Ragged Dick

Introduction

Ragged Dick; or, Street Life in New York with the Boot Blacks is a Bildungsroman by Horatio Alger Jr., which was serialized in Student and Schoolmate in 1867 and expanded for publication as a full-length novel in May 1868 by the publisher A. K. Loring. It was the first volume in the six-volume Ragged Dick Series and became Alger's best-selling work. The tale follows a poor bootblack's rise to middle-class respectability in 19th-century New York City. It had a favorable reception. Student and Schoolmate reported their readers were delighted with the first installment, and Putnam's Magazine thought boys would love the novel. One modern scholar considers the story a "puerile fantasy" about class assimilation. The plot and theme were repeated in Alger's subsequent novels and became the subject of parodies and satires.

Ragged Dick and Alger's Silas Snobden's Office Boy inspired the musical comedy Shine! in 1982.


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