Charles Dickens: Martin Chuzzlewit

(4641 words)

Martin Chuzzlewit is arguably, as James R. Kincaid puts it, Dickens’s “funniest novel” (132). It is a work transitional between the loosely plotted comedy of The Old Curiosity Shop (1840-1) and the more tightly plotted social criticism of Dombey and Son (1846-8). It is built around the tale of the misanthropic and selfish Martin Chuzzlewit whose wealthy grandfather (of the same name) denies his suit to marry a young orphan he has adopted, Mary Graham, and who then ships for America as an architect for the Eden Land Corporation (a name which satirically conjoins paradise to capitalism), a fraudulent concern which ruins and nearly kills him, thus allowing him to return to England a sadder and wiser man, now …

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White, Adam. "Martin Chuzzlewit". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 29 August 2013
[, accessed 28 September 2016.]