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By G. K. Chesterton
“There is no better critic of Dickens,” wrote T. S. Eliot in 1927, “than Mr. Chesterton.” An additional century of literary criticism notwithstanding, that judgment still resounds with the ring of truth. Charles Dickens: A Critical Study, which first appeared in print in 1906, offers compelling evidence in support of Eliot’s claim. An absorbing blend of biography and literary analysis, delivered in Chesterton’s inimitable style, the Study treats of Dickens’ childhood and his early forays into writing; his successes and failures; his works and characters; and, most especially, his attitudes and approaches to seeing the world and man’s place in it and then setting that vision down in books.
Whimsical, well-read, and worth its weight in literary gold, Chesterton’s Charles Dickens: A Critical Study is a testament worthy of its task: to appraise (and to praise) the author of David Copperfield and Bleak House and The Pickwick Papers and creator of such characters as Oliver Twist and Mr. Micawber and Miss Havisham, and mediate that “ungovernable sense of life” which defines the world of Dickens.
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Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874–1936) was an immensely prolific English writer, poet, and journalist. A convert to Roman Catholicism, he is best known for his influential works in apologetics, such as Orthodoxy, Heretics, and The Everlasting Man, as well as his ingenious Father Brown detective stories.