Becoming Dickens: The Invention of a Novelist

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst.. Harvard/Belknap, $29.95 (360p) ISBN 978-0-674-05003-7
For the 2012 bicentennial of Dickens's birth, Oxford scholar Douglas-Fairhurst examines the man and his times up to 1838: the beginning of the Victorian age, which Charles John Huffam Dickens embodies in the popular imagination. In many ways a self-fabrication and his own greatest work of fiction, Dickens rose from child labor at a blacking factory to the first rank of English authors. With such beginnings, and perhaps because of them, Dickens (whose obsession with a neat and clean appearance, says the author, might today be thought of as exhibiting a form of OCD) had from childhood a love affair with theater and the theatrical, with fashion, with all the outward trappings that might reveal or conceal the soul of motivation. As a young clerk and journalist, he discerned the savage modern trait of alienation. Through it all, not yet 27 by the conclusion of this book, Dickens was a climber and, as an aspiring novelist, had married the daughter of the former adviser to Sir Walter Scott. Dickens invented many selves, says Douglas-Fairhurst, something of a Victorian trait as the multivalent form of the novel developed along with him. Though subdued and overlong, this book captures the chameleon Dickens as a product of his era before he became its creator. 28 photos. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 06/06/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
Show other formats
FORMATS
Paperback - 389 pages - 978-0-674-07223-7
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.