Lone Star College-Kingwood Library
Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth, England, in 1812. His father, employed in the pay office of the British navy, was not a particularly good money manager and often in debt. He was able to send his son to a good school when he was young, but by the time young Dickens was twelve, financial troubles landed his father in prison. Dickens was sent to a boot blacking company to work off his father's debts. The few miserable months he spent pasting labels on bottles of black shoe polish loomed over Dickens throughout his life and colored many of his stories. His loquacious mother, Elizabeth, is considered to be the model for Nicholas Nickleby's mother.
After his formal education ended at age 15, Dickens clerked for two years in a law office. As a skilled shorthand reporter, he prepared reports for lawyers before becoming a reporter for the Morning Chronicle. By the time he was 24, Dickens was able to support himself solely with his writing. The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby was completed in 1839 when Dickens was 27. Like Dickens' other novels, Nicholas Nickleby was first published in installments over a period of eighteen months.
Charles Dickens died in 1870, halfway through writing The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
When Mr. Nickleby dies penniless, his wife, daughter Kate, and son Nicholas turned to their Uncle Ralph for assistance. Ralph, a mean-spirited miser, helped them by securing menial positions for Kate and Nicholas. These positions paid poorly and offended Kate's and Nicholas's senses of decency, and they soon were left to fend for themselves. Nicholas, meanwhile, had a new companion, an abused and brain-damaged student, while Kate gained the attentions of a pair of insolent followers who insulted and accosted her at every opportunity.
Our hero, Nicholas, works his way out of his family's desperate situation by doggedness, impetuous spirits, and good fortune.
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby is a romantic comedy with a confusing melodramatic plot. While character development is somewhat shallow, the descriptions of people and places are eloquent.
| Librarian Talk ... about Books!
Books offer helpful information about historical background, settings, and authors. Literary criticism may be compiled in a book. The Lone Star College Library Catalog is online. If you want criticism of the novel itself, try the search words Nicholas Nickleby and criticism. For setting and historical background, search for England Nineteenth Century.
More about...Finding Books (31 sec.)
You will find books about Charles Dickens in PR4556 to PR4594. Those that have information about Nicholas Nickleby include:
Librarian Talk about Finding Journal and Newspaper Articles!
Electronic databases are purchased by the libraries for your research use. To find articles in newspapers and journals, letters, reference books, illustrations, photographs and more, use your updated library card to login to the following databases. If you find an interesting article that is not full-text, you can request the article online. Or, one of our Reference Librarians can help you get the article. They will need full bibliographic information, your name and address, and your library card/ID barcode number. Send your phone number as well, so they can contact you if they need to. There is a time delay when acquiring articles from outside our system. There is some overlap of articles in the following databases. However, we encourage you to use more than one. All are excellent sources for this topic.
HINT: For a full list of article databases, go to electronic databases and use the barcode number from your Lone Star College ID or library card to login (if not on campus).
Search the library databases for scholarly journal articles on The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.
| Librarian Talk about the Internet!
The internet can be a wonderful source of original documents. Browse the sites we have suggested below. Remember, you do want to find reputable sites. Look at:
Librarian Talk about Getting Help!
Support for a successful paper is more than finding the right resources. Putting it all together takes time and effort. Sometimes it takes additional help from the librarians or tutors. Please consider the following resources if you need additional help. Remember, the expert on the assignment is your professor; use your LSC Online in-class email to contact her.
Citing Sources Using the Library MLA Style Guide | Lone Star College-Kingwood Library guide. Examples of both paper and electronic citations.
Avoiding Plagiarism | Excellent information and guide on how to avoid plagiarism from the Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University.
University of Texas Copyright Crash Course | This helpful guide on copyright is suggested by Lone Star College-Kingwood Teaching and Learning Center.
Learning Center | Tutoring and other services for LSC-Kingwood students
Page by Sue Goodwin, Librarian, 2004. Updated 06/12 cw/jfr