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Charles Dickens: Great Expectations

Sarah Dillon is a literary detective on the hunt for the story behind the story of how great works were written. Dickens's Great Expectations reveals a tale of money and passion.

Sarah Dillon is a literary detective on the hunt for the story behind the story of how great works were written. She begins with Dickens's masterpiece, Great Expectations. Begun in 1860, Sarah asks why Dickens was writing it so fast - he finished it in nine and a half months - and why he famously changed the ending. The answers take her on a journey to Dickens's home in Gads Hill in Kent, the office of his magazine All The Year Round in Covent Garden and on a night-walk around the streets of London, where Dickens drew on the energy of the city as inspiration. Talking to Dickens biographer Michael Slater and scholars Juliet John from Royal Holloway and John Drew from the University of Buckingham, Sarah pieces together how Dickens's most private life is played out in the novel. And she uncovers the fascinating events behind the writing of it - including an urgent necessity for money, an overwhelming passion, and a relationship that goes to the heart of the deepest psychological needs that Dickens had.

Reader - Samuel West.

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45 minutes

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