Charles Dickens is the acclaimed definitive biography by bestselling author Claire Tomalin
Charles Dickens was a phenomenon: a demonicly hardworking journalist, the father of ten children, a tireless walker and traveller, a supporter of liberal social causes, but most of all a great novelist - the creator of characters who live immortally in the English imagination: the Artful Dodger, Mr Pickwick, Pip, David Copperfield, Little Nell, Lady Dedlock, and many more.
At the age of twelve he was sent to work in a blacking factory by his affectionate but feckless parents. From these unpromising beginnings, he rose to scale all the social and literary heights, entirely through his own efforts. When he died, the world mourned, and he was buried - against his wishes - in Westminster Abbey.Yet the brilliance concealed a divided character: a republican, he disliked America; sentimental about the family in his writings, he took up passionately with a young actress; usually generous, he cut off his impecunious children.
From the award-winning author of Samuel Pepys, Charles Dickens: A Life paints an unforgettable portrait of Dickens, capturing brilliantly the complex character of this great genius. If you loved Great Expectations, Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol, this book is invaluable reading.
'By far the most humane and imaginatively sympathetic account yet for the general reader' Amanda Craig, New Statesman
Claire Tomalin is the award-winning author of eight highly acclaimed biographies, including: The Life and Death of Mary Wollstonecraft; Shelley and His World; Katherine Mansfield: A Secret Life; The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens; Mrs Jordan's Profession; Jane Austen: A Life; Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self; Thomas Hardy: The Time-Torn Man and, most recently, Charles Dickens: A Life. A former literary editor of the New Statesman and the Sunday Times, she is married to the playwright and novelist Michael Frayn.
veryone finds their own version of Charles Dickens , concludes award-winning British biographer Tomalin: Dickens the mesmerist, amateur thespian, political radical, protector of prostitutes, benefactor of orphans, restless walker all emerge from the welter of information about the writer s domestic arrangements, business dealings, childhood experiences, illnesses, and travels. Bolstered by citations from correspondence with and about Dickens, Tomalin s portrait brings shadows and depth to the great Victorian novelist s complex personality. Tomalin (Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self) displays her deep scholarship in reviewing, for instance, the debate about Dickens s relations with Nelly Ternan, concluding that the balance of evidence is that they were lovers. She also highlights the contrasts between his charitable actions toward strangers and his casting off of several relatives from father to brothers to sons, who kept importuning him for money: Once Dickens had drawn a line he was pitiless. By the end of this biography, readers unfamiliar with Dickens will come away with a new understanding of his driven personality and his impact on literature and 19th-century political and social issues. Tomalin provides her usual rich, penetrating portrait; one can say of her book what she says of Dickens s picture of 19th -century England: it s crackling, full of truth and life, with his laughter, horror and indignation. Illus.; maps.