Great Expectations voted favourite Charles Dickens novel
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Great Expectations voted favourite Charles Dickens novel

4th October 2011

Great Expectations has topped a poll of the favourite Charles Dickens novels carried out by the Guardian to coincide with the author's 200th birthday.

The novel, originally published in serial form in the publication All the Year Round between December 1860 and August 1861, was the clear winner with a quarter of the votes cast.

Bleak House came second with a 17 per cent share of the votes, while David Copperfield – which Dickens himself classed as his 'favourite child' – came third with 9.2 per cent.

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, an expert in 19th century literature and author of the book Becoming Dickens: The Invention of a Novelist, told the Guardian that Great Expectations is his favourite Dickens novel for many reasons.

'It's hard not to be fond of a novel that so perfectly reflects its author's restless, rummaging imagination.

'Few works of fiction have enjoyed such a lively creative aftermath,' he added, pointing to the book's influence on countless other works and aspects of society, from wine sellers named Grape Expectations to Peter Carey's novel Jack Maggs, which the author admits was heavily influenced by Dickens' classic tale.

The least popular novel in the list was, perhaps unsurprisingly, the unfinished work The Mystery of Edwin Drood, though even that book will remain in the public consciousness thanks to an upcoming BBC Two adaptation set to be screened next year to coincide with Dickens' 200th birthday.

Meanwhile, the enduring appeal of Great Expectations will be illustrated in a BBC One version being screened this Christmas and a film adaptation by One Day novelist David Nicholls, which begins filming later this year. 

© W&G Foyle Ltd