With an Introduction and Notes by Dr John Bowen, Department of English, University of Keele. Illustrations by Hablot K. Browne (Phiz). Martin Chuzzlewit is Charles Dickens' comic masterpiece about which his biographer, Forster, noted that it marked a crucial phase in the author's development as he began to delve deeper into the 'springs of character'. Old Martin Chuzzlewit, tormented by the greed and selfishness of his family, effectively drives his grandson, young Martin, to undertake a voyage to America. It is a voyage which will have crucial consequences not only for young Martin, but also for his grandfather and his grandfather's servant, Mary Graham with whom young Martin is in love. The commercial swindle of the Anglo-Bengalee company and the fraudulent Eden Land Corporation have a topicality in our own time. This strong sub-plot shows evidence of Dickens' mastery of crime where characters such as the criminal Jonas Chuzzlewit, the old nurse Mrs Gamp, and the arch-hypocrite Seth Pecksniff are the equal to any in his other great novels. Generations of readers have also delighted in Dickens' wonderful description of the London boarding-house - 'Todgers'.
From the Back Cover
At the center of Martin Chuzzlewit is Martin himself, very old, very rich, very much on his guard. What he suspects (with good reason) is that every one of his close and distant relations, now converging in droves on the country inn where they believe he is dying, will stop at nothing to become the inheritor of his great fortune. Having unjustly disinherited his grandson, young Martin, the old fellow now trusts no one but Mary Graham, the pretty girl hired as his companion. Though she has been made to understand she will not inherit a penny, she remains old Chuzzlewit's only ally. As the viperish relations and hangers-on close in on him, we meet some of Dickens's most marvelous characters - among them Mr. Pecksniff (whose name has entered the language as a synonym for ultimate hypocrisy and self-importance): the fabulously evil Jonas Chuzzlewit: the strutting reptile Tigg Montague: and the ridiculous, terrible, comical Sairey Gamp.