Forster was Dickens best friend and had an intimate knowledge of the man and his family unmatched by any other biographer. This book is not just a cold recitation of facts placed in chronological order. It is a wonderful study of the moods and character of this greatest of English novelists and an unabashed appreciation of his works. If you love Dickens, this is the biography for you.
Charles Dickens has created thousand of unforgettable characters, and he was also known as a hard-working journalist and as a writer of essays. He was buried-against his wishes-in Westminster Abbey.
His life was short. He died at the age of 58. But one can really doubt whether other writers who lived-or would live-longer-could achieve what Dickens had managed in such a short time. In 1862 the Russian novelist Dostoyevsky, an ardent admirer of Dickens who read The Pickwick Papers and David Copperfield in prison, visited Dickens in London. Dickens told the Russian that there were two people in him: one who feels as he ought to feel and one who feels the opposite. From the one who feels the opposite I make my evil characters, from the one who feels as a man ought to feel I try to live my life. Only two people, I asked?, added Dostoyevsky.
In fact, he was right: Dickens had many personalities in him and the author of this book did a wonderful job in trying to describe the many faces of this titan of literature. He writes about his successes and failures. Dickens was extremely successful everywhere and his tour to the United States only proved this. But there were also those, among them his daughter Katey, who despised him and regarded him as an evil man.
Another Russian writer, Tolstoy, confessed that all of Dickens characters were his friends, adding that he kept a portrait of the novelist in his room and considered Dickens to be the greatest novelist of the nineteenth century.
This book is splendid, with many new revelations about Dickens family. The very qualities which made Dickens would eventually destroy him. A gem of a book and highly recommended!
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