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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Dickens Biography, very readable!, 14 Dec 2011
This review is from: Charles Dickens (Paperback)
This very readable but completely comprehensive biography, written by the foremost Dickensian doyen of our times, is an excellent and fascinating read. Michael Slater manages to cover all aspects of the amazing life of this extraordinary man, with an emphasis on the writings of Charles Dickens, without leaving reader feeling overwhelmed: no small feat! Slater's straight forward style is very accessible, and he gently helps the reader navigate the many people, places, and things Dickens encountered and influenced. Those new to the life of Dickens will be astounded by the man's energy and the scope of his actions, and those on familiar ground will appreciate Dickens's writings being placed in the context of his life and his Victorian times, so clearly and insightfully, by this brilliant scholar. A great gift for any discerning reader!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Expertise matters, 2 Feb 2012
By 
Mr. MICHAEL MCGINTY "Captain Shandon" (Gillingham, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Charles Dickens (Paperback)
Every page of this biography, for which Mr Slater's career as a specialist in Dickens studies has been a preparation, is full of acute insight, dry humour and revelations which are the fruit of deep immersion in the sources. Mr Slater has facinating pages on the relationship betweeen Dickens and the works of his great precursor, Scott, making clear just why - and how early in his plans, however deferred - Dickens was impelled to achieve a historical novel in the style of the Wizard of the North. The Dickens novel turned out to be Barnaby Rudge, which no one thinks was Dickens greatest, though it contains great things. Mr Slater is as judicious about the life as he is about the works.

Don't bother with the Jacks (and Jills) of all trades who think they will turn their hand to Dickens having written about everyone else and sometimes everything else (yes, we mean you, Peter Ackroyd). Read Mr Slater's excellent work and then re-read the novels, starting with Great Expectations, not neglecting Martin Chuzzlewit (the funniest - and you can leave out the American chapters and come back to them when you like without missing much): then plot you own course.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An intelligent and informative biography, 22 May 2012
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This review is from: Charles Dickens (Paperback)
Slater's 'Charles Dickens' is well-written and informative, and the frequent notes and references strike the right balance so that the reader can check where information comes from, should they wish to; but the text can still be read without constant interruption. The narrative is clear, and discussion intelligent. This is far far better than the bitterly disappointing Ackroyd 'Dickens' with its endless (and pointless) querulous speculations ('could it be that the mouse Dickens saw disappearing into his wainscot on that fateful day, made its appearance again in Gaffer Hexam's shack in Our Mutual Friend, some twenty years later?'). Unlike Ackroyd, Slater has not yet given up bothering to write well.
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Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens by Michael Slater (Paperback - 1 Mar 2011)
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