This book describes Charles Dickens as an ordinary man who by being perfectly tuned to the public taste developed into a master of his art. The clue to this paradox lies, in the author’s opinion, in Dickens’ obsession with such topics as money, crowds and prisons which touch the life of everyone. From the deep fears of his childhood they became the main food for his imagination. As his creative mind worried over them, so his art developed. This process provided the driving force behind his work, and is at the root of his greatness as an artist.
1. Introductory 2. Humour, Positive and Negative 3. The Expanding Prison 4. Reform and Indignation 5. Crowds and Justice 6. Fruitful Failure 7. Dombey and Son 8. David Copperfield 9. Bleak House 10. Hard Times – Dickens’ Masterpiece? 11. Little Dorrit 12. Great Expectations 13. Our Mutual Friend 14. Conclusion