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Charles Dickens was regarded as the great proponent of hearth and home in Victorian Britain, but in 1858 this image was nearly shattered. With the breakup of his marriage that year, rumors of a scandalous relationship he may have conducted with the young actress Ellen "Nelly" Ternan flourished. For the remaining twelve years of his life, Dickens managed to contain the gossip. After his death, surviving family members did the same. But when the author's last living son died in 1934, there was no one to discourage rampant speculation. Dramatic revelations came from every corner—over Nelly's role as Dickens's mistress, their clandestine meetings, and even about his possibly fathering an illegitimate child by her.
This book presents the most complete account of the scandal and ensuing cover-up ever published. Drawing on the author's letters and other archival sources not previously available, Dickens scholar Michael Slater investigates what Dickens did or may have done, then traces the way the scandal was elaborated over succeeding generations. Slater shows how various writers concocted outlandish yet plausible theories while newspapers and book publishers vied for sensational revelations. With its tale of intrigue and a cast of well-known figures from Thackeray and Shaw to Orwell and Edmund Wilson, this engaging book will delight not only Dickens fans but also readers who appreciate tales of mystery, cover-up, and clever detection.
About Professor Michael SlaterSee more books from this Author
A wise and witty look at Dickens and his women. Highly entertaining.Read Full Review of The Great Charles Dickens Sca... | See more reviews from Guardian
While he does go over what is known and imagined about the events of the affair, his main interest is how the affair has been treated first by contemporaries of the author and then by the enthusiasts who came after.Read Full Review of The Great Charles Dickens Sca... | See more reviews from Blog Critics
...his main interest is how the affair has been treated first by contemporaries of the author and then by the enthusiasts who came after.Read Full Review of The Great Charles Dickens Sca... | See more reviews from Blog Critics
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