Published By: Frontline Books
Released On: 30/11/2021
Few writers have had a greater impact upon British society than Charles Dickens. His stories, and, in particular, his many memorable characters, highlighted the life of the forgotten poor and disadvantaged within society at a time when Britain was the leading economic and political power in the world.
Dickens’ portrayal of the poor, such as Oliver Twist daring to ask for more food in the parish workhouse, and Bob Cratchit struggling to provide for his family at Christmas, roused much sympathy and an understanding of the poor and the conditions in which they lived. This led to many people founding orphanages, establishing schools to educate the underprivileged, or to set up hospitals for those who could not afford medical treatment – one such was Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital where one of its wards was named after the great writer.
Little wonder, then, that his legacy can be found across the UK, From the buildings where he lived, the inns and hotels he frequented, the streets and towns which formed the backdrop to his novels and short stories, to the places where he gave readings or performed his own amateur dramatic productions to raise funds for his philanthropic causes, Dickensian memorabilia also abound, including his original manuscripts to his famous works and letters to his wife.
Many of these have been woven in a single volume which transports the reader magically through stories and images into the Dickensian world of Victorian Britain.
Thanks to Frontline for my advanced copy of this title in return for an honest review.
Okay, my love for Dickens is not a secret. I have a complete set of late 19th Century copies of his books that I cannot bring myself to actually read, as they’re too precious to me. I know this sounds silly and pointless, but to make up for it, I’ve bought several newer copies to read. I also have a small collection (8-9) of copies of A Christmas Carol – my favourite book – and long to own a first edition. I adore him as a person and a writer, and aim to read as much literature on him as I can, so I jumped at the chance to read this new one by Paul. I thought about writing a book on Dickens myself, but thought there was nothing new to say, but it is clear there will always be Dickens devotees wanting their next Charles chapter – including me.
This book sits as a literary museum of Dickens for those unable to visit the real museum (which is still on my to-visit list) and gives you an insight into the man behind the moniker.
The formatting was a bit off in this digital version which meant certain things like his life timeline, photos and captions didn’t visually work, so I’d love to see that in the finished product.
I thought I knew a fair amount about Dickens outside of his books, but Paul has uncovered such niche and fascinating insights to him as a boy and a man, as well as a writer, which makes me further appreciate what he created. Paul has presented such heartfelt insight into his background, as well as the thought and passion that went into each of Dickens’ characters.
This is a must-read for any Dickens obsessive.