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Publishers WeeklyWritten by Dickens's great-great-great granddaughter in honor of the bicentenary of his birth, this beautifully illustrated biography recalls the life and works of one of the most beloved authors of all time. Hawksley (Katey: The Life and Loves of Dickens's Artist Daughter) begins with Dickens's impoverished childhood, during which his family was sent to debtors prison and he was forced to take a job at a blacking factory, an experience that provided fodder for his most autobiographical novel, David Copperfield. Hawksley describes the ups and downs of Dickens's marriage to Catherine Hogarth and gives a brief biography of each of their ten children. She further recalls the dissolution of the marriage and Dickens's ostensible affair with actress Ellen Ternan. Hawksley draws attention to the various forms social critique in Dickens' work. She aptly describes Bleak House as "one of Dickens's most scathing commentaries on the British legal system," with characters who "challenge the prevailing Victorian psyche." Each of his novels is given a brief chapter in which Hawksley recounts the basic plot, themes, likely influences, and circumstances surrounding publication. Folders throughout contain removable replicas of authentic documents such as letters, manuscript pages, and playbills. Artwork in the book includes illustrations from first editions, paintings of the author and his family, photographs of key people and locations, and more. Fans of Dickens's work will certainly delight in this visually stunning, entertaining celebration of the author. Photos and illus.
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