- Gebundene Ausgabe: 160 Seiten
- Verlag: BBC Books (16. Mai 2002)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0563534737
- ISBN-13: 978-0563534730
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 25,2 x 19,4 x 1,8 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 1 Kundenrezension
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 638.362 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Dickens: Public Life and Private Passion (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 16. Mai 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
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.Alle Produktbeschreibungen
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Ackroyd has read every word Dickens wrote - the novels, stories, journalism, letters, inscriptions - and apparently, and more astonishingly, everything ever written ABOUT Dickens - by his circle of literary and profession friends, rivals, reviewers and critics, acquaintances, memoirists who encountered him but once, otherwise unknown British, Scottish, Continental, or American diarists who happened to note a Dickens "sighting" whether or not words were exchanged. All these gleanings Ackroyd shapes convincingly into cumulative aspects of character, incidents that inform Dickens's work, information about the author's public bearing, mannerisms, speech, likes, dislikes, behavior in almost every imaginable range of situations - "in short" - to call on Micawber - a full portrait. And with remarkable efficiency and literary felicity, Ackroyd situates Dickens within his rapidly changing era, as long-distance horse-drawn coaches give way to rail travel, as the stench and filth of pre-Reform London yields to reformist impulses of every stripe, as the Empire advances and London is transformed into a great capital of monuments and squares and Imperial architecture. (And, as with his engrossing biography of Thomas More, Ackroyd introduces London as a major character and influence on his subject, a conceit Ackroyd, himself the author of a knowing, loving "biography" of London, pulls off beautifully.)
Most important for devotees of Charles Dickens - and if you're searching for a 1200 page (scandalously) out-of-print biography, you are surely that - Ackroyd demonstrates convincingly how the work reflects the life, the personality, the influences, the environment, and all the contradictions of Dickens the man. Ackroyd carefully walks the line between reading too much into the life from the work, but draws careful correspondences between the tensions of the life and their realizations in fiction. The chapters devoted to Dickens in the throes, or ecstasies, of creation - for so does his creative moods and energies vary - are among the book's most compelling passages. Scarcely ever has the sinews of literary creativity been laid so believably bare, by a biographer who is himself a prolific, and highly imaginative, writer. The most powerful impression one draws from Ackroyd's matchless story is the extent to which a protean Dickens embodied to a great degree all his mightiest creations, the dark and the bright, and not merely the plainly autobiographical Nickeby, Pip, and David Copperfield.
When I finally closed Ackroyd's Dickens, I was nearly inconsolable at the loss of someone I felt I had come to know so well. A brilliant life, radiantly told, and a book that deserves to be - and, I pray, will soon be - back in print.
But Mr. Ackroyd succeeds in giving us an overwhelmingly animated and penetrating portrait of the great Victorian author. This huge book - and no smaller effort could capture Dickens' spirit - crackles with energy, the very kind of driving energy so characteristic of Dickens himself.
Dickens was a strange man with immense drives and desires going off in many directions and personal habits that might well at times be regarded as unbalanced. He was not the sentimental, storytelling Victorian father figure he is sometimes regarded, although he could be quite sentimental about family and friends and his storytelling ability had few equals.
He behaved at times as a petty tyrant and was highly opinionated, always a man of immense curiosity, a traveler, a political activist, a generous man, a workaholic, a man eager for every possible shred of success and acclaim, a talented actor and mimic, a man seemingly possessed at times, as when carrying on conversations with himself, imitating his own characters in a mirror or going for walks as long as twenty miles alone or living with the ghosts of his fractured childhood.
A whirlwind of experience and desires helped make this naturally talented man such a great novelist. There are similarities to the titanic storm that was Beethoven. In both cases, the young man in his first blush of success could be truly charming while the aging figure could be quite unsettling.
The book contains many interesting anecdotes and details of Dickens' England, as well as Dickens' America since he made two journeys to America, a place he both hated and was fascinated by.
Highly recommended to all lovers of good biography, all students of English literature, and all students of English history.