Set partly in the United States, this novel includes a searing satire on mid-nineteenth-century America. Martin Chuzzlewit is the story of two Chuzzlewits, Martin and Jonas, who have inherited the characteristic Chuzzlewit selfishness. It contrasts their diverse fates: moral redemption and worldly success for one and increasingly desperate crime for the other. In her Introduction to this new edition, Patricia Ingham discusses how, in writing a story that was meant only to recommend goodness and innocence, Dickens succeeded in exploring the intertwining of moral sensibility and brutality.
Charles Dickens—Martin Chuzzlewit