Books: Englishman in Adversity

CHARLES DICKENS (488 pp.)—Dame Una Pope-Hennessy—Howell, Soskin ($4).

Someone once compared Critic John Forster to a pencil stub—"short, thick, and full of lead." In writing his classic Life of Charles Dickens, Forster presented the public with only the best of the man who was his best friend. Not until 1938, when the Nonesuch Press published over 8,000 intimate items of Dickens' correspondence, did the public learn what it had already guessed—that David Copperfield and The Pickwick Papers had been written by a very human being, not by a bearded Apollo in a frockcoat.

The...

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