David Copperfield (with Book Text)

"David Copperfield" or "The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery" was first published in 1850. Like all except five of his works, it originally appeared in serial form. Many elements within the novel follow events in Dickens' own life, and it is probably the most autobiographical of all of his novels.

The story traces the life of David Copperfield from childhood to maturity. David was born in Blunderstone, Suffolk, near Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England, in 1820, six months after the death of his father. David spends his early years in relative happiness with his loving but frail mother and their kindly housekeeper, Peggotty. When he is seven years old his mother marries Edward Murdstone. David is given good reason to dislike his stepfather and has similar feelings for Murdstone's sister Jane, who moves into the house soon afterwards. Murdstone attempts to thrash David for falling behind in his studies. David bites him and soon afterwards is sent away to a boarding school, Salem House, with a ruthless headmaster, Mr. Creakle. There he befriends James Steerforth and Tommy Traddles.