John Sutherland

No Smoke without Fire?

The Great Charles Dickens Scandal


Yale University Press 215pp £20 order from our bookshop

Dickens and the Workhouse: Oliver Twist and the London Poor


Oxford University Press 370pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Michael Slater’s book has an epilogue entitled ‘Will We Ever Know?’ No need, in this year of Dickens, to ask what the question is. Nelly, of course. His mistress? Mother of his deceased or living offspring? A young actress whom he helped through some difficult years from purely avuncular motives?

Slater has spent fifty years with Dickens at a supreme scholarly level. He has edited volumes of the letters, conducted The Dickensian journal, gathered the authoritative multi-volume collection of Dickens’s journalism and produced a monumental biography. He is, in short, a critic you can trust with the Dickens legacy. If there is one person you wouldn’t trust it’s a journalist. Slater’s book opens with a quote from Victoria Coren in The Observer from 2005:

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Tarantino's latest film is 'a fairy tale about Hollywood, where fantasy is an industrial product and the boulevards… ,
    • 'I don’t think we’re here on Earth to be Happy. I think we’re here on Earth to help God. I am a messianic writer'.… ,
    • 'Darley’s book is not a mad dash through this most compelling and complex of English counties. Nor is it another ti… ,
    • 'Moser’s book offers such a gripping account of a profoundly damaged human being, trapped in a cycle of repetition,… ,
    • 'Ideas that I’d thought were set down in full continue to smoulder ... this book is only a snapshot of some larger… ,
    • 'Full of invention which, at its most pedestrian, is eminently Victorian, and at its most unrestrained wildly imagi… ,
    • 'What in other hands could have been a dry, pedantic account of Christianity’s birth and evolution becomes in Holla… ,