Charles Dickens (Penguin Lives) by Jane Smiley

By Jane Smiley

With the delectable wit, unforgettable characters, and hard topics that experience received her a Pulitzer Prize and nationwide bestseller prestige, Jane Smiley evidently unearths a kindred spirit within the writer of classics reminiscent of nice expectancies and A Christmas Carol. As "his novels formed his lifestyles up to his existence formed his novels," Smiley's Charles Dickens is without delay a delicate profile of the nice grasp and a desirable meditation at the writing lifestyles. Smiley inspires Dickens as he may have looked as if it would his contemporaries: convivial, astute, boundlessly energetic-and lionized. As she makes transparent, Dickens not just led the action-packed lifetime of a prolific author, editor, and kin guy yet, balancing the creative and the industrial in his paintings, he additionally consciously sustained his prestige as one of many first glossy "celebrities." Charles Dickens bargains very good interpretations of virtually the entire significant works, an exploration of his narrative innovations and his cutting edge voice and issues, and a mirrored image on how his richly assorted lower-class cameos sprang from an adventure and keenness extra own than his public knew. Jane Smiley's personal "demon narrative intelligence" (The Boston Globe) touches, too, on arguable information that come with Dickens's obsession with funds and squabbles with publishers, his unsatisfied marriage, and the rumors of an affair. here's a clean examine the spectacular character of a verbal magician and the interesting occasions at the back of the classics we learn at school and proceed to get pleasure from at the present time.

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Extra resources for Charles Dickens (Penguin Lives)

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By Dickens’s time, in many ways as a result of Sir Walter Scott’s interest not only in the hero and his adventure, but also in the social and domestic circumstances of the hero’s world, domestic life becomes as interesting as the adventure; in Dickens’s work, domestic life becomes the goal of the journey, the prospective haven from the alienation and cruelty of homelessness. Dickens’s heroes and heroines take many journeys, but only the travels of the Pickwick Club are embarked upon willingly. Most often, the protagonist is ejected from his original home and forced out upon a quest to make another.

He was no longer “primus inter pares” among a group of authors. He was a star, the star. The legality or morality of contractual agreements had to give way, and give way it did. Dickens had already found more congenial publishers in the firm of Chapman and Hall, who had published The Pickwick Papers and Nicholas Nickleby and were careful (under the urging of John Forster, who served as Dickens’s business agent) to be liberal both in their remuneration and in the flexibility of their contract terms.

He tried Chuzzlewig, Sweezleden, Chuzzletoe, Sweezlebach, Sweezlewag. Chuzzlewit was it—the rightness of the name calling forth everything else, rather in the way Sir Laurence Olivier once said that putting on a false nose opened up everything else about a character for him. Dickens kept lists of names, noticed names in graveyards and newspapers. He was careful to name everything, including the periodicals he founded, before attempting anything further. That the names he chose were strange and evocative makes it all the more fascinating that many of the oddest ones, like “Flite” and “Guppy,” were actual names of individuals.

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