Herb Moskovitz <[log in to unmask]> has spotted an unexpected new
publication by Michael Slater: (pjm)
Oxford University Press ... has asked Professor Michael Slater to
put out a "bite-sized" biography of The Inimitable. (Actually this book is
based on Professor Slater's entry on Dickens for the massive Oxford Dictionary
of National Biography.)
This new book is part of a series about "Very Interesting People."
Shakespeare, Newton, Darwin and George Eliot have also been given this
abbreviated treatment with promises of James Joyce, Milton, Austen and
Churchill to have their mini-biographies forthcoming soon. You may have
noticed that the notables are all British.
I don't know how the other subjects will fare with their biographers, but
Dickens could have no better biographer than Professor Slater. In just ninety
pages we are treated to a surprisingly complete biography by one of
today's most eminent Dickensians. [It is]especially surprising since
Dickens was not only an author, but also an editor, journalist,
playwright, actor and concluded his life with a new career in public
readings. All these, plus Dickens's personal life are all admirably
covered, as is his work with various charities. Still the emphasis of the
biography is on Dickens's novels. Professor Slater concludes with a
fourteen-page chapter about Dickens's reputation and legacy after
his death, exploring his after-fame, his impact on world literature and his
continuing presence on the stage as well as in film, television and radio.
Everything of importance is here. Professor Slater's lucid writing style
is, of course, a great boon, and the biography is eminently readable.
The book is available from Oxford University Press for about five pounds or
about ten dollars.