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4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  70 ratings  ·  19 reviews
1990 first U.S. printing/edition. Superior copy. Excellent condition. From private collection.
Hardcover, 1216 pages
Published January 1st 1991 by Harpercollins Publisher (first published 1990)
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I bought this years ago, little realizing how useful it would be later on when I was researching the life of Charles Dickens. In recent years, some new biographies of Dickens have come out, which I fully plan to read, but this is still an authoritative work by a recognized Dickens scholar. Particularly interesting to me were some "literary interludes" where Ackroyd imagines his subject conversing with him, with other authors, or with his own literary progeny. Some fine illustrations are included ...more
Brian Robbins
If an appointments committee existed to examine the CVs & references of potential biographers before selecting the best fitted for the task, they would have been hard-pressed not to have at least short-listed Ackroyd to write about Dickens. He is well qualified to undertake the task, being:-

• the author of other excellent biographies – particularly on Eliot, Blake & Thomas More
• a novelist of some standing in his own right, and therefore with a considerable insight into the processes inv
This is the original landmark biography of Charles Dickens. It is almost as much a study of the culture and period Dickens was born into, as it is a biography. Viewed solely as a biography it comprehensively details his life, his work and the influences he continues to have. It is both imaginative and scholarly, as well as being an engrossing and entertaining read.

NB. This is not the "shorter" version as the blurb suggests. The ISBN here is correct, but the links on Amazon are not. Peter Ackroyd
Mar 31, 2008 John rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: readers of literary biography
One of the most beautifully written and engaging biographies ever. Ackroyd focuses clearly on the personality and affect of the author, the forces in his life, including continuing reinvention of the self that made Dickens write and keep writing. The book contains a bit of literary criticism, but this biography is most decidedly not of the "life and works" variety.

Even at 1100 pages, I was sorry that the book weren't twice as long. It is one of those books that I hate to finish, so after reachin
Judith Howard
I read the unabridged version of this book a long time ago. It's one of the best biographies I have ever read--very engaging and highly readable--no small feat for a book of that length. Dickens emerges as flawed and human like the rest of us, but with a talent for turning those flaws and his experiences into works that change lives.
Steve Morris
Still the modern standard definitive text. Any further Dickens' biographies will be measured against Ackroyd's meticulously detailed research.
Feb 07, 2008 Brynn rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2008
Amazingly thorough yet compulsively readable.
Peter Ackroyd's thorough biography of Charles Dickens is the definitive book on one of the world's first novelist celebrities.

The more I read it, the more I liked it. Ackroyd occasionally inserts a creative chapter: one insert follows Dickens as he enters one of his own books; in another we follow Dickens around London as he remembers the places of his youth and his fiction; in a third insert we hear a conversation between Dickens, T.S. Eliot and Oscar Wilde; and a fourth insert shows a gatheri
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in August 2001.

As the most popular writer of his age, and as a social campaigner, Charles Dickens had an immense influence which still shapes modern literature and the culture in which we live - his stories helped shape our ideas of the "traditional" Christmas, apart from the more difficult to trace effects of his writing about social issues.

The man who had this influence was extraordinary in himself as well. As a result, he has always been a magnet for biogr
First, a word about just which edition of this book I'm writing about, which is the full length bio - obviously, some of the reviews here are for the stripped down version, which it seems probably should have its own entry, but seems not to - or if it does, still gets confused with this book. So yes, we're talking about the long version of the book here - almost 1100 pages not including the index and notes, but throw in the miniscule typeface that this is printed in and it's longer even than the ...more
A thorough and engaging biography of the classic victorian author. This is what I call a "cultural biography" in the sense that it incorporates the cultural context of the life of Dickens. I learned many details about Dickens life and loves that have added to my enjoyment of his novels. His interest in the stage is a good example of this as it not only influenced his stories but also the way he wrote them. With the addition of intelligent literary criticism and vibrant prose Ackroyd's biography ...more
Joyce M. Tice
Mar 15, 2010 Joyce M. Tice is currently reading it
We really need to appreciate our education. Dickens and Hardy had to struggle so hard to get an education of any kind and yet, they made more of their lives than most of us could even imagine.
Margot Peter
This is a door stop of a book...scholarly but just way too detailed for anyone but a Dickens scholar. I tried and died to rad it but finally gave man other great reads out there.
kenneth svensson
A very interesting biography about a very complicated man and auther in London and Europe in the Vicktorian time.
Richard Epstein
Great book, terrific biography, assuming you care almost as much about Ackroyd's gifts as you do about Dickens'.
I am finished slogging through this book and now know more than I ever cared to about Charles Dickens.
It was a long and difficult read, but an informative book nonetheless
In-depth, thoroughly researched and well-written biography.
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Peter Ackroyd CBE is an English novelist and biographer with a particular interest in the history and culture of London.

Peter Ackroyd's mother worked in the personnel department of an engineering firm, his father having left the family home when Ackroyd was a baby. He was reading newspapers by the age of 5 and, at 9, wrote a play about Guy Fawkes. Reputedly, he first realized he was gay at the age
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