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The Old Curiosity Shop is the story of Little Nell, a beautiful and virtuous young girl who lives with her grandfather in his shop of curiosities. Her only friend is Kit, an honest young lad who works at the shop, and whom she is teaching to write. Unbeknownst to Nell, her grandfather is obsessed with their precarious financial position, trying to make Nell a good inheritance by winning at cards. He keeps these nocturnal activities a secret but borrows heavily from the evil Quilp. Losing everything, the grandfather and Nell are forced to go on the run.Charles Dickens was the foremost English novelist of the Victorian era and considered one of the English language’s greatest writers; he was acclaimed for his rich storytelling and memorable characters, and achieved massive worldwide popularity during in his lifetime. His first full novel, The Pickwick Papers, brought him immediate fame and this continued right through his career. He maintained a high quality in all his writings and, although rarely departing greatly from his typical “Dickensian” method of always attempting to write a great “story” in a somewhat conventional manner (the dual narrators of Bleak House are a notable exception). He experimented with varied themes, characterizations and genres. Some of these experiments were more successful than others and the public’s taste and appreciation of his many works have varied over time. He was usually keen to give his readers what they wanted, and the monthly or weekly publication of his works in episodes meant that the books could change as the story proceeded at the whim of the public.
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The sound of Little Nell clattering hurriedly over cobblestones immediately sets the stage by bringing to mind the narrow and dangerous streets of Victorian London. No fewer than 20 performers are called upon to conjure up the Dickensian world of wanderers, ne'er-do-wells, con artists, and kind Samaritans--and each performance is excellent. Tom Courtenay plays the sadistic Quilp, "the ugliest dwarf that could be seen anywhere for a penny" with magnificent sarcastic glee, and Teresa Gallagher's silvery, childlike voice is ideally suited for the role of the angelic Little Nell.
Nell is on her way home to the dusty shop where she and her grandfather live a rather mysterious life. The old man disappears every night--visiting gambling dens with the naive hope of winning a fortune. Instead he sinks deeper and deeper into debt. Enter Daniel Quilp, moneylender, who becomes furious upon learning that the grandfather is a pauper and will never be able to repay his tremendous debt. Quilp seizes the curiosity shop and begins making lecherous overtures to Nell, so she and her grandfather steal away one morning to seek their fortunes elsewhere. But the demonic dwarf is never far behind.
Sound effects are employed judiciously and serve mainly as a springboard for the listener's imagination. The sound of a crying baby is enough to convey the image of crowded lodgings and genteel Victorian poverty, while raucous laughter and high-pitched squawks evoke the barely controlled chaos of an outdoor Punch and Judy show. The dramatization pares Dickens's weighty novel down to two and one-half hours, but does so skillfully, retaining Dickens's wit, marvelous dialogue, and delightful characterizations. (Running time: 155 minutes, 2 cassettes) --Elizabeth LaskeyFrom the Publisher:
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Book Description Book Of The Month Club, 1998. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0965057496
Book Description Book Of The Month Club, 1998. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0965057496
Book Description Tristan Press Book. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # 5795990
Book Description Book Of The Month Club, 1998. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110965057496