The world of Dickens | Culture | Times Crest
Popular on Times Crest
  • In This Section
  • Entire Website
  • The great Khan of books
    June 29, 2013
    Founded by Balraj Bahri Malhotra in 1953, Bahrisons is a proud sentinel at the gateway of Delhi's Khan Market
  • Copy left and right?
    June 29, 2013
    Can the culture of copyright also be creatively crippling?
  • Tossed, by a new flood
    June 29, 2013
    This bookstore boasts a clientele that once included Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, Yashwantrao Chavan and CV Raman.
More in this Section
Leaving tiger watching to raise rice Ecologist Debal Deb, who did his post-doctoral research from IISc in…
The crorepati writer He's the man who gives Big B his lines. RD Tailang, the writer of KBC.
Chennai-Toronto express Review Raja is a Canadian enthusiast whose quirky video reviews of Tamil…
Don't parrot, perform Maestro Buddhadev Dasgupta will hold a masterclass on ragas.
A man's man Shivananda Khan spent his life speaking up for men who have sex with men.
Bhowmick and the first family of Indian football At first glance, it would be the craziest set-up in professional football.
From Times Blogs
The end of Detroit
Jobs in Detroit's car factories are moving to India.
Chidanand Rajghatta
How I love the word ‘dobaara’...
Can ‘bindaas’ or ‘jhakaas’ survive transliteration?
Shobhaa De
Anand marte nahin...
India's first superstar died almost a lonely life.
Robin Roy
200 birth anniversary of Dickens

The world of Dickens


If Charles Dickens was prolific during his lifetime, so have been his biographers. The latest book on Dickens, Claire Tomalin's Charles Dickens: A Life, published to coincide with his 200 birth anniversary, is a no holds barred biography. She paints a picture of a man who was as brilliant as he was flawed. Forced to take up a job at the age of 15 and married at 24 - by which time he had already published Sketches by Boz and The Pickwick Papers - Dickens was a larger than life figure. Though he had 10 children from his wife, he also had a mistress, Nelly Ternan, for most of his life. He could write at breakneck speed and in 1838 he was writing two novels at the same time. He was a heavy drinker and a cigar smoker from his teens. When he died prematurely at the age of 58, he was suffering from various ailments and at times could barely walk.

Tomalin's biography follows a long line of books on Dickens. The first was The Life of Charles Dickens : The Illustrated Edition by John Forster, Dickens' closest friend and handpicked biographer. The book relies on excerpts of letters written between Forster and Dickens and also rare photographs.

Perhaps the most exhaustive work on Dickens is Edgar Johnson's two-volume biography first published in the 1950s. It chronicles in details the events in Dickens' life as well as examines his work and offers analysis of his novels and characters. Fred Kaplans' Dickens is an equally solid work. Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jane Smiley's book on Dickens shares its title with Tomalin's and is possibly the most accessible biography.

There are other books that focus on different aspects of Dickens' life. Peter Ackroyd's Dickens: Private Life and Public Passion details the time and age that Dickens lived in and the massive transformations being wrought by the railways and the Industrial Revolution. Robert Douglas-Fairhurst's Becoming Dickens looks at the writer's early life. In Charles Dickens: The Making of a Literary Giant, Christopher Hibbert explains how Dickens' personal experiences left their mark on his books. Michael Slater's Charles Dickens examines the less well-known writings of the author.

The soon to be released, Dickens and the Workhouse, by Ruth Richardson discovers that many of the famous characters and settings of Dickens' novels were based on real people and places. A workhouse near his house was the inspiration behind the famous workhouse in Oliver Twist. And Sam Weller of Pickwick Papers was probably based on a cobbler, Dan Weller, who lived opposite Dickens' house.

Other Times Group news sites
The Times of India | The Economic Times
इकनॉमिक टाइम्स | ઈકોનોમિક ટાઈમ્સ
Mumbai Mirror | Times Now
Indiatimes | नवभारत टाइम्स
महाराष्ट्र टाइम्स
Living and entertainment
Timescity | iDiva | Bollywood | Zoom
| Technoholik |


itimes | Dating & Chat | Email
Hot on the Web
Book print ads | Online shopping | Business solutions | Book domains | Web hosting
Business email | Free SMS | Free email | Website design | CRM | Tenders | Remit
Cheap air tickets | Matrimonial | Ringtones | Astrology | Jobs | Property | Buy car
Online Deals
About us | Advertise with us | Terms of Use and Grievance Redressal Policy | Privacy policy | Feedback
Copyright© 2010 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service