The Life And Lies Of Charles Dickens by Helena Kelly – Dickens revised
As this fascinating book reveals, we don’t actually know the truth at all.
Much of what we think we know is based on an authorised biography by John Forster published in 1871.
Fair enough you might think but Forster was Dickens’s best mate and only “revealed” what Dickens wanted the public to know.
Forster was a spin doctor par excellence for his friend and his book is replete with lies, lacunae and inconsistencies.
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In 1856, Dickens wrote to fellow author Wilkie Collins: “I have never seen anything about myself in print which has much correctness in it.”
And that was the way Dickens liked and wanted it.
He met Forster in 1836 and within a year the two men were working together.
It was Forster who said that David Copperfield was autobiographical.
Forster also kept hidden a secret sister and Jewish relatives and much more including plagiarism, fraud, and suicide.
In fact, Forster is less a biographer and more a reputation manager.
For the real story, check out Helena Kelly.
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