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Charles Dickens at Home Hardcover – 13 Oct 2011
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Macaskill presents a captivating landscape, covering everywhere Dickens lived plus all his travels at home and abroad. By placing him within a domestic context, enriched by a wealth of archive illustrations and photographs, the book offers a fresh glimpse of the novelist whose close attention to detail and acute awareness of place was reflected throughout his novels, which brilliantly convey the flavour of home life.
About the Author
Graham Salter, one of Britain's most experienced oboists and teachers, has held Principal positions with the RSNO and the Royal Opera House and has appeared as Guest Principal with every major London orchestra. His extensive photos of classical music and the arts are distributed by the Lebrecht Collection. He lives in London NW3.
Hilary Macaskill is a journalist and travel writer. She lives in London.
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The only downside is the text, which is so determined to paint Dickens as a domesticated patriarch, that it is blind to the reality of his life and the contradictory aspects of his personality. This reaches its zenith with the statement that Dickens' concern for the Ternan family 'did not appear to be from his usual altruistic motives'! Such coyness seems a bit misplaced in 2011 and I'm not sure how Dickens himself would have reacted to a work so determined to reduce his life and work to a series of pretty pictures.
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In his lifetime, Charles Dickens went from debtors' prison, as a youth, to comfortable, thoroughly English homes that befit his status as England's most popular author and world-famous celebrity. Indeed, he ultimately realized his childhood dream of a house in Kent! Macaskill takes the reader through a chronologically arranged tour of Dickens' abodes in England and abroad in chapters entitled: Childhood, Growing Up, Marriage and Domesticity, Dickens Away, etc. She gives the history of each site, the circumstances that brought Dickens (and his family) to that place, family life experiences and so on. The text is complimented by Salter's color photographs which portray each site. Vintage illustrations of many of those sites provide an interesting then-and-now perspective.
CHARLES DICKENS AT HOME is as much a portrait of the man as his residences. It is, at once, a fascinating travel guide and an affectionate biography of this singular author. Highly recommended.
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