Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

Summary Chapter 1

The narrator, presumably Boz, describes the minutes (documentation) of a meeting held by the Pickwick Club on May 12, 1827. The Pickwick Club is a club dedicated “to the advancement of knowledge, and the diffusion of learning.” Its members include Samuel Pickwick, Tracy Tupman, Augustus Snodgrass, and Nathaniel Winkle who are to provide periodic reports (to the Club) of their travels which are financed out of their own pockets, meaning that they are gentlemen of leisure whose independent means allow them to indulge in such pastimes. Samuel Pickwick, the founder of the club, is bald, spectacled, and charismatic. Tupman has boyish charms, but with the advancing years has gotten fat. Snodgrass is a poet, and Winkle is a sportsman.

The minutes relate Mr. Pickwick’s determination to revitalize the art of traveling only to be taken to task by Mr. Blotton to whom the deterioration of the art is presumably attributed to. Nonetheless, Mr. Blotton stands by his argument, asserting that Samuel Pickwick is a humbug when Mr. A. Snodgrass objects, arguing that such talk is unbecoming to the dignity of the Pickwick Club. Mr. Blotton is firm in his stance, however. He adds that he meant Samuel Pickwick is a humbug in the Pickwickian sense. The elaboration takes off the edge of the humbug insult. Samuel Pickwick assures Mr. Blotton that the Pickwickian sense also applies to Samuel Pickwick’s indirect accusation of Mr. Blotton (as the man responsible for the art of travel’s deterioration) and all is well.

Charles Dickens