54 pages 1 hour read

Charles Dickens

Pickwick Papers

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1836

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Chapters 1-11

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 1 Summary

Content Warning: This section features discussions of sexual assault, enslavement, domestic abuse, sexism, racism, and fatphobia.

An editor, the narrator of the novel, presents a transcript of a meeting of the Pickwick Club, a group of travelers and self-proclaimed philosophers who meet in London and enjoy observing the places and cultures of other parts of England. The club is led by the club’s founder and chairperson, Mr. Samuel Pickwick, an elderly bespeckled scholar and retired businessperson who is beloved by all of the club’s members and are his closest confidants. Tracy Tupman is a man with the characteristics of a boy who is ruled by “admiration of the fair sex” (13). Augustus Snodgrass is a poet (though the novel pointedly never mentions him writing poetry), and Nathaniel Winkle greatly enjoys sporting (shooting, horseback riding, cricket, and other games and activities). Pickwick comments to the others how fame is important to all men in different ways and is part of their Pickwickian theory. The editor concludes the chapter by explaining that the following text is based on travel letters and manuscripts collected from the Pickwick Club and written in narrative form.