Friends of the Dickens Forum,

    Ruth Richardson <[log in to unmask]>  relies on the experience of readers of
"the real Dickens" to judge him fairly:                                                (pjm)

[log in to unmask]" type="cite">

I entirely agree with Susan Jhirad. Bashing Dickens is a fashion that I
hope will pass. He is so good that lesser mortals want to bring him down,
or aid their own careers with some new flagrant accusation. It will pass,
as the books stand for themselves, and there are plenty of readers of the
real Dickens who know very well that he was aware of his own weaknesses,
and was a deeply humane and life-affirming writer. His books will stand.

On Tue, Jun 9, 2015 at 6:55 PM, Patrick McCarthy <[log in to unmask]>

Friends of the Dickens Forum,

    Others have expressed similar sentiments, but Susan Jhirad
<>  has assembled
a number of recent animadversions on Dickens's character and speaks up for
a balanced view:            (pjm)

As we fondly remember Dickens and his efforts to help other wounded and
dying passengers during the traumatic Staplehurst crash, I feel compelled
to comment on the recent spate of “Dickens-bashing” articles and books that
have emerged of late. First, the late Christopher Hitchens writing in *The
Atlantic Monthly* in 2010, “The Dark Side of Dickens: Why Dickens was the
best of authors and the worst of men.” Recently, also in *The Atlantic*, an
article “Was Dickens a Thief?” implying that he not only “stole” the idea
of *The Pickwick Papers* from the illustrator Robert Seymour, but that he
was in some way responsible for Seymour’s suicide! Finally, recent books-
Robert Gottlieb’s *Great Expectations*, focusing on the failures of
Dickens’ children and tending towards blaming him as a bad father. Then,
Lilian Nayder’s well researched but rather biased book *The Other Dickens*,
again suggesting that Dickens was something of a monster towards his

l, talented wife and women in general. Now all biographers  certainly
agree, he treated Catherine badly at the end of their marriage, but there
are many of us who are in no position to “cast stones” at those who leave
unhappy marriages, or happen to fall in love with others.

We all know Dickens was no saint, but was he really “the worst of men?”
or for that matter, “the worst of fathers?” As Claire Tomalin notes in her
excellent biography, “He loved children,” and took a deep and active
interest in his own children, especially when they were young. Insofar as I
have read, he had no adulterous affairs for most of his marriage (compare
him, please, to Philip Roth or John Updike, for example!) Is anyone out
there as disturbed as I by this recent trend towards “Dickens-bashing?”

Susan Jhirad