Humphrey Carpenter

The Elusive Charles Dickens

Dickens: Interviews and Recollections

By

Macmillan 2 vols 368pp £15 each order from our bookshop

The notion of Macmillan’s Interviews and Recollections series (there have been previous volumes on Wells, Synge, Wilde, Yeats and Lawrence) is to collect first-hand accounts of their subjects, from contemporary sources, which may not have found a place in existing biographies. All well and good, since this will presumably save future biographers the trouble of chasing up the stuff for themselves, and of course it is more raw material for the thesis-machine. One can also imagine that, given the right subject and the right kind of friends and acquaintances to remember him, the whole thing could be a fascinating read: a kind of biography-in-the-raw, a series of verbal snapshots. Moreover Dickens is obviously a prime candidate for this sort of treatment, a tantalisingly elusive figure whom no one biographer has yet managed to pin down. One starts Philip Collins’ selection with the highest hopes.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • RT : 'Gracefully meditative...a Chatterton-esque literary discovery of old, albeit with references to Bob Geldof and Alk… ,
    • Still time to win tickets to Lady Windermere's Fan at the Vaudeville Theatre in London. To enter simply email marke… ,
    • In need of last minute christmas gifts for children? Philip Womack reviews the latest children's books from Jessica… ,
    • "An artist had to be a chemist – and he had to have a strong stomach. He would have known, writes Jelley, 'the usef… ,
    • Good spelling, us! ,
    • This Christmas, why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions… ,
    • Philip Henscher on Thom Gunn's 'Selected Poems' ,