The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens

Overview

Charles Dickens and Nelly Ternan met in 1857; she was 18, a hard-working actress performing in his production of The Frozen Deep, and he was 45, the most lionized writer in England. Out of their meeting came a love affair that lasted thirteen years and destroyed Dickens's marriage while effacing Nelly Ternan from the public record.

In this remarkable work of biography and scholarly reconstruction, the acclaimed biographer of Mary Wollstonecraft, Thomas Hardy, Samuel Pepys and ...

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Overview

Charles Dickens and Nelly Ternan met in 1857; she was 18, a hard-working actress performing in his production of The Frozen Deep, and he was 45, the most lionized writer in England. Out of their meeting came a love affair that lasted thirteen years and destroyed Dickens's marriage while effacing Nelly Ternan from the public record.

In this remarkable work of biography and scholarly reconstruction, the acclaimed biographer of Mary Wollstonecraft, Thomas Hardy, Samuel Pepys and Jane Austen rescues Nelly from the shadows of history, not only returning the neglected actress to her rightful place, but also providing a compelling portrait of the great Victorian novelist himself. The result is a thrilling literary detective story and a deeply compassionate work that encompasses all those women who were exiled from the warm, well-lighted parlors of Victorian England.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a remarkable feat of biographical sleuthing, Tomalin offers the fullest account to date of Charles Dickens's secret 13-year romance with actress Ellen ``Nelly'' Ternan. Photos. Dec.
From the Publisher
“Captivating. . . . An absorbing book about…a character who helps to illuminate the life of a great artist and the life of her times.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“As social history, literary criticism, and, not least, an absorbing detective story, The Invisible Woman is a wonderful book.” —Newsday

“Groundbreaking.” —The Guardian (UK)
 
“This is feminist biography at its best.” —Leon Edel
 
“Part social history, part detective story, wholly enthralling.” —John Carey, The Sunday Times (London)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781452640235
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/30/2012
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Library - Unabridged CD
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Claire Tomalin is the author of eight highly acclaimed biographies including Thomas Hardy and Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self, which won the 2002 Whitbread Book of the Year Award. She has previously won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Biography, the Whitbread First Book Award, the Hawthornden Prize, the NCR Book Award for Non-Fiction, and the Whitbread Biography Award.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgements
1 'N' 3
2 'Agreeable and beautiful talents' 13
3 Family Saga 1790-1845 24
4 Little Orphans 1845-1855 47
5 Gaslight Fairies 1856-1857 61
6 The Amateur: Dickens in 1857 71
7 Manchester, Doncaster and Scandal 1857-1858 96
8 Mornington Crescent 1858-1862 116
9 Vanishing into Space 1862-1865 135
10 Fanny and Maria Get Married 1863-1866 150
11 The Year of the Diary 1867 167
12 'This life is half made up of partings' 1868-1870 183
13 Another Life Begins 1870-1876 199
14 The Schoolmaster's Wife and the Foreign Correspondent: Margate, Rome, Africa 217
15 Nelly Tells 228
16 Southsea 244
17 Geoffrey 252
18 Myths and Morals 259
A Postscript: The Death of Dickens 271
Notes 285
Bibliography 317
Index 323
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