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Charles Dickens in Love Kindle Edition
|Length: 453 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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David Coppefield; The Old Curiosity Shop: Nicholas Nickleby; Hard Times: A Tale of Two Cities: Great Expectations; Bleak House; Little Dorrit; David Copperfield: Our Mutual Friend; Martin Chuzzlewit; Edwin Drood (left unfinished at his untimely death in June, 1870.
Garnett is adept at exploring Dickens sexual history as well as recounting his literary achievements. Dickens often drew pictures of his real life lovers into his leading fictional heroines. The major women in the authro's life:
Maria Beadnell-The spoiled daughter of a London banker she was Dickens first love., Maria is portrayed as Dora Spenlow the brainless and flighty first wife of David Copperfield. Maria would also appear as Arthur Clenham's old lover the foolish, fat and forty Flora Finchin. Dickens had just had an unpleasant reunion with the middle aged Maria.
Mary Hogarth was the younger sister of Dicken's fat and fertile wife Catherine (she had ten children by the virile author). She died young and was used by Dickens to craft such heroines as Rose Maylie in Olver Twist and Agnes Wickfield in David Copperfield.
Ellen Ternan-Dickens fell in love with the much younger Ellen (1839-1922) while staging his play "The Frozen Deep" in Manchester. She was a professional actress who lived in a close knit family of her sister Fanny (married to Thomas Trollope and living in a Florentine villa) her sister Marie and her actiing mother. She probably gave birth to Dickens child in France in 1862. The baby boy is thought to have died soon after his birth. Dickens loved Ellen until his death. They were involved in a horrific train accident which happened in June, 1865 at Staplehurst, Kent in which ten persons died and forty were injured.
Dickens provided homes for Ellen, bought her expensive jewels. He knew divorce was impossible and kept his mistress in style.
Ellen later married and had two children. Ellen was not allowed to accompany Dickens on his 1867 tour of the United States. it was feared that if she did so their relationship would be revealed and a major scandal ensue.
Dickens was an orderly man who was also very passionate in his workaholism, imagination and sexual life. He was an adulterer but comes across as a kind gentleman who was deepl flawed.
The book is rich in quotable lines:
"His energy was a steam engine, his imagination the winged horse Pegasus."-p. 7
"He wrote for money, enjoyed money and spent liberally."-p. 17
"Mundane circumstances helped to nudge him into writing"-p. 64
"Mary Hogarth, in fact, became his religion. His Christianity, by contrast, was pallid."p. 77
"Mary Hogarth became his muse, his Beatrice, a glimpse of Heaven, the divine clothed in a pure and lovely female form."-p. 85
"Agnes remains physically indistinct. We never learn the color of her eyes or the shade of her hair..."-p. 106
"...he was engrossed by Ellen alone and determined at all costs to pursue her. Flirtation had turned into fixation."-p. 175
"...his novels are memorials too, to the three women he loved well...No one taught him more; no one stirred his feelings more powerfully, or enriched his imagination more generously."-p. 390.
This fine book is a love story; a biography of Dickens and a detective tale as the illicit affair between the old author and the young actress is uncovered by Garnett. The book is well illustrated, includes a bibligraphy and extensive footnotes.
Anyone interested in Dickens, Victorian life and a great story will find this book of interest. Highly recommended!
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Prior to having read Charles Dickens in Love, I'd had minimal knowledge of Dickens.Read more