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Chatterton [Paperback]

Peter Ackroyd
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

12 Sep 1996
The mystery of Chatterton is investigated by two Londoners, a young poet and an elderly female novelist, who find more riddles than answers from their search. At once hilarious, this entertaining comedy is a thoughtful exploration of the deepest issues of both life and art.


Product details

  • Paperback: 234 pages
  • Publisher: Avalon Travel Publishing; 1st Grove Press Pbk. Ed edition (12 Sep 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802134807
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802134806
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.8 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,234,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Peter Ackroyd is the author of biographies of Dickens, Blake and Thomas More and of the acclaimed non-fiction bestsellers London: The Biography and Thames: Sacred River. Peter Ackroyd is an award-winning novelist, as well as a broadcaster, biographer, poet and historian. He has won the Whitbread Biography Award, the Royal Society of Literature's William Heinemann Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Guardian Fiction Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award and the South Bank Prize for Literature. He holds a CBE for services to literature.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing and exciting 4 Feb 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is definitely my favourite Ackroyd book, with twists and turns of the mysterious plot catching your attention, and the carefully crafted characters making your imagination work. Beautiful imagery, deft characterisations and all loose ends intricately knotted yet tied up at the end, this is definitely a good start to Ackroyd.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Questions unresolved 2 Jun 2010
Format:Paperback
Peter Ackroyd's Chatterton presents an enigma seen from several contrasting, some related standpoints. It seems to deal with the concept of authenticity and its consequences. In general we like things to be authentic. We like the people we meet and the possessions we own to be genuine. But what if they are not? Does it matter?

The historical basis upon which Peter Ackroyd hangs the plot of his novel is the life of Thomas Chatterton, the poet who committed suicide at the slight age of eighteen. Wallis's iconic painting of the death adorns the book's cover and its creation in the mid-nineteenth century forms a major element of the book's plot. There's also an eccentric English lady who has made money from writing and drinks gin incessantly from a teaspoon. There's an art gallery offering some works by a famous painter. They are declared fakes.

Charles Wychwood is an ailing, none too successful poet. He has a wonderful relationship with his young son, and a cooler one with his wife who has grown used to supporting her husband's apparent lack of achievement. One day Charles decides to raise a little capital in a sale-room, but then ends up blowing his money on a painting. It's a portrait, professedly of a middle-aged Chatterton. So perhaps he faked his own death so he could continue his trade anonymously. The idea captivates Charles because he knows a little of the poet's background.

Chatterton was born in the later part of the eighteenth century. He became obsessed with a series of medieval texts and started to copy their style. Thus he became the author of bogus medieval poetry, some of which he managed to publish.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars intelligent and imaginative 8 Oct 2007
By Didier TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Thomas Chatterton (1752-1770) was an English poet and forger of pseudo-medieval poetry. He died (according to some committed suicide) aged only 17. Using this as a starting point Ackroyd has given us a stunning historical detective novel, rich in language, and filled with unforgettable characters (Dickens comes to mind).

A great book, I hope you'll love it as much as I did.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ackroyd's Chatterton 16 Aug 2011
By RR Waller TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
SAFE READING - NO SPOILERS

The tragic death under mysterious circumstances of a seventeen year-old successful forger of medieval manuscripts seems a guaranteed page-turner. Peter Ackroyd adds a few unexpected layers to weave a very interesting tale indeed in that well-constructed, understated style of his.

Another, very enjoyable novel from Ackroyd.
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