Dickens' Fur Coat and Charlotte's Unanswered Letters: The Rows and Romances of England's Great Victorian Novelists

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9780060183653: Dickens' Fur Coat and Charlotte's Unanswered Letters: The Rows and Romances of England's Great Victorian Novelists

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, but most of all, as Daniel Pool reveals in this delightful new book, it was a time of surprisingly outrageous behavior. Dickens' Fur Coat and Charlotte's Unanswered Letters  plunks the reader down in the middle of the London book world to expose the madcap shenanigans, rows, rivalries and general mayhem perpetrated by the supposedly prudish Victorians. We see Dickens on his first American book tour having bits of his fur coat snipped off by manic fans; romantic rumors swirling around Thackeray and Charlotte Bront%, Anthony Trollope scheming with Thomas Hardy in an attempt to get more money for his novels; and Bulwer-Lytton (of "It was a dark and stormy night" fame) apparently plotting to poison his wife!

An eye-opening cultural history and a marvelously entertaining read, this is sure to be a gift book all fans of Victoriana will delight in.

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Review:

With publishing empires swallowing smaller house for breakfast and agents swiping authors left, right, and center, the modern book industry might seem an insider's paradise, an aspiring author's nightmare, a reader's Goldberg contraption. Alas, according to Daniel Pool, 'twas ever thus. Money, advertising, publicity, blurbs, and the author's charisma were just as central to Victorian bookselling as they are now. Focusing particularly on Dickens, Charlotte Brontė, George Eliot, and Thackeray, the author builds up a portrait of cutthroat times and cutthroat measures. Readers will be particularly taken with the author's account of the rise of the serial novel--and Dickens's frustration with the form. (Something Flaubert quickly copped to. After finishing The Pickwick Papers, he commented to George Sand, "Some bits are magnificent, but what a defective structure.") And the quotations Daniel Pool presents, from the epigraphs to Virginia Woolf's assessment on the final page, make Dickens' Fur Coat essential social history.

About the Author:

Daniel Pool is the author of What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew, and Christmas in New York. He lives in New York City.

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