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    Charles Dickens s penultimate novel, Great Expectations , received universal acclaim upon its release in 1860-61. A masterful tale of memorable characters; among them, an escaped convict, an eccentric old woman, a kind and generous blacksmith and a beautiful but distant young girl, Dickens called it a very fine, new and grotesque idea." As in his earlier novel, David Copperfield , the story is narrated in the first person and traces the coming of age of the central character, a young boy named Pip. The themes explore wealth, poverty, love and rejection and the ultimate conquest of good over evil. A masterpiece of 19th century literature, it has inspired many other authors and has been adapted to film and theater numerous times.