Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens

A Life

eBook - 2011
Average Rating:
Rate this:
When Charles Dickens died in 1870, The Times of London successfully campaigned for his burial in Westminster Abbey, the final resting place of England's kings and heroes. Thousands flocked to mourn the best recognized and loved man of nineteenth-century England. His books had made them laugh, shown them the squalor and greed of English life, and also the power of personal virtue and the strength of ordinary people. In his last years Dickens drew adoring crowds, had met presidents and princes, and had amassed a fortune. Yet like his heroes, Dickens trod a hard path to greatness. His young life was overturned when his profligate father was sent to debtors' prison and Dickens was forced into harsh factory work--but this led to his remarkable eye for all that was absurd, tragic, and redemptive in London life. This biography gives full measure to Dickens's stature--his virtues both as a writer and as a human being--while observing his failings in both respects with an unblinking eye.--From publisher description.
Published: New York : Penguin Press, 2011.
ISBN: 9781101547991
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xlvii, 527 p., [24] p. of plates) :,ill., maps.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

SB2000 Apr 02, 2013

Written with wit, verve and compassion, this is another brilliant biography from one of the great exponents of this form.

As with her biography of Sam Pepys, we are swept right into the Regency world of young Charles' birth in the home of an improvident and debt-ridden father

Dickens is shown in the round: as hugely complex man, full of foibles, possessed of almost superhuman levels of energy and self-belief. A man who could be a champion of the down-trodden and oppressed, a steadfast friend-in-need and also incredibly self-centered. A man with a genius for writing and melodrama but who also could record the scenes of life around him and give dignity to those contemporary society considered had none. Acreator of villains and heros. One of my favourite authors.

Apr 30, 2012

When writing the biography of this massively complex life, the author must choose: breadth or depth? For breadth, this well-researched, sensible-shoes book is a good start. All events are touched on, and Ms. Tomalin has a brisk frankness that eludes most of her rivals. (Yes, OF COURSE Dickens had a physical affair with Ellen Ternan and visited prostitutes. And not just to rescue them.) Her assessments of Dickens`s writings are conventional and easily skipped. For depth, try Michael Slater`s Dickens and Women (the first bio that gave the unfortunate Mrs. Dickens a fair shake), or even Peter Ackroyd`s biography. It`s annoyingly fanciful, but has Dickens`s sense of drama.

Apr 14, 2012

Terrific biography.

Feb 15, 2012

This biography of Dickens is almost as exciting and touching as reading a Dickens novel. Beautifully written, meticulously researched (with speculation here and there as well). Humane and engaging.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at DBRL

To Top