Great Expectations


Original cover from Great Expectations periodical

Original cover from Great Expectations periodical

Great Expectations is the story of Pip, an orphan boy adopted by a blacksmith’s family, who has good luck and great expectations, and then loses both his luck and his expectations. Through this rise and fall, however, Pip learns how to find happiness. He learns the meaning of friendship and the meaning of love and, of course, becomes a better person for it.



Great Expectations was published in Harper’s Weekly published from November 1860 to August 1861 and in All the Year Round from December 1860 to August 1861.



item In 2002, Great Expectations was included in a Guardian poll of a the top 100 books of all time, nominated by writers from around the world (the only one of Dickens works to make the 100).

item In 2003, Great Expectations came in 17th place in a search by the BBC for the nation’s best-loved novel, the highest Dickens novel in a compilation of the top 200 works. Also in the poll was David Copperfield (34), A Christmas Carol (47), A Tale Of Two Cities (63), Bleak House (79), The Pickwick Papers (106) and Oliver Twist (182).

item In 2008, Great Expectations came 10th place in a search by the Telegraph for the top 100 books, the highest Dickens novel in the list and ahead of five other Dickens works that made the list; Bleak House (23), David Copperfield (32), A Tale Of Two Cities (57), Oliver Twist (71) and A Christmas Carol (81).



Poster from a 1998 adaptation of Great Expectations, which set the story in modern New York.

Screen adaptations.

Great Expectations has been filmed for the cinema or television numerous times dating back to a 1917 silent film, starring Jack Pickford.

Arguably the most celebrated adaptation is a 1946 version directed by David Lean, and winner of two academy awards. It starred John Mills as Pip, Bernard Miles as Joe, Alec Guinness as Herbert, Jean Simmons as Young Estella and Valerie Hobson as the adult Estella.  In 1999 the film came fifth in a poll of the top 100 British films by the British Film Institute.


Discover Great Expectations.

You can read all of Great Expectations on The Circumlocution Office, discover the main characters or read leading quotations from the novel. If you want the location of particular Great Expectations pages or chapters for reference or academic purposes you can use our study links page.

Use the navigation bar at the very top of this page to move between the chapters of the novel.


Further Reading.



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