• 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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
The bio is a good introduction to Dickens. Ackroyd stuck to the facts as he he found them. Yes, I will still read more Dickens biographies because there are areas that I want to study more. Because there was so much information Ackroyd often had to just do a brief mention of some of the accounts in Dickens life.
If one is unfamiliar with Dickens as ...more
Virtually, I couldn't put it down. Not all readers agree with Ackroyd's approach and manner in this monumental biography, but I was completely beguiled and recommend the book unequivocally.
It is the most difficult and most rewarding piece of nonfiction I have ever read, as memory serves, and I have not read strictly lightly in that vein.
Typographically and stylistically dense, and idiosyncratic in its grammar as in its historiography, it is like the Iron Man endurance challenge of reading, where...more
To be fairly honest, I'm not quite sure what to say. There's no denying Ackroyd did an awful lot of research, sure, I'll give him that. But he could've condensed the information into, say, 600 pages - which is what he later did, publishing an abridged version. I've had no choice but to read the original one for academic reasons... and let's face it, its length certainly undermines the quality of Ackroyd's prose. Acrkoyd normally writes beautifu ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more