GREAT AMBITIONS: A Story of the Early Years of Charles Dickens by Elisabeth Kyle

GREAT AMBITIONS: A Story of the Early Years of Charles Dickens

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Dickens' books are peopled with his family, friends and chance acquaintances--the tailor mimicking his putative patron, George IV, the watercress girl with frozen fingers in Covent Garden, his grandiloquent, debt-prone father, Charles himself--and this is his life among them, a foretaste of the longer life he gave them. Because it's a dramatic tale altogether, as shot with despair and gladness as any fiction, Miss Kyle's fictionalization seems like rendering unto Caesar, rather than an imposition. Here's the twelve-year-old Charles hurrying to Marshalsea Prison after work to take supper with his parents and performing for the other select prisoners afterward; the young literary light abashed in polite society in his flowered waistcoat, falling in love with a flirt and suffering at her pleasure; the eminent author investigating the conditions in grim boarding schools. Man and milieu are evoked with engaging precision, with only occasional insistence on future significance, and it's a rousing good story besides.

Pub Date: Jan. 22nd, 1967
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston