Becoming Dickens: The Invention of a Novelist

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9780674072237: Becoming Dickens: The Invention of a Novelist

Becoming Dickens tells the story of how an ambitious young Londoner became England’s greatest novelist. In following the twists and turns of Charles Dickens’s early career, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst examines a remarkable double transformation: in reinventing himself Dickens reinvented the form of the novel. It was a high-stakes gamble, and Dickens never forgot how differently things could have turned out. Like the hero of Dombey and Son, he remained haunted by “what might have been, and what was not.”

In his own lifetime, Dickens was without rivals. He styled himself simply “The Inimitable.” But he was not always confident about his standing in the world. From his traumatized childhood to the suicide of his first collaborator and the sudden death of the woman who had a good claim to being the love of his life, Dickens faced powerful obstacles. Before settling on the profession of novelist, he tried his hand at the law and journalism, considered a career in acting, and even contemplated emigrating to the West Indies. Yet with The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, and a groundbreaking series of plays, sketches, and articles, he succeeded in turning every potential breakdown into a breakthrough.

Douglas-Fairhurst’s provocative new biography, focused on the 1830s, portrays a restless and uncertain Dickens who could not decide on the career path he should take and would never feel secure in his considerable achievements.

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About the Author:

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst is Professor of English Literature and a Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford.

Review:

Rightly rejecting familiar accounts of Dickens's life, Douglas-Fairhurst's biography shows us the forlorn and driven young Dickens, restless and uncertain, who could not yet choose what was to become his inevitable mode of composing fiction. I recommend it highly. (Harold Bloom)

Douglas-Fairhurst offers an original perspective on Dickens's early life and writing as Dickens works through the choices before him in pursuit of a voice and style he could confidently claim as his own.... a fresh and insightful study, moving and exceptionally well-written... a book to be valued by a range of readers, and one certain to stand the test of time. (David Paroissien, University of Massachusetts, Amherst)

Becoming Dickens never takes Dickens for granted, but helps us to be surprised--shocked even--that he existed, worked and wrote in the way that he did. This counterfactual emphasis gives the book breathing space and a sense of play that is too often missing from more orthodoxly organized biographies. (John Bowen, University of York)

This book captures the chameleon Dickens as a product of his era before he became its creator. (Publishers Weekly 2011-06-06)

Douglas-Fairhurst's acute and incisive analysis of the contemporary reception of Dickens's journalism and then his first serialized fiction reveals how Dickens's keen observations and storytelling talent allowed him to rise above his station, as he forged his experiences into fiction...A perceptive and speculative biography. (Lonnie Weatherby Library Journal 2011-08-01)

A convincing portrait of budding genius. (Bryce Christensen Booklist 2011-10-01)

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst sets out to counter what he sees as the literary man-of-destiny version of Dickens, to recover the uncertainty, muddle and loose ends...Douglas-Fairhurst covers much ground, but one of his central ideas is Dickens's pervasive sense of what might have been. He sees it in the false trails and shadow plots (take Great Expectations, where Pip imagines himself in one story though is really in another), in his doublings among characters and in his jostling possibilities and competing outcomes (for instance in A Christmas Carol). Becoming Dickens is an ingenious, playful and often brilliant analysis as much as it is a narrative. (The Economist 2011-10-01)

The great tide of Dickensiana, to celebrate the bicentenary of the author's birth in February 2012, has already begun to appear in the shops. While much of the attention will be focused on Claire Tomalin's Charles Dickens: A Life, my own favorite is Robert Douglas-Fairhurst's Becoming Dickens: The Invention of a Novelist. (D. J. Taylor The Independent 2011-09-25)

[A] subtle and searching book...Dickens is immortal and inexhaustible, and there will be more books in the lead-up to the 200th anniversary of his birth next year. If any of them outshine [this one] we shall be luckier than mere mortals deserve. (John Carey Sunday Times 2011-10-02)

Douglas-Fairhurst's Becoming Dickens ponders the question of how this phenomenal man happened. He identifies a series of self-defining moments in the process...Douglas-Fairhurst has all of Dickens, it seems, at his fingertips and his ear is cocked for every significant echo...What is extraordinarily fresh in Becoming Dickens is Douglas-Fairhurst's ability to support [his] arguments by sensitive explication de texte...Robert Douglas-Fairhurst reads Dickens the author with brilliant acuity. If [this book is a] harbinger of what is to come in the bicentennial year, 2012 will be a memorial fully worthy of the great Boz. (John Sutherland Literary Review 2011-10-01)

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Descripción HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2013. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Becoming Dickens tells the story of how an ambitious young Londoner became England s greatest novelist. In following the twists and turns of Charles Dickens s early career, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst examines a remarkable double transformation: in reinventing himself Dickens reinvented the form of the novel. It was a high-stakes gamble, and Dickens never forgot how differently things could have turned out. Like the hero of Dombey and Son, he remained haunted by what might have been, and what was not. In his own lifetime, Dickens was without rivals. He styled himself simply The Inimitable. But he was not always confident about his standing in the world. From his traumatized childhood to the suicide of his first collaborator and the sudden death of the woman who had a good claim to being the love of his life, Dickens faced powerful obstacles. Before settling on the profession of novelist, he tried his hand at the law and journalism, considered a career in acting, and even contemplated emigrating to the West Indies. Yet with The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, and a groundbreaking series of plays, sketches, and articles, he succeeded in turning every potential breakdown into a breakthrough. Douglas-Fairhurst s provocative new biography, focused on the 1830s, portrays a restless and uncertain Dickens who could not decide on the career path he should take and would never feel secure in his considerable achievements. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9780674072237

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Descripción HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2013. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Becoming Dickens tells the story of how an ambitious young Londoner became England s greatest novelist. In following the twists and turns of Charles Dickens s early career, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst examines a remarkable double transformation: in reinventing himself Dickens reinvented the form of the novel. It was a high-stakes gamble, and Dickens never forgot how differently things could have turned out. Like the hero of Dombey and Son, he remained haunted by what might have been, and what was not. In his own lifetime, Dickens was without rivals. He styled himself simply The Inimitable. But he was not always confident about his standing in the world. From his traumatized childhood to the suicide of his first collaborator and the sudden death of the woman who had a good claim to being the love of his life, Dickens faced powerful obstacles. Before settling on the profession of novelist, he tried his hand at the law and journalism, considered a career in acting, and even contemplated emigrating to the West Indies. Yet with The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, and a groundbreaking series of plays, sketches, and articles, he succeeded in turning every potential breakdown into a breakthrough. Douglas-Fairhurst s provocative new biography, focused on the 1830s, portrays a restless and uncertain Dickens who could not decide on the career path he should take and would never feel secure in his considerable achievements. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9780674072237

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Descripción HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2013. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Reprint. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Becoming Dickens tells the story of how an ambitious young Londoner became England s greatest novelist. In following the twists and turns of Charles Dickens s early career, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst examines a remarkable double transformation: in reinventing himself Dickens reinvented the form of the novel. It was a high-stakes gamble, and Dickens never forgot how differently things could have turned out. Like the hero of Dombey and Son, he remained haunted by what might have been, and what was not. In his own lifetime, Dickens was without rivals. He styled himself simply The Inimitable. But he was not always confident about his standing in the world. From his traumatized childhood to the suicide of his first collaborator and the sudden death of the woman who had a good claim to being the love of his life, Dickens faced powerful obstacles. Before settling on the profession of novelist, he tried his hand at the law and journalism, considered a career in acting, and even contemplated emigrating to the West Indies. Yet with The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, and a groundbreaking series of plays, sketches, and articles, he succeeded in turning every potential breakdown into a breakthrough. Douglas-Fairhurst s provocative new biography, focused on the 1830s, portrays a restless and uncertain Dickens who could not decide on the career path he should take and would never feel secure in his considerable achievements. Nº de ref. de la librería BTE9780674072237

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Descripción Belknap Press, 2013. Estado de conservación: New. 2013. Reprint. Paperback. This provocative biography tells the story of how an ambitious young Londoner became England's greatest novelist. Focused on the 1830s, it portrays a restless, uncertain Dickens who could not decide on a career path. Through twists and turns, the author traces a double transformation: in reinventing himself Dickens reinvented the form of the novel. Num Pages: 400 pages, 28 halftones. BIC Classification: BGL. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 236 x 167 x 31. Weight in Grams: 496. . . . . . . Nº de ref. de la librería V9780674072237

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