“A novel by Charles Dickens (1812-70), published in 1860-1. The ‘expectations’ are those of the central character, Pip, who starts as a simple country boy. As he grows older he receives money and hints that he might expect much more; he sets himself up as a gentleman and disowns his humble beginnings. He believes the elderly Miss Haversham is his benefactor, but it turns out to be Magwitch, the convict he helped to escape as a child. He is spoilt by his expectations, but when penury strikes he returns to a life of honest toil.”
Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.