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Dickens: Public Life and Private Passion (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 16. Mai 2002

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Amazon.de

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

Pressestimmen

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.

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Format: Taschenbuch
Eine nahezu unmögliche, eine einmalige Geschichte. Aus ärmsten Verhältnissen und fast ohne Schulbildung entwickelt sich aus dem 1812 geborenen Jungen Charles Dickens der größte Schriftsteller seiner Zeit. Ein Megastar des Literaturbetriebs, ja im Grunde der Miterfinder und Entdecker dieses Betriebs. Weder die Eltern - der Vater war ein Tunichtgut, der für seine Schulden mehrfach ins Gefängnis wanderte - noch andere Gönner begünstigten den Lebenslauf dieses Self-made Genies, sondern nur sein eigener unbeugbarer Wille. Mit diesem Willen kämpfte sich der kleine Charles aus den Fängen der frühen kapitalistischen Gesellschaft, in der Kinder nicht viel zählten, sondern Futter waren für den Betrieb der Maschinen. So arbeitete auch der kleine Charles noch als Junge in einer Fabrik an der Themse in London, zu der er von Camden Town jeden Tag 10 km hin und zurück ging. Die Wanderungen hat Dickens später beibehalten. Noch im hohen Alter wanderte er täglich bis zu 20 km und konzipierte auf diesen ausgedehnten Spaziergängen seine ausufernden Romane. Alles andere sollte sich aber ändern. Charles arbeitete sich über das Journalisten-Millieu hoch und schrieb schließlich als junger Mann seine ersten Geschichten über die Pickwicks, die bald in Romanform erschienen. Damit begann der Aufstieg eines Kometen am Literatenhimmel, wie es die Welt selten wieder gesehen hat. Charles Dickens schrieb für sein Publikum und liebte sein Publikum - und es liebte ihn zurück. Seine Romane erschienen über Jahre in kurzen Portionen in Periodicals, die er zum Teil selber herausgab. Dickens wurde zu einem weltweiten Ereignis.Lesen Sie weiter... ›
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9fa0cea0) von 5 Sternen 26 Rezensionen
60 von 60 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9fe45c30) von 5 Sternen One of the best (and most unusual) biographies in English 29. August 2002
Von Jay Dickson - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
It's absolutely shocking Peter Ackroyd's magisterial and magical biography of Charles Dickens has fallen out of print: I think I had more pure readerly pleasure reading this work than just about any biography or novel I've read in the last fifteen years. This is really a one-of-a-kind work: Ackroyd writes his life of Dickens as if it were a Dickens novel, and the descriptions of Dickens's London and Rochester spill out in page after page of densely glorious prose. It's a long book, and it is not lightly undertaken, and Ackroyd does some very out-of-fashion gestures here (like profess his belief in Dickens' genius, as other reviewers have noted) very readily. But I can't think of a biography I would recommend more highly.
37 von 38 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9fe4e024) von 5 Sternen Stupendous . . . 7. April 2004
Von Paul Frandano - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
. . . but no adjective, or string of adjectives, can do Ackroyd's massive, majestic biography justice. Dickens is, with Victoria, the archetypical Victorian, and he is here fully realized, in all his contradictory dimensions: the best-known and best-loved writer of his day, but perpetually insecure and ashamed of his "ungentlemanly" background; wealthy yet financially ever insecure and working feverishly for material advancement; outgoing and flamboyantly dramatic, yet profoundly interior and haunted by irrepressible demons; the great celebrator of hearth and home who sired 10 children but who abandoned his wife of 22 years for a curious relationship with an actress less than half his age; the man who toasted Shakespeare's birthday as the anniversary also of the Bard's gallery of immortal characters, who saw himself as a similar progenitor but who would "write" his friends, compulsively objectifying them, family, and acquaintances into manipulable, construed, understandable "characters" - indeed, the most capacious literary imagination since Shakespeare but a jittery control addict for whom everything, and everybody, had to be in its right place.

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.
19 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9fe405d0) von 5 Sternen As definitive as biography gets 23. September 2001
Von Eric Krupin - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
It's a rare biography that leaves you with the feeling that there's nothing more that could be said about its subject. This is one of them. It helps that Ackroyd has so much space to work with. (In this respect, it's like Jackson J. Benson's "The True Adventures of John Steinbeck, Writer" - also shamefully out of print.) But utimately it's a function of Ackroyd's profound understanding of the various aspects of Dickens' character and genius. The occasional veering into fantasia is a bold experiment that, in my opinion, fails decisively but these brief chapters are infrequent and simple to skip. They are a trivial blemish on the face of this monument of scholarship and imagination.
14 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9fe4f1f8) von 5 Sternen how could it be out of print? 13. November 1997
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
This book, in my opinion, is not only the finest biography of Dickens, it is arguably the finest and most sensitive biography ever written. It is absolutely essential reading for anyone with an interest in Dickens. From the moment I began this book, from the point I read Ackroyd's comments on the apparent fact that we would all be literally "sick" with the smells, sounds, filth etc. if we were transported back to Dickens' era, I knew I was reading the work of a wirter who had almost literally been there, with Dickens and his family and confreres, and who was utterly devoted to his material. Until I read this book, I had never been able to get through a Dickens novel. Once I had finished the book, I proceeded to read all of Dickens I could lay my hands on (enthralled), and am currently re-reading the biography. The book proves what I have always believed - novelists write the best biography - and the best history, as well (e.g., Shelby Foote on the Civil War). Shame on publishing for letting this fine work lapse.
10 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9fe4ef48) von 5 Sternen REVIEW OF PETER ACKROYD'S DICKENS BY JOHN CHUCKMAN 28. Februar 2005
Von John W. Chuckman - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
There are some oddities in the style of Mr. Ackroyd, and his book contains some, what might be called, experimental chapters, fantasies or dreams or prose poems on subjects the author associates with Dickens. Ordinarily, I would find these things a bit off-putting.

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.
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