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Ackroyd, Peter

136 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1856190005 / ISBN 13: 9781856190008
Published by Sinclair-Stevenson Limited, London, 1990
Used Condition: Very Good Plus Hardcover
From Lindenlea Books (Ottawa, ON, Canada)

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About this Item

Backstrip pulled away at head of spine, smudge on bottom edge, else very good plus. Pages clean and binding tight. DJ moderately creased along top and bottom edge, lightly surface rubbed, else very good. Note: heavy book - 1195 pages - will require additional postage. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 000540

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Dickens

Publisher: Sinclair-Stevenson Limited, London

Publication Date: 1990

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Very Good Plus

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

Edition: First Edition.

About this title


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.

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.

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