Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens The tumultuous life of England s greatest novelist beautifully rendered by unparalleled literary biographer Claire Tomalin When Charles Dickens died in The Times of London successfully campaign

  • Title: Charles Dickens
  • Author: Claire Tomalin
  • ISBN: 9781594203091
  • Page: 108
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The tumultuous life of England s greatest novelist, beautifully rendered by unparalleled literary biographer Claire Tomalin When Charles Dickens died in 1870, The Times of London successfully campaigned for his burial in Westminster Abbey, the final resting place of England s kings and heroes Thousands flocked to mourn the best recognized and loved man of nineteenth centThe tumultuous life of England s greatest novelist, beautifully rendered by unparalleled literary biographer Claire Tomalin When Charles Dickens died in 1870, The Times of London successfully campaigned for his burial in Westminster Abbey, the final resting place of England s kings and heroes Thousands flocked to mourn the best recognized and loved man of nineteenth century England His books had made them laugh, shown them the squalor and greed of English life, and also the power of personal virtue and the strength of ordinary people In his last years Dickens drew adoring crowds to his public appearances, had met presidents and princes, and had amassed a fortune.Like a hero from his novels, Dickens trod a hard path to greatness Born into a modest middle class family, his young life was overturned when his profligate father was sent to debtors prison and Dickens was forced into harsh and humiliating factory work Yet through these early setbacks he developed his remarkable eye for all that was absurd, tragic, and redemptive in London life He set out to succeed, and with extraordinary speed and energy made himself into the greatest English novelist of the century.Years later Dickens s daughter wrote to the author George Bernard Shaw, If you could make the public understand that my father was not a joyous, jocose gentleman walking about the world with a plum pudding and a bowl of punch, you would greatly oblige me Seen as the public champion of household harmony, Dickens tore his own life apart, betraying, deceiving, and breaking with friends and family while he pursued an obsessive love affair.Charles Dickens A Life gives full measure to Dickens s heroic stature his huge virtues both as a writer and as a human being while observing his failings in both respects with an unblinking eye Renowned literary biographer Claire Tomalin crafts a story worthy of Dickens s own pen, a comedy that turns to tragedy as the very qualities that made him great his indomitable energy, boldness, imagination, and showmanship finally destroyed him The man who emerges is one of extraordinary contradictions, whose vices and virtues were intertwined as surely as his life and his art.

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      Published :2019-02-01T02:54:06+00:00

    1 thought on “Charles Dickens”

    1. This is a brisk biography that demonstrates the value of knowing and discussing the author's life in considering their written work.Briskly pacing through the life just as Dickens walked through city and countryside, the four hundred pages of text seem slight. At every turn there was potential for Tomalin to depart the narrow path and have a digression on mesmerism or any of the people that Dickens brushed past or dealt with. These are summed up in a sentence if at all. When Edwin Landseer was m [...]

    2. This biography provides a clear and balanced view of Charles Dickens (1812-1870). I feel it is important to state that Dickens is not one of my favorite authors. For me his writing is too florid, his tales too melodramatic and his characters too stereotypical. I wanted to understand the man, and I was not looking for a hagiography! Balance is what I sought most and balance is what I got. The book starts with his parents and moves forward year by year. Friends and family and all that he involved [...]

    3. This breakneck biography touches upon all the important events of Boz’s blistering life, omitting the copious detail on his journalism covered in Michael Slater’s exhaustively entertaining tome, along with too many of the pivotally opinionated rants on social reform and whatnot. Tomalin is stronger on Dickens’s personal relationships, especially with women and male friends, and creates a more emotional portrait of a restless but tormented man, in comparison with Slater’s love-in where Di [...]

    4. Claire Tomalin is a no-nonsense schoolmarm of a biographer, marshalling her facts into order and marching them across the page in seemly double crocodile lines, one two one two. A sort of Joyce Grenfell type, pleasant, but firm - George, don't do that - No, Susan, put Sydney down dear - No, Neville, you can't go home. The effect of this patting and prodding and pummelling into shape is that Dickens' life appears oddly reduced. The Slater biography gives the impression of a man constantly struggl [...]

    5. Oh! Now it all makes sense! Now I understand why so many of the characters in Dickens' novels seem so theatrically dramatic. Read Charles Dickens: A Life by Claire Tomalin and you too can unlock such mysteries as they expertly unfold in this top-notch biography!After reading so many of his novels I figured it was high time I got to know the man behind the words. Tomalin combines his personal story with just enough historical detail while sprinkling in a compact summary and review of all of his w [...]

    6. Charles Dickens was a monster. I know, he spent enormous amounts of time and energy raising money for charitable causes. I know, he was sympathetic to the poor, demonstrated their plight in his books, and fought for social reform. I know, he was the most popular writer of the 19th century and his books are still read today, in part because of the vivid caricatures, those children of his fertile imagination.But his ego was monumental. He was selfish on a scale hard to imagine, he was sarcastic ab [...]

    7. I know things about my father's character that no one else ever knew; he was not a good man, but he was not a fast man, but he was wonderful! Katey Dickens speaking about her father.Reading this in a relentless spree, I was helpless but to observe similarities to the recent Bob Dylan biography Behind the Shades I had finished just about a week ago. Despite their massive reputations, both men were guarded about their privacy, both had a number of children (19 between the pair?) and both embarked [...]

    8. This is more of a 3.5, but certainly not a 4. Tomalin took on a great challenge - telling the story of Dickens (an oft-told tale) in a mere 400 some-odd pages. What we get is a solid overview of Dickens' life. We start with his complex and often sad childhood, the frenzy and energy of his early years, his struggle in middle age to find understanding and security, and finally the crisis of Nelly Ternan and his decline. Tomalin is particularly strong in the early chapters, her care in charting Dic [...]

    9. It is a monumental task. To summarise a life – especially a life like Dickens’ – into a 400 page volume. If anybody was up to the task, it would be Claire Tomalin, biographer extraordinaire. Her Charles Dickens: A Life is a rambunctious, whistle-stop tour through the life of one of Britain’s – nay, the world’s – greatest novelists (if not the greatest?). It takes in births, marriages, deaths, affairs, walks, and shines a light into the dirty corners of the great man’s life. His a [...]

    10. Charles Dickens was such an alive and energetic figure, a ball of energy who seemed to dominate and encapsulate his age; so much so that to read about his life – even these two hundred years later – is to be inspired, invigorated and somewhat dazed. For most people those heavy books alone would have been difficult to manage, let alone the reading tours, plays, charitable pursuits and overseas tours (let alone an extremely complex personal life). He was a complicated man, one who seems to hav [...]

    11. An impressively readable biography that will give you so much insight into what drove Dickens to write what he did. Tomalin successfully walks a fine line: she lets Dickens be the genius that he was, but she never lets him off the hook for being a jerk (and he was often a jerk). Hero worship in biographies of “great” men and women bothers me to no end, and there’s none of that here. If you know little to nothing about Dickens and just want an intro course, go here.From Our Favorite Biograp [...]

    12. Where I got the book: my local library.Claire Tomalin's biography of Jane Austen has been on my bookshelf for what seems like 20 years, although the editions roundup has 1997 as the earliest date. Whatever. I'm quite surprised, seeing how much I enjoyed that biography, that Charles Dickens: A Life is only the second Tomalin biography I've read.From this very limited sample I would say that you go to Tomalin for the close-up, human portrait of your subject. In 417 pages of narrative, Tomalin dis [...]

    13. This was a fascinating and comprehensive look at the life of Dickens. We learn how his own childhood, with his father's inability to manage money, which led him and the family to go to debtors' prison, also led a very young Charles Dickens to work in a "blacking factory," which made him a lifelong advocate for children's rights and for a better way to deal with the poor. It's also easy to see in following Dickens' life how much of the personal became the professional in his writing. As a writer, [...]

    14. I'm no Dickens scholar. This is the first bio of him that I've read and really the first time I've sought out information on his life story. I thought this book was well done. It struck me as a fair, honest account of his life. He was most certainly an immensely talented writer. And apparently quite the actor and reader, as well. He had a huge heart. Was a champion of the poor and a devoted friend. But, like all of us, he was flawed. Human. He was an interesting man with lots of layers. This was [...]

    15. I actually had very mixed feelings about reading this biography of Charles Dickens once I actually had it in my hands. I fell in love with the writings of Charles Dickens back when I was a teenager. I love the Victorian England time period. I loved the characters Dickens created even the odious ones. I admired his superb ability to use the english language to create characters and scenes that were absolutely unforgettable to me. I think the thing that drew me to his writing was my discovery that [...]

    16. Balanced, clear, very readable and gave what I imagine is a very accurate picture of the contradictions of Dickens' characer. Without fudging his more unpleasant aspects (he appears to have been a terrible father, for example: partisan, uninterested and burdened)it also stresses his immense warmth and likeability. I would have liked more quotation from his letters and diaries and perhaps slightly less detail about his huge circle of friends and how often he met with/went on holiday with/walked w [...]

    17. Nesten fem stjerner, eller, hvis jeg hadde en egen skala for biografier så ville denne ha fått fem. Lenge siden jeg har lest en klassisk biografi, - trodde faktisk jeg bare likte memoarer, men denne var rett og slett veldig god. Fikk lyst til å lese alt av Dickens med en gang (selv om jeg ikke tror at alt er like bra).

    18. Ļoti laba un korekta biogrāfija, kuras stiprā un vājā puse vienlaicīgi ir fakts, ka autore nav emocionāli pieķērusies savam pētāmajam objektam. Monogrāfija secīgi un visai detalizēti izseko Dikensa dzīves notikumiem un daiļradei, norādot uz iespējamām ietekmēm un gan veiksmīgākajiem darbiem, gan trūkumiem. Plaši portretēta gan ģimene, gan draugu un paziņu loks.

    19. Little did I know when I started reading this book weeks ago that I would finish it the day before the Bicentennial of Dickens' birthday -- February 7, 2012. Now I am surrounded by Dickens stories on NPR, the NYT, announcements about Dickens events and reenactments of his readings from major museums and libraries -- and the first Dickens exhibit at the Museum of London in 40 years. Wow!There are lots of biographies of Dickens out there (including the one authorized by Dickens and written by his [...]

    20. Claire Tomalin is undoubtedly in the top echelon of contemporary biography writers and with her warts and all but hugely sympathetic portrait of the inimitable Charles Dickens, she cements her place in the top bracket.Superbly researched and most empathetically written she has the reader in the palm of her hand from the very first page. This, of course, begins with Dickens' birth in a suburb of Portsmouth; it is followed by his itinerant childhood, his employment at a blacking factory, his spell [...]

    21. Claire Tomalin is one of my favourite biographers (her work on Jane Austen, for example, is outstanding) and this may be her best book yet, not least because she conveys so vividly and with such well-researched evidence the complexities and contradictions that made up the life and character of Charles Dickens, and reflects just the right amount of light on the novels where life and story meet.In particular, she contrasts the genuine sympathy that Dickens felt for suffering humanity (which led hi [...]

    22. Clair Tomalin is always a pleasure to read, and with each new biography she writes my respect for her grows. She is on the brief list of authors I'd love to dine with. I loved her earlier book about Ellen Ternan, Dicken's secret lover, so I was very curious to see what she's do with a full-length Dickens bio. I wish I could say this book blew me away, but it didn't. As others have remarked, the part that covers his early life is extremely good, but there are oddities in the way the rest of the s [...]

    23. Claire Tomalin knows how to write a biography, that's a fact. If you haven't read Tomalin's Jane Austen and Samuel Pepys biography, I hope you will. Both were excellent. Tomalin's books are well-researched, thoughtful, and she's good at putting all the pieces together. But Charles Dickens A Life was a bit painful and I think it was because frequently Dickens was a monster (Samuel Pepys was no boy scout but I didn't have any expectations that he was). Dickens could also be more generous than anyo [...]

    24. So this was my first non-fiction dissertation book. I went into it knowing absolutely nothing about Mr Dickens, and I now know a whole lot more! What a man! Here are some of my favourite facts: 1) He had 10 children, but only wanted 3! 2) His works were plagiarised in America and sold thousands and thousands of copies but he made no money - sad!3) His father had constant troubles with debts and consequently took out many loans in Charles' name - which Charles' actually paid! To solve this he mov [...]

    25. I'm a long-time Dickens fan and have read several biographies of him before this one, as well as the complete Pilgrim letters, so a lot of the material in this book was already familiar to me. I found Tomalin's writing style very readable and her love of Dickens comes across, although I think she is sometimes a bit dismissive in her brief accounts of the various novels and stories. For instance she says that the very late short story 'George Silverman's Explanation' is a failure - I can't agree; [...]

    26. As always, Clare Tomalin skilfully at weaves the 'works' and the 'life' together in this carefully researched, approachable biography of Dickens. Although she obviously admires the energy and drive that brought him out of a miserable childhood, Tomalin does not gloss over the less attractive parts of Dickens' character. I am very much a Dickens fan, and this biography adds considerably to my enjoyment of the novels.

    27. It's hard to say something new about an author like Dickens, especially if you limit yourself to 400 pages. Some occasional sparks of insight. I was impressed with the decision to start with Dickens' grandparents and go all the way to the end of the lives of his friends and family, though.

    28. Claire Tomalin is a fantastic biographer. Her book on Samuel Pepys is one of my favourites of the past few years. On reflection, this may be because of Pepys's roguish charm - you could forgive all his peccadilloes, because he was just so much fun.Getting to know Dickens better shows him as a man of energy, generosity, touches of genius, and the perhaps inevitable clay feet. 'Dickensian' as a word, as an idea, summons up a colourful character, eccentric, verbose, idiosyncratic. But underlying th [...]

    29. What did I know about Dickens before reading this? Some of his works, naturally. That his father went to a debtors' prison and young Charles worked in a blacking factory. That he had an unhappy marriage, and 10 or perhaps 11 children. That he wrote many of his novels as serials, which were sold a few chapters at a time. That he established a house for prostitutes to get off the streets of London and that at least one of the women subsequently immigrated to Canada.What I didn't know was what an i [...]

    30. "Charles Dickens: A life" is a very thoroughly work by Tomalin but I am glad to be done! It is also a very long book which tells about all aspects of Dickens life. Sometimes it becomes a little to intense.

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