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Patrick McCarthy <[log in to unmask]>
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Charles Dickens Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 8 Feb 2016 13:14:15 -0800
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On 2/8/2016 9:43 AM, Fred Guida wrote:
Friends of the Dickens Forum,

Fred Guida <[log in to unmask]>  gives us news about the 
re-publication of a book by Edward Wagenknecht, a distinguished
Dickensian whom we have admired.   If Wagenknecht was wrong about the 
relationship of CD and Nelly Ternan, so too were many
of us:                                                  (pjm)

> Hello Professor,
> The following is submitted for publication on the Dickens Forum:
> As I'm sure many will remember, the late Edward Wagenknecht was one of 
> the most distinguished and prolific literary critics and scholars of 
> the twentieth century. He was also a pioneer in those academic areas 
> now known as Film Studies and Popular Culture. And, since he produced 
> three books on Dickens, I think it fair to say that he was also a 
> great Dickensian.
> In this context, I am happy to announce that his "The Man Charles 
> Dickens: A Victorian Portrait" has just been reissued as an ebook by 
> Endeavour Press. It is available for the Kindle from amazon.com (I 
> wrote an introduction to this new edition, however, I have no 
> financial stake in this matter.)
> The book originated as Wagenknecht's doctoral dissertation at the 
> University of Washington. It was first published (with excellent 
> reviews) in 1929 by Houghton Mifflin and later in a 1966 revised 
> edition from the University of Oklahoma Press. (There was also a 
> British edition in 1930 from Constable.) The new ebook is a reissue of 
> the 1966 revised edition.
> While it is not a biography, as the title suggests, it is a book about 
> Dickens the man. Specifically, it is Wagenknecht's first 
> major psychograph, a type of character study that he learned from his 
> friend and mentor Gamaliel Bradford who wrote the introduction to the 
> first edition. (Bradford was, in turn, indebted to the French writer 
> Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve.)
> I bring all of this to everyone's attention because I think "The Man 
> Charles Dickens: A Victorian Portrait" is a very good book, and a very 
> important book. Unfortunately, it is also a largely forgotten book. 
> The key point here is the date of its original publication -- 1929. In 
> light of this date, it seems to me that the book is a major bridge 
> (the missing link?) between Chesterton and the later "scholarly 
> explosion" of Wilson-Orwell-House. Unfortunately, the book is rarely 
> mentioned in bibliographies and surveys of twentieth century Dickens 
> scholarship. I cannot understand this. Readers are certainly free to 
> like or dislike the book, but its very existence should not be ignored.
> In any event, I hope that folks will consider checking out this "lost 
> gem" of a book. I should also mention that the following Edward 
> Wagenknecht titles have also just been reissued as ebooks by Endeavour 
> Press: "Mark Twain: The Man and His Work"; Edgar Allan Poe: The Man 
> Behind the Legend"; Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Man, His Tales and 
> Romances"; "The Personality of Milton" and "The Personality of 
> Shakespeare." ("The Personality of Chaucer" is forthcoming.)
> With best wishes to all,
> Fred Guida