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Dickens: His Work and His World

von Michael Rosen

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Life and work of the man who wrote A Christmas carol and Oliver Twist.
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Well-done. Interesting, even for me, and I'm not a fan of Dickens' work, nor do I want to learn more about his world.  Definitely a good primer to assist a reader reluctant to tackle Dickens' stories.  Rosen is a wonderful writer; I know this from other works of his and must remember to seek out more.  I chose to read this because I wanted to see more of Ingpen's art... here it's well-done, but not magical, and doesn't impress me as much as I'd hoped. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Dickens: His Work and His World is an illustrated biography that examines the life of Charles Dickens. The first section of the book delves into Dickens' upbringing and illustrates how many of his early struggles shaped the characters of his future novels. Prior to reading I had a reasonable understanding of Dickens' life, but I learned quite a bit more from this book. The author selected interesting elements to focus on and framed them nicely within the context of Dickens' body of work. My only complaint about the biography section of the book is that it ended rather abruptly and did not fully document his life post The Pickwick Papers.

In addition to covering the biographic details of Dickens' life, the book also examines the social, political, and demographic landscape of London during the mid-1800's. I saw great value in including these details. The information about the world that shaped his writing is just as important as the details of his life. The author also discussed how our own surroundings can shape our worldview. From a teaching perspective, this would be an excellent way to frame one of his novels, or begin a discussion about students' own surroundings.

The book closes with an examination of four of Dickens' major works: A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, and Great Expectations. For the first three books, the author offers a basic synopsis. This would be good information for a student who was interested in a brief survey of his work. The section on Great Expectations is more robust and examines the book's tone, setting, plot and characters in more depth. While there are certainly more scholarly resources available, this book does a nice job introducing the idea of literary analysis.

In regards to appearance, the book itself is very attractive. There are beautiful illustrations that help tell the story, and the large format made it very easy to read. The book includes a comprehensive index, explanation of difficult words, and a comprehensive timeline of Dickens' life. Interestingly, there is no bibliography or suggested reading section. ( )
  JeffCarver | Feb 8, 2014 |
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Life and work of the man who wrote A Christmas carol and Oliver Twist.

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