Dickens' Fur Coat and Charlotte's Unanswered Letters: The Rows and Romances of England's Great Victorian Novelists

Overview

In his bestselling What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew, Daniel Pool brilliantly unlocked the mysteries of the English novel. Now, in his long-awaited Dickens' Fur Coat and Charlotte's Unanswered Letters, Pool turns his keen eye to England's great Victorian novelists themselves, to reveal the surprisingly human private side of their public genius. Dickens' Fur Coat and Charlotte's Unanswered Letters explores the outrageous publicity stunts, bitter rivalries, rows, and general mayhem perpetrated by this ...
See more details below
This Hardcover is Not Available through BN.com
Note: This is a bargain book and quantities are limited. Bargain books are new but may have slight markings from the publisher and/or stickers showing their discounted price. More about bargain books
Sending request ...

Overview

In his bestselling What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew, Daniel Pool brilliantly unlocked the mysteries of the English novel. Now, in his long-awaited Dickens' Fur Coat and Charlotte's Unanswered Letters, Pool turns his keen eye to England's great Victorian novelists themselves, to reveal the surprisingly human private side of their public genius. Dickens' Fur Coat and Charlotte's Unanswered Letters explores the outrageous publicity stunts, bitter rivalries, rows, and general mayhem perpetrated by this group of supposedly prudish - yet remarkably passionate and eccentric - authors and publishers. Against a vividly painted backdrop of London as the small world it once was, the book brings on the players in the ever-changing, brave new world of big publishing - a world that gave birth to author tours, big advances, "trashy" fiction, flashy bookstalls in train stations (for Victorian "airport fiction"), celebrity libel suits, bogus blurbs, even paper recycling (as unsold volumes reappeared as trunk linings, fish wrappings, and fertilizer).
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Chicago Tribune
If you've ever shed a tear over a Dickens novel or sighed over Heathcliff or Cathy, or if you just love what Henry James called those 'huge, floppy nineteenth century English novels,' you'll relish Dickens' Fur Coat and Charlotte's Unanswered Letter.
Washington Post
Anyone interested in the juicier bits of literary history will enjoy this book.
Publishers Weekly - Cahners\\Publishers_Weekly
"Letting booksellers set prices... just allowed big booksellers to drive the 'independents' out of business by underselling them.... it would destroy the country's intellectual life." A reflection on today's David and Goliath bookselling battles? No-Alexander Macmillan's reflections on England's 1852 discount controversy, just one of the many resonant and entertaining tales to be found in this book on the business of writing, publishing and bookselling in the Victorian age. The book's gimmicky title belies the author's intelligent telling of the transformation and maturation of the industry. The Victorian Greats are brought to life, their motivations and vulnerabilities revealed through their own letters, which Pool (What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew) expertly weaves into a lively dramatic narrative. While Dickens, Brontë, Thackeray and George Eliot chronicled the social condition of the time, industry innovators like W.H. Smith, who dispensed "portable books" at the first railroad station book stall, and Charles Mudie, whose circulating libraries commanded great power, stimulated the mass production of books and fostered widespread literacy throughout the country. Though Pool's occasionally convoluted prose could use the kind of editor saluted in its pages, this book tells the colorful stories behind the creators and the creation of the voluminous Victorian novels. Anglophiles and bibliophiles alike will relish this celebration of the rich and glorious history of publishing and bookselling. Photos.
School Library Journal
YA--Once again, Pool enters the literary world of Victorian England. He adeptly intertwines interesting moments in the lives of such renowned figures as Charles Dickens, the Brontes, and George Eliot with the history of the British book-publishing industry and the development of a newly emerging, educated middle class that became the market for the novel. The author includes several comparisons to modern-day life that are sure to put YAs in touch with this period. Photographs and portraits of authors and publishing locations appear throughout. A substantial bibliography of books and periodical articles is included. This book should appeal to those interested in these literary personalities and their work.--Barbara Arthur, Kings Park Library, Burke, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Another informal, delightfully entertaining foray into the world of the Victorian novel by the author of What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew (1993).

In 1836, when Dickens wrote The Pickwick Papers to accompany comic prints, prose writing was "a low-rent activity," Pool notes. Yet within ten years, Dickens was besieged by fans during a visit to America, and the novel was well on its way toward such solid respectability that George Eliot's books could be termed "second Bibles." When Wilkie Collins broke through that respectability with his "sensation novels," the public gleefully responded by snapping up not just his writing but Woman in White cloaks and perfume—the commercial tie-ins of the day. It is with a puckish sense of humor and a sharp ear for gossip that Pool puts a human face on his account of the progress of English publishing. In his hands, subjects such as the constraints and demands of serial writing, the power of lending libraries, and the challenges of satisfying an increasingly straitlaced public morality become plot twists with which his characters must contend. And what characters! Charlotte Brontë innocently setting off rumors by dedicating the second edition of Jane Eyre to Thackeray, whose wife was insane. Thackeray and Dickens squabbling publicly, ostensibly over a magazine article about the author of Vanity Fair (Urged to make peace, Thackeray said, "It is a quarrel, I wish it to be a quarrel, and it will always be a quarrel."). Dickens haunted by memories of working in a blacking factory: "I often forget in my dreams that I have a dear wife and children . . . and wander desolately back to that time." Elizabeth Gaskell enthusiastically producing a biography of her friend Charlotte Brontë that turns out to be far more colorful than accurate.

Great Books meets celebrity gossip: a rare, literate entertainment.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765513397
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/1/1997
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 282

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Pt. 1 "A Low, Cheap Form of Publication": Charles Dickens, the Coming of Pickwick, and Murder by the Book 1
Pt. 2 "It Would Never Suit the Circulating Libraries": Jane Eyre, Vanity Fair, and the Three-Volume Straitjacket 41
Pt. 3 "What Shall I Be Without My Father?": Women Novelists in the London of Dickens and Thackeray, the Coming of Real Money, and the Novel Becomes Respectable 75
Pt. 4 "Do Let Me Abuse Mr Newby": Literary Executors, Gossip Columnists, and the Emergence of the Novelist as Celebrity 111
Pt. 5 "Terror to the End": The Sensation Novel, Dickens "Dreadfully Shattered," and Anthony Trollope Gets a Traveling Bag and an Audience 157
Pt. 6 "We Are a Novel-Reading Country": Middlemarch and Mr. Mudie's Library, the Novel Apparently Triumphant, but Henry James Fails, Ominously, to Write a Happy Ending 187
Bibliography 251
Index 267
Photography Credits 281
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)