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The troubled childhood of Charles Dickens. Claire Tomalin's acclaimed biography of a complex man. Read by Penelope Wilton.

Claire Tomalin's acclaimed biography of Britain's great novelist paints a portrait of an extraordinarily complex man. Today's theme is Dickens' troubled childhood.

Claire Tomalin's acclaimed biography of one of the nation's literary giants is broadcast to mark the 150th anniversary of his death in June 2020. Here Tomalin portrays Dickens as a writer "so charged with imaginative energy that he rendered nineteenth century England crackling, full of truth and life, with his laughter, horror and indignation - and sentimentality." The Artful Dodger, Mr Pickwick, Pip and David Copperfield are just a handful of the characters he created and who continue to endure. He was also a hard-working journalist, a philanthropist, a supporter of liberal social causes, and father of ten, and yet his genius also had a dark side which emerged with the breakdown of his marriage.

Claire Tomalin was literary editor of the The New Statesman and then the Sunday Times before becoming a full time writer. Her biographies are award winning. The Life and Death of Mary Wollstonecraft, won the Whitbread First Book Award, and Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self was Whitbread Book of the Year in 2002.

Read by Penelope Wilton
Abridged by Richard Hamilton
Produced by Elizabeth Allard.

14 minutes

Last on

Tue 31 Mar 2020 00:30

Broadcasts

  • Mon 28 Nov 2011 09:45
  • Tue 29 Nov 2011 00:30
  • Mon 29 Dec 2014 14:45
  • Tue 30 Dec 2014 00:45
  • Mon 10 Oct 2016 14:45
  • Tue 11 Oct 2016 02:45
  • Mon 30 Mar 2020 09:45
  • Tue 31 Mar 2020 00:30

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