The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, is a comic novel by Charles Dickens. Originally published as a serial from 1838 to 1839, it was Dickens' third novel. The novel centers on the life and adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, a young man who must support his mother and sister after his father dies. His Uncle Ralph, who thinks Nicholas will never amount to anything, plays the role of principal antagonist. Instantly disliking Nicholas, Ralph sends him to teach in a school run by the stupidly sadistic Wackford Squeers. Nicholas decides to escape, taking with him the orphan Smike, one of Squeers's most abused young charges. The two embark on a series of adventurous encounters with an array of humanity's worst and best -- greedy fools, corrupt lechers, cheery innocents, and selfless benefactors. Beautifully illustrated, this classic tale will capture children's interest and spark their imagination inspiring a lifelong love of literature and reading.