Charles Dickens (Writers Lives)

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9780826489647: Charles Dickens (Writers Lives)
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Charles Dickens is without doubt a literary giant. The most widely read author of his own generation, his works remain incredibly popular and important today. Often seen as the quintessential Victorian novelist, his texts convey perhaps better than any others the drive for wealth and progress and the social contrasts that characterised the Victorian era. His works are widely studied throughout the world both as literary masterpieces and as classic examples of the nineteenth century novel. Combining a biographical approach with close reading of the novels, Donald Hawes offers an illuminating portrait of Dickens as a writer and insight into his life and times. This book will provide a short, lively but sophisticated introduction to Dickens's work and the personal and social context in which it was written.

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About the Author:

Donald Hawes has taught on Dickens for many years, in both schools and universities, including the University of Westminster and the Open University in the UK. His previous works include Who's Who in Dickens (Routledge) and editing the Everyman edition of Barnaby Rudge.

Review:

'The first [chapters] give potted plot summaries as well as critical insights which will be particularly useful for beginners. The latter explore recurrent symbols and those topics which Dickens made his own - for example nineteenth century London and its relation to the labyrinthine system of jurisprudence which permeates Bleak House, or the prisons, most notably in Little Dorrit.
Donald Hawes clearly knows Dickens's work inside out, and all his arguments are illustrated by well-chosen details from the best known works. In most cases he gives some notion of their contemporary reception, plus an account of how these reputations have lasted into the twentieth century...
...Hawes covers all the major novels, the stories, and some of the occasional writing. With this and the thematic chapters, plus an extensive bibliography of further reading, there's everything here for someone who wants a comprehensive departure point for further Dickens studies.' Roy Johnson, 2007 - mantex.co.uk

'This is a book to be recommended to anyone wanting a lucid, reliable, sensible, balanced introduction to Dickens. It can be read with profit and interest as it guides readers into further areas for investigation.'
The Dickensian, Winter 2007

"...certainly Donald Hawes's fine new guidebook [cited above] is an example of one that can offer 'newcomers'. . . an entry point into Dickens's work."-
Referenced in Laurence W. Mazzeno's The Dickens Industry (Rochester, New York: Camden House, 2008), p. 255:

Review in Etudes anglaises, vol. 62, no. 4 (October-December 2009), pp.493-494 by Natalie Vanfass, University of Toulouse, France

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