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

    • John Stubbs reviews Stephen Greenblatt's latest, 'Tyrant: Shakespeare on Power' ,
    • RT : What happened when US military strategist Herman Kahn - one of Kubrick’s three models for Dr Strangelove - took LSD… ,
    • 'Pollan has no doubt that the use of psychedelics could have a powerfully beneficial effect on a range of condition… ,
    • A memoir about an Untouchable family and the 'formation of modern India': 'Ants among Elephants' by @gidla_sujatha… ,
    • RT : First founded in Edinburgh in 1979, is considered a trusted independent source for reviews of new book… ,
    • 'In different ways Hatherley makes gritty Lódź and poor old which-country-are-we-in-this-week Lviv sound entrancing… ,
    • In this issue Lucy Popescu discusses the miscarriages of justice occurring in the investigation over Maltese journa… ,