulls us in from the very first page. And this novel, one of the most accomplished of Charles Dickens' career, turns the writer's satiric eye on a problem that plagues many of us: what happens when the world we wish we lived in never comes to pass"

    Claire Jarvis

About this month's book selection

First published in serial form from 1860 to 1861, this coming-of-age tale centers around orphan Philip “Pip” Pirrip. One day, a mysterious benefactor wills him a fortune, giving him the chance to train in London to become a gentleman. As he climbs up the socioeconomic ladder, he meets a cast of colorful characters: A boarding school-educated gentleman turned escaped convict.  A wealthy old spinster who stopped all the clocks in her mansion at the time of her wedding day, when her prospective groom jilted her at the altar. A beautiful seductress who consciously breaks men’s hearts yet struggles with suppressed feelings of her own.

Filled with eye-popping plot twists by the so-called master of Victorian prose and inventor of the modern novel, this novel touches upon timeless themes: Love. Greed. Crime. Guilt. Social Class. Revenge. Ambition. In short, it has all the elements that go into making a gratifying classic well-loved by generation after generation.