The official biography of Charles Dickens (1812-70) was published in 1872-4 by his close friend and literary executor John Forster, and has been reissued in this series. Of the many other memoirs and reminiscences of the great novelist, this book by his favourite daughter Mary (1838-96), known as Mamie, is perhaps the least familiar. Published in 1896, shortly after her death, it gives a loving picture, based on her own memories, of the person whom she held 'in my heart of hearts as a man apart from all other men, as one apart from all other beings'. Mamie, who had taken Dickens's side during the separation from his wife, and acted effectively as his housekeeper at Gad's Hill, had compiled an edition of her father's letters with her aunt Georgina Hogarth, and this second act of piety gives an idyllic - perhaps too idyllic - account of daily life with Dickens.
The story of Mary Lamb's life is mainly the story of a brother and sister's love; of how it sustained them under the shock of a terrible calamity and made beautiful and even happy a life which must else have sunk into desolation and despair.
'When Dickens has described something you see it for the rest of your life' George OrwellIn 1844, Charles Dickens took a break from novel writing to travel through Italy for almost a year, and Pictures from Italy is an illuminating account of his experiences there. He presents the country like a magic-lantern show, as vivid images ceaselessly appear before his - and his readers' - eyes. Italy's most famous sights are all to be found here - St Peter's in Rome, Naples with Vesuvius smouldering in the background, the fairytale buildings and canals of Venice - but Dickens's chronicle is not simply that of a tourist. Combining compelling travelogue with piercing social commentary, he portrays a nation of great contrasts: between grandiose buildings and squalid poverty, ancient monuments and everyday life, past and present.Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Kate Flint
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This book, the first of three-volumes detailing the life of Charles Darwin, published five years after his death, was edited by his son Francis, who was his father's collaborator in experiments in botany and who after his death took on the responsibility of overseeing the publication of his remaining manuscript works and letters. In the preface to the first volume, Francis Darwin explains his editorial principles: 'In choosing letters for publication I have been largely guided by the wish to illustrate my father's personal character. But his life was so essentially one of work, that a history of the man could not be written without following closely the career of the author.' Among the family history, anecdotes and reminiscences of scientific colleagues is a short autobiographical essay which Charles Darwin wrote for his children and grandchildren, rather than for publication. This account of Darwin the man has never been bettered.