Nicholas Nickleby Charles Dickens - Nicholas Nickleby or The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby is a novel by Charles Dickens. The story centres on the life and adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, a young man who must support his mother and sister after his father dies.When Nicholas Nickleby is left penniless after his father's death, he appeals to his wealthy uncle to help him find work and to protect his mother and sister. But Ralph Nickleby proves both hard-hearted and unscrupulous, and Nicholas finds himself forced to make his own way in the world. His adventures gave Dickens the opportunity to portray an extraordinary gallery of rogues and eccentrics: Wackford Squeers, the tyrannical headmaster of Dotheboys Hall, a school for unwanted boys, the slow-witted orphan Smike, rescued by Nicholas, the pretentious Mantalinis and the gloriously theatrical Mr and Mrs Crummels and their daughter, the 'infant phenomenon'. Like many of Dickens's novels, Nicholas Nickleby is characterised by his outrage at cruelty and social injustice, but it is also a flamboyantly exuberant work, whose loose, haphazard progress harks back to the picaresque novels of Tobias Smollett and Henry Fielding.Often neglected by critics, Nicholas Nickleby has never ceased to delight readers and is widely regarded as one of the greatest comic masterpieces of nineteenth-centure literature.