The Artful Dickens
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‘One for your Christmas list … A feast of Dickensian knowledge’ The Times
‘This is a marvellous, endlessly illuminating book … It doesn’t go on the shelf alongside other critics; it goes on the shelf alongside Dickens’ Howard Jacobson
Discover the tricks of a literary master in this essential guide to the fictional world of Charles Dickens.
From Pickwick to Scrooge, Copperfield to Twist, how did Dickens find the perfect names for his characters?
What was Dickens’s favourite way of killing his characters?
When is a Dickens character most likely to see a ghost?
Why is Dickens’s trickery only fully realised when his novels are read aloud?
In thirteen entertaining and wonderfully insightful essays, John Mullan explores the literary machinations of Dickens’s eccentric genius, from his delight in cliches to his rendering of smells and his outrageous use of coincidences. A treat for all lovers of Dickens, this essential companion puts his audacity, originality and brilliance on full display.
Mullan has taken the most popular Victorian novelist and, by holding different facets of his literary technique up to the light, found new angles from which to admire the work. By the end of this teacherly but readable analysis, Dickens's novels are sparkling as if spring-cleaned ... Surrendering to Mullan's guided tour, we are swept into the world of Pip and Magwitch, Scrooge, the Boffins, Lady Dedlock, and a host of other familiar and much loved, loathed or pitiable characters from his extensive portrait gallery ... The Artful Dickens is a fulsome tribute to a writer whose commonly perceived flaws are part of what makes him great -- Rosemary Goring * Herald * A spritely and surprising study of Dickens ... Mullan wears his formidable learning lightly in revealing how a teeming imagination made it on to the page * New Statesman * The Artful Dickens is full of such nuggets. Put it on your Christmas list and spend the post-goose collapse reading the good bits aloud -- Laura Freeman * The Times * John Mullan is that rare bird, a literary critic you want to read. His vigorous prose style, his generosity and acumen, his freedom from jargon, and the fact that he is an entertainer in his own right, make him the ideal guide to Dickens' genius. This is a marvellous, endlessly illuminating book - pointing even the most knowledgeable Dickensians to scenes they hadn't noticed, sentences they hadn't remembered, "tricks and ploys" they'd never sufficiently appreciated. It doesn't go on the shelf alongside other critics; it goes on the shelf alongside Dickens -- Howard Jacobson Any new book on Jane Austen raises the urgent question, Would I get more pleasure from reading this than from re-reading my favourite Jane Austen novel? If you decide to give What Matters in Jane Austen a chance you'll know after a few pages that you've made the right choice -- Praise for 'What Matters in Jane Austen?' * Sunday Times * There is plenty to enjoy in this parade of Austen micro-knowledge -- Praise for 'What Matters in Jane Austen?' * Evening Standard * Highly entertaining ... Reveals a quite unexpected aspect to the novelist and her books -- Praise for 'What Matters in Jane Austen?' * Daily Mail *
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