Dickens - Public Life and Private Passion Audio Cassette – Audiobook, 4 Mar 2002
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In this remarkable new biography, Peter Ackroyd offers a different view of Dickens to that presented in his earlier study of the author. In that book, Ackroyd's attempts to mimic the voice of the great writer were highly controversial, though some saw the book as a radical re-invention of the biography form. There is no arguing with the brilliant achievement of the more straightforward Charles Dickens: Public Life and Private Passion, however; the picture of Dickens and his complicated private life that emerges is fastidiously detailed and powerfully evocative, while Ackroyd's customary skill at creating a panoply of the city of London is as dazzling as ever (London, is, in fact, the subject of another biography by the author, who is unquestionably the keenest chronicler of the city's colourful history). Here, Ackroyd attempts to peel away the mask of a man whose life was outwardly a picture of Victorian rectitude, but whose love life was as complicated (and unconventional) as any modern writer. Dickens had everything--fame, success and riches--but he died harbouring a deep sadness he had experienced all his life. He was a man of mercurial character, had enormous vitality and humour, but he also had a sense of loss and longing that would constantly appear in his work. Like many eminent Victorians, he led a double life: although he insisted that nothing in the newspapers he edited should upset his middle-class readers, he regularly indulged in dubious night-time escapades with fellow author Wilkie Collins, and, for the last 13 years of his life, kept a secret mistress.
While presenting a warm but astringent portrait of the man who (along with George Eliot) can be classed as the greatest writer of his age, Ackroyd also masterfully recreates the relationship with the actress Ellen Ternan, a strong and intelligent woman (herself the subject of a biography by Claire Tomalin, The Inviisble Woman who, like her lover, outwardly observed the proprieties while living her real life behind closed doors. Ackroyd also vividly conjures the reality of Victorian life, the issues that sparked Dickens' fervent call for social reform, and the great landmarks of the time, which profoundly affected his life and work. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In this remarkable new biography, Ackroyd offers a different view of Dickens to that presented in his earlier study of the author. Dickens had everything - fame, success and riches. He was mercurial, had enormous vitality and humour, along with a sense of loss and longing that would constantly appear in his work. Like many eminent Victorians, he led a double life: although he insisted that nothing in the newspapers he edited should upset his middle class readers, he regularly indulged in dubious night-time escapades with fellow author Wilkie Collins and kept a secret mistress, Ellen Ternan. Ackroyd vividly conjures the reality of Victorian life, the issues that sparked Dickens' fervent calls for social reform which profoundly affected his life and work. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Amazon's website structure allows only one review "per book" and Ackroyd's "Dickens" (to the software) is one book. (Not a criticism, just an observation on a curiosity. People reading reviews need to be aware that the reviews will appear on all books with this title and author but have been written on one of the many editions, some for children, some for adults, some "shorter" and others not.)
"DICKENS" - BBC, 1990 - cheap paperback, typical paperback paper, 600 pages
At 600 pages, I am reviewing the abridged edition, entitled "Dickens" published in 1990; the "original" was the basis for the very successful television series fronted by Peter Ackroyd.
I cannot think of two more suited and ideal companions - Peter Ackroyd and Charles Dickens. Both Londoners fascinated by London, writing most of their best work in the city with their subjects the city and its people. Dickens must be in the top few for having the most biographies written about him and it is to Ackroyd's credit that he manages to "come fresh" to the subject with new slants and information. It has two illustrated sections of his homes, the women in his life, some manuscripts and drawings and photographs of Dickens himself.
If you are looking for general information on Dickens this is ideal but, if your purpose is more specific, check his other biographies; this is the abridged version and there are longer with more detail but his is not to diminish Ackroyd's achievement.Read more ›
The biography leaves you with a thirst for more, a need to explore the world , sights and sounds of the early Victorian city of London.
I frequently wondered about Dickens early life, its effect on his later development as a writer and considered the similarities with James Joyce who fell in love with his native Dublin but was so rarely there in his later life. He seemed to have a need to travel as appeared so apparent with Dickens.
This biography is one of the finest from a master of the genre. Buy it, read it and enjoy it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent quick service and product was in first class condition, as described.
I read all 1083 pages of the Ackroyd biography in 1991, and I have just finished Claire Tomalin's excellent 417 pages. Both are excellent. Read morePublished on 19 Jun. 2014 by David Poyser
I`m always suspicious when someone (usually a critic) says they read a book `in one sitting` as, with most books, that`s a physical impossiblility. Read morePublished on 20 Nov. 2013 by KaleHawkwood
Peter Ackroyd quotes Dickens' own comment that 'trifles make the sum of life', and it's a thought he returns to a number of times. Read morePublished on 2 July 2012 by gille liath
Having been a Dickens fan since as along as I can remember, this book was purchased for me as a Christmas gift. Read morePublished on 15 Jan. 2012 by blueeyedchick