Books: Holy Terror

DICKENS: HIS CHARACTER, COMEDY & CAREER (361 pp.)—Hesketh Pearson—Harper ($4).

It was G.B.S.'s idea. "As you have done Shakespeare and Shaw," he told Biographer Hesketh Pearson, "are you not bound to do Dickens? Anybody but Dickens will be a comedown after Shakespeare and G.B.S." Pearson, who is Britain's most fecund literary biographer* and a Dickens fan to boot, heartily agreed; and although his Dickens reveals more about the man and his life than about the artist and his novels, it is nonetheless the best-balanced, most complete biography to date.

What makes Charles Dickens such...

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