The engaging biography of one of the most celebrated and enduring authors of Western literature Charles Dickens grew up in harsh poverty and became one of the world’s most beloved authors. Biographer Fred Kaplan takes a brilliant, multifaceted approach in his examination of Dickens’s life: his fraught marriage and relationships; the ever-present effects of his humble beginnings; his extensive, but carefully managed, public life; and his friendships with famous writers. Dickens unearths the complex passions that drove both the man and his work, illuminating why the legendary author—just like the characters in his fiction—has remained a mammoth figure in Western literature.read more
This first major biography of Dickens in nearly 40 years is a winning mix of insight, narrative skill and shrewd judgment. Kaplan ( Thomas Carlyle ) shows how powerfully both as man and artist Dickens was shaped by the experience of his youth: on the one hand the humiliations showered on him by his penurious and feckless parents, on the other his mental escape into the bright world of the 18th-century novel which gave him his models for good and bad character. In tracing Dickens's career from ``boy prodigy'' to grizzled Victorian giant of letters, from the enchanted world of The Pickwick Papers to the grim and unfinished Mystery of Edwin Drood , Kaplan covers his roles as journalist, novelist, social reformer and businessman, shedding considerable new light on his relations with his parents, wife and mistress, on his two trips to America and on his triumphant but exhausting public readings from his novels. Dickens was convivial, loyal, secretive and arrogant, with a ``performance personality'' that required applause for self-definition. He was also profoundly restless. Indeed, that word rings like a bell throughout the book. Illustrations. (October) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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``This first major biography of Dickens in nearly 40 years is a winning mix of insight, narrative skill and shrewd judgment,'' commended PW. As limned here, ``Dickens was convivial, loyal, secretive and arrogant, with a `performance personality' that required applause for self-definition.'' Photos. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved