The Friendly Dickens: Being a Good-Natured Guide to the Art and Adventures of the Man Who Invented Scrooge

The Friendly Dickens: Being a Good-Natured Guide to the Art and Adventures of the Man Who Invented Scrooge

by Norrie Epstein
     
 

The Friendly Dickens helps you turn the pages of a masterpiece like David Copperfield or an "obscure" novel like Nicholas Nickleby as eagerly as you switch channels. Norrie Epstein - whose The Friendly Shakespeare was called "spirited, informative and provocative" by The New York Times - strips away the polite veneer of Victorian society to reveal Dickens's life and… See more details below

Overview

The Friendly Dickens helps you turn the pages of a masterpiece like David Copperfield or an "obscure" novel like Nicholas Nickleby as eagerly as you switch channels. Norrie Epstein - whose The Friendly Shakespeare was called "spirited, informative and provocative" by The New York Times - strips away the polite veneer of Victorian society to reveal Dickens's life and times in all their squalor and glory, from his childhood days toiling in a blacking factory while his father languished in debtor's prison, to his first visit to the United States, where he was hailed as the greatest living writer. The Friendly Dickens includes an illuminating guide to all of Dickens's works and lively appreciations of characters both major and minor, interviews with aficionados from Patrick Stewart to biographer Phyllis Rose, eye-catching illustrations, copious quotations, a highly opinionated filmography and informative sidebars on almost every page.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The subtitle of this guide to Charles Dickens explains what Epstein (The Friendly Shakespeare, LJ 12/92) sets out to accomplish. Part of the publisher's "Friendly" series of popular guides, this is not a full-scale biographical or scholarly study of the author's life and works; for that, one should consult works by Edgar Johnson, Fred Kaplan, and others. Instead, Epstein wants to whet the average reader's interest in Dickens by reviewing all aspects of his life and by summarizing each of his published novels. Epstein successfully uses illustrations, sidebars, lists, and interviews with actors, critics, and various Dickensians to make her observations and critical readings entertaining to the nonscholarly reader. Recommended primarily for public libraries. (Bibliography and index not seen.) [For more on Dickens, see Paul Davis's Charles Dickens A--Z, reviewed on p. 70.--Ed.]--Morris Hounion, New York City Technical Coll. Lib., Brooklyn
Booknews
Another in the "friendly" series popularizing and demystifying classic authors, this volume offers tips on reading Dickens, describes his life, and offers observations and lore connected with the many fascinating characters he created. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Kirkus Reviews
In the sort of labor of love Dickens inspires, Epstein, author of The Friendly Shakespeare (not reviewed) and sometime university lecturer, has written her well-informed and engaging pop reference for those sick of the annual maladaptations of A Christmas Carol and students who have encountered them only as "textbooks, not novels.þ Dickens biographers and scholars have been hard at work since Edmund Wilson to dismantle Dickens's respectable Victorian facade, usually with Freudian tools, but The Friendly Dickens balances demystification with erudition as it encapsulates his prodigious work and literally Dickensian life. Peppered throughout are intriguing and odd bits of information, culled from a wide variety of sources, so that the casual browser will learn Dickens's robust walking speed (4.8 m.p.h.), the total number of characters he created (13,143) and all those he killed off before the age of 25 (over a dozen), and the amount of dung deposited on London streets (40,000 tons per annum). Some of the liveliest and most opinionated sections are the interviews with fellow Dickens aficionados, including actors Roger Rees on the role of Nicholas Nickleby, Miriam Margolyes on Dickens's women in her solo revue, and Patrick Stewart on his one-man Christmas Carol, and critics David Lodge on academic snobbery toward Boz and adapting Martin Chuzzlewit, Phyllis Rose on his marriage and mistress, and Jonathan Yardley on the cultural shifts in popular entertainment from books to movies. Ironically, the best reference section is an extensive filmography of every major screen and television adaptation, enlivened by Epstein's assessments of W.C. Fields as Mr. Micawber, the discordantly cheerfulOliver!, and Michael Caine opposite Kermit the Frog in The Muppet Christmas Carol. Dickensian in every sense of the word, especially Victorian eccentricity and Pickwickian good humor. (illustrations, not seen.)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780670839438
Publisher:
Viking Adult
Publication date:
11/01/1998
Pages:
448
Product dimensions:
6.26(w) x 9.26(h) x 1.37(d)

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