Charles Dickens: A Life

Claire Tomalin, Charles Dickens: A Life

Thanks to Geoffrey and Rachel Paul

There is a great deal of interest in Charles Dickens this year, the bicentenary of his birth.  Claire Tomalin’s biography is a remarkable contribution to this, combining academic rigour, engaging narrative and penetrating analysis.  It is extraordinary in its scope, leaving the reader with a holistic picture of the great, albeit flawed, author.  Tomalin manages to make a long, detailed work absorbing – it actually reads like a novel and certainly moves at a faster pace than an average Dickens.  I found her portrayal of Dickens’s memory and attention to detail especially interesting – she gives the impression that apart from his obvious literary capabilities, he often wrote about small but endearing quirks in people he had once come across.  A really memorable work, one I intend to reread.

4 responses
You might also like the newly published 'Selected Letters of Charles Dickins' ed. Jenny Hartley £20 a 450 letters - possibly more worthy if you're too short of time to read the full British Academy 12-volume, £2000 14,000-odd letters set. As to be expected, the letters show great insights into his life, as well as being good pieces of writing in their own right.
Thank you. Presumably in the title of the book, Dickens is spelled correctly?
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