Literary Biography Peter Ackroyd Dickens

ISBN 13: 9780099437093

Dickens

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9780099437093: Dickens

Charles Dickens's life is a story of rags to riches, complete with bankruptcy, prison, forced child labour, and fame and fortune overshadowed by guilt and secrecy - rather like the plot of one of his novels. Indeed, Dickens drew strongly on his own experiences as the source for much of his fiction. Here the author offers a fresh view of Dickens's remarkable life story. Dickens's novels brim with references: they are located in the places he lived in and visited, peopled with characters he knew, and inspired by the preoccupations that haunted his mind. Ackroyd highlights the reality of Victorian life, warts and all, and the issues that sparked Dickens's fervent calls for social reform; and he also charts the influential landmarks of that era, such as the coming of the railways, the effects upon society of the industrial revolution and the expansion of the British Empire. Dickens was a complex personality. He apparently had everything - fame, success, wealth - but he died harbouring the great sadness he had carried with him all his life, and he was humble enough to forbid a grand funeral. Like many eminent Victorians, he led a double life. Although he insisted that nothing in the newspapers he edited should offend his middle-class readers, he regularly indulged in dubious night-time escapades with fellow-author Wilkie Collins and, for the final 13 years of his life, kept a secret mistress, Ellen Ternan.

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From Library Journal:

"Dickens saw reality as a reflection of his own fiction," contends Ackroyd, novelist and biographer of T.S. Eliot ( T.S. Eliot: A Life , LJ 11/15/84) and Ezra Pound ( Ezra Pound , Thames & Hudson, 1987). This massive life and times attempts to re-create Dickens's internal and external realities. Ackroyd makes better use of the autobiographical memoranda first published in John Forster's Life (1872-74) than did Edgar Johnson in his Charles Dickens (S. & S., 1952), and the interweaving of critical comments with his presentation of Dickens's personal and social preoccupations often yields more insights than does Johnson's technique of interlarded essays. The same vast mental and physical energies that led Dickens to triumph drove him to an obsessive need for total control of all aspects of his personal and professional life. Furthermore, his sensibility was formed in a pre-Victorian England that was often squalid and brutal, and which frequently relied on role-playing as a guide to conduct. Ackroyd's great strength is his ability to draw the reader into a sensory apprehension of this world. A lack of footnotes will keep scholars turning to Johnson and Fred Kaplan's shorter and far less evocative Dickens: A Life ( LJ 9/1/88), but this engrossing work is enthusiastically recommended for academic and large public libraries.
- Barbara J. Dunlap, City Coll., CUNY
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

Ackroyd ( The Last Testament of Oscar Wilde ) is a master biographer with a seductive prose style, and this massive volume is likely to stand as the Dickens biography for decades to come. Ackroyd moves around with authority in the world of the ebullient, ambitious, insecure, haunted, theatrical genius, which is also the world of early and mid-Victorian England assimilated and transformed to a stupefying degree. We read about Dickens's penurious and painful childhood; the triumphant reception of his first novel, The Pickwick Papers ; the prodigious flow of subsequent novels which, though increasingly somber in tone, continued to reflect a mind whose primary reaction to experience was anarchic laughter; the two trips to America, for the most part wildly successful; the scandal surrounding Dickens's desertion of his wife. And Ackroyd pinpoints Dickens's two great innovations: he was the first to introduce the language of the romantic poets into the novel; and his dramatic public readings from his novels constituted a new art form. Illustrations. Major ad/promo; BOMC main selection.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Book Description Vintage, 2012. Book Condition: New. Charles Dickens was a complex personality. Fame, success and wealth could never assuage the shame and sadness of his father's bankruptcy and imprisonment which fuelled his great fiction. In this abridged edition of his acclaimed biography, novelist and cultural historian Peter Ackroyd offers a fresh view of Dickens's life, demonstrating how the novels are set in places where he lived, peopled with characters he knew, and inspired by the dark preoccupations that haunted him. Bookseller Inventory # 297819

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Abridged edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. A breathtaking feat of scholarship The Times. I can do no more than praise, recommend, insist that you buy and read this book. It supersedes all other Dickens biographies Anthony Burgess, Independent. In Peter Ackroyd s abridged edition of his classic biography of Charles Dickens, the acclaimed biographer takes us to the heart of one of the world s greatest writers. From Dickens s birth in Portsmouth to his death at the age of just fifty-eight, Ackroyd explores the life of this renowned author and the hundreds of characters who were born with Dickens but didn t die with him, living on for ever in the pages of his books, on the radio and the television and film screens. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099437093

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Abridged edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. A breathtaking feat of scholarship The Times. I can do no more than praise, recommend, insist that you buy and read this book. It supersedes all other Dickens biographies Anthony Burgess, Independent. In Peter Ackroyd s abridged edition of his classic biography of Charles Dickens, the acclaimed biographer takes us to the heart of one of the world s greatest writers. From Dickens s birth in Portsmouth to his death at the age of just fifty-eight, Ackroyd explores the life of this renowned author and the hundreds of characters who were born with Dickens but didn t die with him, living on for ever in the pages of his books, on the radio and the television and film screens. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099437093

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Book Description Vintage. Book Condition: New. 2002. Abridged edition. Paperback. Dickens had everything - fame, success and riches - but he died harbouring a deep sadness he had experienced all his life. He was a man of mercurial character, but he also had a sense of loss and longing that would constantly appear in his work. This title takes the reader into the life of one of the world's greatest writers. Num Pages: 624 pages, Illustrations. BIC Classification: 1DBK; 2AB; BGH; DSBF; DSK. Category: (G) General (US: Trade); (U) Tertiary Education (US: College). Dimension: 214 x 130 x 41. Weight in Grams: 448. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780099437093

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Book Description Vintage, 2002. Book Condition: New. 2002. Abridged edition. Paperback. Dickens had everything - fame, success and riches - but he died harbouring a deep sadness he had experienced all his life. He was a man of mercurial character, but he also had a sense of loss and longing that would constantly appear in his work. This title takes the reader into the life of one of the world's greatest writers. Num Pages: 624 pages, Illustrations. BIC Classification: 1DBK; 2AB; BGH; DSBF; DSK. Category: (G) General (US: Trade); (U) Tertiary Education (US: College). Dimension: 214 x 130 x 41. Weight in Grams: 448. . . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780099437093

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Book Description Vintage Publishing. Paperback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, Dickens (Abridged edition), Peter Ackroyd, Jonathan Butler, A breathtaking feat of scholarship' The Times. 'I can do no more than praise, recommend, insist that you buy and read this book. It supersedes all other Dickens biographies' Anthony Burgess, Independent. In Peter Ackroyd's abridged edition of his classic biography of Charles Dickens, the acclaimed biographer takes us to the heart of one of the world's greatest writers. From Dickens's birth in Portsmouth to his death at the age of just fifty-eight, Ackroyd explores the life of this renowned author and the hundreds of characters who were born with Dickens but didn't die with him, living on for ever in the pages of his books, on the radio and the television and film screens. Bookseller Inventory # B9780099437093

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