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Charles Dickens
Michael Slater
Adult Nonfiction PR4581 .S6155 2009

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From Publishers' Weekly:

There is no shortage of doorstop biographies of Charles Dickens (1812-1870). This latest one by Slater, a Dickens scholar and professor emeritus at the University of London, bears an easy, fluid familiarity with the subject at hand. Scholars will appreciate the ingenuity with which the art was chosen. Above all, as the subtitle indicates, this work showcases the contours of Dickens's crammed life with the focus on his writings. And for these reasons, this biography will have primarily an academic appeal. But Slater superbly showcases Dickens's fascination with London life as it developed during his early teenage years; how the stage beckoned a man who was temperamentally a great parodist; why social issues and a refusal to kowtow to authority came to dominate the author's aesthetic families. But it was his startling affair with young actress Ellen (Nelly) Lawless Ternan, a story concealed until the 1930s, which defined Dickens's later life as much as his punishing reading tours did. Overall, this best known of English authors after Shakespeare gains a scholarly, levelheaded and even affecting new illumination of his writing life. 16 pages of color illus., 60 b&w illus. (Nov. 10) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Twenty years after the last significant biography of Charles Dickens, prominent scholar Slater (Victorian literature, emeritus, Birbeck Coll., Univ. of London) offers a fascinating portrait of the man and his work. What makes this work distinctive is Slater's examination of Dickens, the professional writer. It turns out the novels we know and love are but a part of Dickens's extensive oeuvre. Plays, essays, articles, speeches, travel writing, letters, and stories for children were just some of the outlets for his abundant creativity and passion. Through Slater's highly readable prose the reader becomes acquainted with Dickens the working man as he morphs into the man who created the world of Oliver Twist. Verdict Not since Fred Kaplan's Dickens: A Biography (1988) have we seen such a detailed examination of Dickens's life. This is not only a scholarly portrait of a beloved author but an affectionate look at a much-loved human being. An enjoyable read for academics and enthusiasts alike.-Carol Gladstein, McMinnville P.L., OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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