Oliver Twist. A Christmas Carol. David Copperfield. Bleak House. A Tale of Two Cities. Great Expectations. The novels of Charles Dickens (1812–1870) read like a “Who’s Who” of canonical works. Yet, less well known is the fact that Dickens himself was something of a created character, a larger-than-life figure who lived through his art and pursued his many passions with a theatrical zeal that could have belonged to one of his famous protagonists.
Largely self-taught, with little formal education, Dickens was catapulted to fame at the age of 24 with the publication of The Pickwick Papers in 1836. For the next 30 years, he wrote a prodigious number of novels, short stories, essays and other works, while simultaneously campaigning for a variety of social reforms. As Simply Dickens colourfully describes, in life and in art, Dickens threw himself into everything he undertook - from taking on the personalities of his characters as he wrote, to pursuing such causes as children’s rights and universal education.
While some authors have depicted Dickens as a tormented soul or cruel misogynist who compromised his work by pandering to a wide audience, Simply Dickens convincingly shows him as a purposeful, supremely talented, and versatile personality, whose popular appeal was central to his achievement.
Paperback, 118 pages.