Friday, April 6, 2012

Book Review: The Selected Letters of Charles Dickens

Nicholas Delbanco at the Los Angeles Times offers a review of The Selected Letters of Charles Dickens, edited by Jenny Hartley:

This is the bicentennial year of Charles Dickens' birth. We need no reminder of his eminence as novelist, but there are celebrations of his other attainments as well. "The Selected Letters of Charles Dickens" is part of that.

"... In reducing twelve volumes to one, and the 14,000 to 450, the main criterion is to show Dickens' range as a letter writer. Readers who enjoy his fiction, his journalism, and his travel writing will appreciate his gifts in this fourth genre. On display here, notably in this condensed version, is the epistolary as the genre of exuberance. We see at first hand his indefatigable labors as a magazine editor, his exasperation with business arrangements (not always to his credit), his close involvement with philanthropic projects, his responses to issues of the day such as public hangings, and his alertness as a traveler. We can feel the warmth of his friendships, the richness of his social life, and, throughout, his pleasure in writing."

You can read the rest of the review via the below link:,0,5353352.story

Charles Dickens is a big hit on PBS' Masterpiece, where the program is showing several adaptations of his novels. You can read an earlier post on the TV program via the below link:

And you can read a post on the movies based on Dicken's novels via the below link: 

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