A Dab Of Dickens & A Touch Of Twain

A Dab Of Dickens & A Touch Of Twain

by Elliot Engel, Elliot Engel
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A Dab Of Dickens & A Touch Of Twain 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you've ever heard one of Dr. Engel's lectures, you know what a captivating storyteller he is. Now, for the first time, the content of his lectures has been put into book form. You can almost hear his voice as you read through the pages of this book. As other reviewers have already stated, A Dab of Dickens is a collection of short biographical sketches of over a dozen of the greatest authors of all time. What is unique about these sketches is that, although they are short, they are filled with fascinating tales about the lives of our most beloved authors - tales that I am sure most of us did not ever know. For instance, I was fascinated to find that when he was only 3 years old, Edgar Allan Poe was forced to sit on the front row of the theatre and watch his mother, who played Juliet, stab herself and "die" - eight times a week. No wonder he wrote the kind of macabre stories that he did! The great thing about Dr. Engel's new book is that it gives you just enough to keep your interest, it doesn't overwhelm you, and it makes you want to know more. You want to keep reading the chapter on Poe because you just cannot believe that even more horrible things could have possibly happened to one person. You may be bored by Ernest Hemmingway (for instance), but you don't mind reading his entire chapter because it's not information overload. And at the end of this wonderful book you have a list of authors whose major works you now cannot wait to read. If you love literature and are fascinated by the authors who have brought us so many priceless works of art, this book is for you. If you don't know much about literature at all but are curious to find out more, this book is for you as well. But this book is also perfect for the person who hated English class in high school, avoided literature like the plague in college, and has been glad to forget it completely ever since. I promise that even you will find something fascinating and inspiring among the pages of this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This guy is great! You'll be amazed at all of the unknown tidbits you will discover. It's as good as Biography on A&E. Perfect and interesting way to introduce classic authors to young people as well as impress veteran readers who think they've read it all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I admit I am biased. As the acquiring editor of this book, I of course love it, but I wanted to share with readers why. When I first heard Dr. Elliot Engel's lectures, I was mesmerized. He has the uncanny ability to really bring authors to life, sharing little known gems and anecdotes, and providing insight into how some of our greatest authors' works were affected by the lives they led. Everyone who I've spoken to who has read it can't put it down. If you're curious about why people debate who Shakespeare really was, or why Twain is considered the founder of American humor. If you want to know what the Bronte sisters were really like, or find out about the romance between poets Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. If you want to know how Dickens invented mass-market publishing, or why Oscar Wilde was considered so scandalous, this is the book for you. It's not didactic, nor dry, and whether you majored in English, or you've never read a classic becuase you found them too daunting, this book is equally rewarding. Each chapter stands on its own, and focuses on a different author. It tells of their childhood, what led them to write, how their career developed and how the public reacted. It gives great insight into each author's works, as well as some fascinating anecdotes. You don't even need to have read anything by the author to enjoy the story of their life, though it might inspire you to dust off a few classics. Dr. Engel has had extensive experience lecturing to groups of all ages, from middle school students to adults, and his work is written to entertain as it informs. If you're a student, a teacher, or just a lover of books, you'll be fascinated by these biographical sketches.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you have ever listened to any of Dr. Engel's audio taped lectures, you can almost hear his voice in your head as you read his latest offering. As usual, he doesn't fail to amuse and educate the reader. Dr. Engel covers major authors from Chaucer to Frost, heavy in the 1800s (his area of specialty), in a delightfully brief yet thorough look at each author's life and its influence on their work. Even Janites cannot fault this self-admitted Dickensian for his wonderful treatment of Jane Austen. While every lover of literature would benefit from reading this latest treasure trove of anecdotes, I would highly recommend it for a student who is labouring through an uninspired high school or college literature class.