Study Guide

Great Expectations

by Charles Dickens

Great Expectations Essay - Critical Context

Critical Context

Great Expectations was published in weekly installments in All the Year Round, a British paper. The first installment appeared in December, 1860; the last came out in August, 1861, the year that the novel was published in book form. It was at the urging of his friend Edward Bulwer-Lytton that Dickens revised his ending. Great Expectations is one of Dickens’ last two completed novels, the other being Our Mutual Friend (1864). Critics regard the two books as bringing to fulfillment the social themes that Dickens had been developing for nearly three decades. Young adult readers of Great Expectations will identify readily with the problems of Dickens’ characters.