by GK Chesterton
This was a near perfect biography. If I were Charles Dickens, I would have been waiting for Chesterton at the gates of heaven to hug the stuffing out of him for writing this book.
Though, it wasn’t exactly supposed to be a biography, but more of a critical study of Dickens’ writing. Be that as it may, how better to discuss an author’s life than through his work?
And Dickens’ life, like his work, was very interesting. He started at the economic bottom and climbed his way up to becoming a successful novelist who was beloved by the working class. And why wouldn’t they love him? He was one of them and his writing was about the very things they were surrounded by and going through.
Chesterton starts with the early writings of Dickens and then leads the reader chronologically to his later writings. He discusses the writing, the various things that Dickens may have had in mind when he was writing it, the socio-political landscape that may have influenced it and how it was received by various types of people.
Most of all, Chesterton discusses Dickens and the working class that he came from. It is a beautiful discussion and a good reminder of the humanity of a group of people that are often invoked for political reasons but are rarely thought much of past that.
I thought this was some of Chesterton’s best and most engaging writing. I did not want I to end. It was an obvious labor of love for him and I would definitely recommend it.