Books: Novelist & Social Worker

THE HEART OF CHARLES DICKENS (415 pp.)—Edited by Edgar Johnson—Duell-Little ($6).

When Charles Dickens was twelve, his spendthrift father was thrown in debtors' prison and little Charles was put to work in a shoe-polish factory. "No words," he wrote 25 years later, "can express the secret agony of my soul as I sunk into this companionship ... I know that, but for the mercy of God, I might easily have been, for any care that was taken of me, a little robber or a little vagabond."

A good deal of Dickens can be read as a writer's reaction against his own child-labor and...

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