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Charles Dickens af Michael Slater
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Charles Dickens (udgave 2009)

af Michael Slater (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1825119,385 (4.28)34
This long-awaited biography, twenty years after the last major account, uncovers Dickens the man through the profession in which he excelled. Drawing on a lifetime's study of this prodigiously brilliant figure, Michael Slater explores the personal and emotional life, the high-profile public activities, the relentless travel, the charitable works, the amateur theatricals and the astonishing productivity. But the core focus is Dickens' career as a writer and professional author, covering not only his big novels but also his phenomenal output of other writing--letters, journalism, shorter fiction, plays, verses, essays, writings for children, travel books, speeches, and scripts for his public readings, and the relationships among them. Slater's account, rooted in deep research but written with affection, clarity, and economy, illuminates the context of each of the great novels while locating the life of the author within the imagination that created them. It highlights Dickens' boundless energy, his passion for order and fascination with disorder, his organizational genius, his deep concern for the poor and outrage at indifference towards them, his susceptibility towards young women, his love of Christmas and fairy tales, and his hatred of tyranny.… (mere)
Medlem:KarlN
Titel:Charles Dickens
Forfattere:Michael Slater (Forfatter)
Info:Yale University Press (2009), Edition: 1, 720 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

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Charles Dickens af Michael Slater

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Viser 5 af 5
An extensive biography of this most famous author I found a bit dry and academic at times. Dicken's certainly was fortunate that his success came relatively early as an author and the sheer volume he churned out in serials was remarkable. Slater covers his life from his haunting childhood that surfaces in a number of his famous work. Also his personal relationships in his seeming obsession with his wife's sister and the discarding of that wife for yet another obsession, Nelly. Much detail throughout on literary works yet a scant few pages on his demise. ( )
  knightlight777 | Aug 20, 2016 |
An indispensible biography of Charles Dickens. Aptly subtitled, "A Life Defined By Writing" -- this biography focuses on Dickens' writing, not just his novels but also his short stories, journalism and editing. The process of writing just about every number of every novel is detailed (the major ones were released in 19 monthly installments -- with the final one being a double issues), often down to where Dickens was living, who was visiting him, and what time pressures he was under. In contrast, the death of Dickens' sister-in-law Mary Hogarth, which might get a chapter in a more psychological or personal treatment of Dickens, initially gets just a single paragraph that a less-than-fully alert reader might miss. But then Slater returns to Hogarth's death multiple times as Dickens writes it into books from the Old Curiousity Shop to David Copperfield. Although Dickens' relationship with Ellen Ternen gets more space, Slater refuses to delve or speculate -- and again seems mostly interested in Ternan as a model for some of the women in Dickens' later novels as well as in the geographic pull she exerts on him.

The process by which novels and other writings were composed would not be of interest for most writers. But for Dickens, it is integral. Whether he was sending back letters from America to support his trip there or resuscitating his latest periodical by contributing a novel, the process was an important part of the end result. Great Expectations, for example, would have been a different had Dickens written it in monthly installments as originally planned rather than the weekly numbers he ultimately utilized to help promote his publication All the Year Round.

Slater is an excellent writer and an authority on Dickens who lets his subject speak for himself through extensive excerpts. Although I would not recommend this for casual or light reading (Peter Ackroyd's Dickens would be a better choice for that -- notwithstanding it's 1,000 page length), there isn't a better book for those who are interested. ( )
  nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
Dickens' life is astonishing. A 19th century superstar. Immensely popular in his own time, he struggled with all the issues celebrities have. Nevertheless, his incredible energy buoyed him along. Slater, as his biographer, has focused upon Dickens as the writer (naturally), interweaving external events with detailed narration of the actual writing of his many works, connecting the dots between what was happening to Dickens at the time and what happened to his characters he was writing at the same time. Compared to what I'm used to in my field (ancient near east), Dickens' life is fully documented even if there are many unanswered or unanswerable questions.

This is a literary biography, very detailed. The reader comes away with a clear notion of Dickens as a person and as a writer. Recommended. ( )
  KirkLowery | Mar 4, 2014 |
Although I’ve read many of Charles Dickens’s books, I knew very little of him beyond that, before now. I chose Michael Slater’s 2009 biography because of the glowing reviews (“eagerly awaited,” “authoritative,” etc.). and having read it, I can say with conviction that the reviews are deserved. Slater is one of the foremost, if not the foremost, experts on Dickens and, according to one of the blurbs on the back cover, he is “the first biographer to have had unhampered access to the whole range of Dickens primary material, in its final edited form.” He is also a first-class writer; this book is a page-turner, filled with the kind of rich detail that only comes from years of study and meticulous research.

It needs a biographer of this standing to do justice to a literary figure such as Charles Dickens -- an immensely creative, imaginative, multitalented writer who emotionally and psychologically was a very complex, complicated man. He had a gift for friendship to match his gift for writing, and as a result was surrounded throughout his life by dear and close friends who treasured and cherished him as much as he did them. He was capable of enormous kindness and generosity, not just toward his friends but also toward struggling writers who looked to him as a role model. His anger at the way the poor and powerless were treated in Victorian society was burned into him by his own experiences at the age of 12, when his father went to debtor’s prison, and Dickens had to leave school to work in a blacking (shoe polish) factory.

During his lifetime, Dickens was easily England’s most beloved author, and he is still considered so today. But he did have a darker side which remained well hidden from his adoring public. When, in his mid-40s, he fell in love with an 18-year-old actress and decided his marriage to Catherine Hogarth, which had been unhappy for some years, was no longer tolerable, he banished his wife from their home (divorce, although legal, was too scandalous an option in upper-class Victorian society for Dickens to seriously consider). It’s unclear from what Slater tells us (and perhaps from what is known) whether he allowed their children the choice of staying with him, or going with her, but in any event they stayed with him. Given that Catherine had borne 10 children in her almost 20-year marriage to Dickens (one died in infancy, so there were nine living), and given what we know about the options a woman had in Victorian society for an independent life that could support nine children, it’s difficult to see how she could have taken the children with her regardless of what her own wishes might have been. After Dickens sent her into exile, Catherine never saw or spoke to her husband again, and Slater does not tell us how much she saw any of her children after that, or even whether she saw them at all. Slater does make it clear that there are very few confirmable answers to these questions that can be gleaned from what is known in the public record, so perhaps they must remain unanswerable.

What IS known -- and what Slater makes abundantly clear -- is that, in the 12 years between 1858 (when these events occurred) and 1870, when he died, Dickens’s behavior toward Catherine was often shockingly cruel, inflicting more pain than would have been inherent in the situation itself. As adults, many of his and Catherine’s children led dysfunctional lives, getting into one mess after another in their personal and in their work lives (the sons, that is, and they were all sons except for two), and Dickens attributed the reason to Catherine having been a bad mother. Worst, though, he actually said this to many of his friends over the years, lamenting to them his misfortune in having been yoked to a woman whose maternal abilities were so inadequate as to produce such children. (And yes, Slater does note that Dickens never appeared to consider the obvious response to this complaint.)

Equally hurtful was Dickens’s revision of his personal history to exclude Catherine -- as when he responded to a letter from Catherine (graciously) wishing him bon voyage on his 1867 readings tour to America with a stiff and formal letter in which he mentioned the American tour they had made together in 1842, but wrote her out of it, as in “You will recall when I made my first trip to America,” as if she had never been on that trip with him at all -- even though at the time he wrote to friends back home of what a lively and cheerful companion she was.

It’s hard to understand what need or deficit in Dickens’s nature drove him to such gratuitous cruelty toward the woman who was his wife for two decades and the mother of 10 children they created together. But that’s part of what made him so complex and fascinating. The dark and the light together are what made Dickens, Dickens -- and Michael Slater does a truly admirable job of opening Dickens to us in the full roundness of the man and the author. ( )
  katkat50 | May 19, 2013 |
An indispensible biography of Charles Dickens. Aptly subtitled, "A Life Defined By Writing" -- this biography focuses on Dickens' writing, not just his novels but also his short stories, journalism and editing. The process of writing just about every number of every novel is detailed (the major ones were released in 19 monthly installments -- with the final one being a double issues), often down to where Dickens was living, who was visiting him, and what time pressures he was under. In contrast, the death of Dickens' sister-in-law Mary Hogarth, which might get a chapter in a more psychological or personal treatment of Dickens, initially gets just a single paragraph that a less-than-fully alert reader might miss. But then Slater returns to Hogarth's death multiple times as Dickens writes it into books from the Old Curiousity Shop to David Copperfield. Although Dickens' relationship with Ellen Ternen gets more space, Slater refuses to delve or speculate -- and again seems mostly interested in Ternan as a model for some of the women in Dickens' later novels as well as in the geographic pull she exerts on him.

The process by which novels and other writings were composed would not be of interest for most writers. But for Dickens, it is integral. Whether he was sending back letters from America to support his trip there or resuscitating his latest periodical by contributing a novel, the process was an important part of the end result. Great Expectations, for example, would have been a different had Dickens written it in monthly installments as originally planned rather than the weekly numbers he ultimately utilized to help promote his publication All the Year Round.

Slater is an excellent writer and an authority on Dickens who lets his subject speak for himself through extensive excerpts. Although I would not recommend this for casual or light reading (Peter Ackroyd's Dickens would be a better choice for that -- notwithstanding it's 1,000+ page length), there isn't a better book for those who are interested. ( )
  jasonlf | Jul 30, 2011 |
Viser 5 af 5
It's a nearly run thing, but if you're looking for just one literary life to give as a gift in this holiday season, you won't go wrong by choosing Michael Slater's " Charles Dickens."
tilføjet af Shortride | RedigerLos Angeles Times, Tim Rutten (Dec 23, 2009)
 
It has been said that Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol" created the holiday as we know it. Even the latest Hollywood iteration, a big-budget computer-animated extravaganza, is substantially faithful to the early-Victorian original. A celebration once banned by Puritans in America and England became the very symbol of Victorian domesticity, and Dickens set the tone with his vision of miserliness overthrown in favor of family, forgiveness and large game birds.

As Michael Slater's captivating biography makes clear, it can also be said that "A Christmas Carol" created Charles Dickens as we know him today.
tilføjet af dstallings | RedigerWall Street Journal, David Propson (pay site) (Nov 14, 2009)
 
The book is an incomparable portrait of the writing life of Dickens. Cumulatively, it is profoundly moving, chronicling the constant restless interaction between the life and the work.
tilføjet af davidcla | RedigerThe Guardian, Simon Callow (Oct 10, 2009)
 
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This long-awaited biography, twenty years after the last major account, uncovers Dickens the man through the profession in which he excelled. Drawing on a lifetime's study of this prodigiously brilliant figure, Michael Slater explores the personal and emotional life, the high-profile public activities, the relentless travel, the charitable works, the amateur theatricals and the astonishing productivity. But the core focus is Dickens' career as a writer and professional author, covering not only his big novels but also his phenomenal output of other writing--letters, journalism, shorter fiction, plays, verses, essays, writings for children, travel books, speeches, and scripts for his public readings, and the relationships among them. Slater's account, rooted in deep research but written with affection, clarity, and economy, illuminates the context of each of the great novels while locating the life of the author within the imagination that created them. It highlights Dickens' boundless energy, his passion for order and fascination with disorder, his organizational genius, his deep concern for the poor and outrage at indifference towards them, his susceptibility towards young women, his love of Christmas and fairy tales, and his hatred of tyranny.

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Yale University Press

2 udgaver af dette værk er udgivet af Yale University Press.

Udgaver: 0300112076, 0300170939

 

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