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Even within the context of Charles Dickens's history as a publishing innovator, Our Mutual Friend is notable for what it reveals about Dickens as an author and about Victorian publishing. Marking Dickens's return to the monthly number format after nearly a decade of writing fiction designed for weekly publication in All the Year Round, Our Mutual Friend emerged against the backdrop of his failing health, troubled relationship with Ellen Ternan, and declining reputation among contemporary critics. In his subtly argued publishing history, Sean Grass shows how these difficulties combined to make Our Mutual Friend an extraordinarily odd novel, no less in its contents and unusually heavy revisions than in its marketing by Chapman and Hall, its transformation from a serial into British and U.S. book editions, its contemporary reception by readers and reviewers, and its delightfully uneven reputation among critics in the 150 years since Dickens’s death. Enhanced by four appendices that offer contemporary accounts of the Staplehurst railway accident, information on archival materials, transcripts of all of the contemporary reviews, and a select bibliography of editions, Grass’s book shows why this last of Dickens’s finished novels continues to intrigue its readers and critics.
This study of Dickens's career as a professional writer uses a range of material to describe and analyze the ways in which his work can be seen as a form of literary production. It thus offers a challenge to traditional accounts which stress the private nature of Dickens's genius. Smith focuses on the communal nature of Dickens's achievement in his struggles with publishers, the expectations of a vast public, and the demands of serialization.
The dramatic saga of a remarkable woman who was deeply involved in the political culture of her time.
(Limelight). "This is a riotous story which is reasonably mad and as accurate as a Marx brother can make it. Despite only a year and a half of schooling, Harpo, or perhaps his collaborator, is the best writer of the Marx Brother. Highly recommended." Library Journal . "A funny, affectionate and unpretentious autobiography done with a sharply professional assist from Rowland Barber." New York Times Book Review

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