But who was the man behind the novels?
And how did his turbulent personal life contribute to his literary genius?
By the age of twelve Dickens was separated from his family when his father was sent to debtors’ prison.
He was sent to work in a boot blacking factory, and had to live and walk the London streets alone.
He never recovered from the emotional wounds of those years, and when he began to write stories of the poor in London he included especially poignant characterisations of children.
He worked hard to change the way society viewed and empathised with the poor, and yet, despite these displays of kindheartedness, he could be heartless in his personal life.
He had strained relationships with his children and showed very little sympathy towards his depressed and lonely wife.
He was full of compassion, yet could also be a mass of contradictions.
Charles Dickens: Compassion and Contradiction examines the man behind the novels, and seeks to understand all these different aspects of his character.
Praise for Charles Dickens: Compassion and Contradiction
‘Karen Kenyon paints a textured portrait of Charles Dickens’ - Kathi Diamant, author of Kafka's Last Love
‘For those who love Dickens…Kenyon's biography offers surprising contradictions and revelations in this concise yet vividly detailed account of his life and literature.’ - Kathi Diamant, author of Kafka's Last Love
‘An engrossing, well-researched addition to Dickens’ bibliography.’ - Kathi Diamant, author of Kafka's Last Love
'Karen Kenyon, a wonderful writer herself, illuminates one of the greatest of all writers in a special, compassionate way.' - Richard Marek
Karen Kenyon is a journalist and author. She teaches Creative Writing at MiraCosta College in Cardiff, California. Her books include Sunshower and The Bronte Family: Passionate Literary Geniuses.