Charles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World

Front Cover
HarperCollins Publishers, Feb 2, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 384 pages

An entertaining biography of Dickens by one of our finest actors

Acclaimed actor and writer Simon Callow captures the essence of Charles Dickens in a sparkling biography that explores the central importance of the theatre to the life of the greatest storyteller in the English language.

From his early years as a child entertainer in Portsmouth to his reluctant retirement from ‘these garish lights’ just before his death, Dickens was obsessed with the stage. Not only was he a dazzling mimic who wrote, acted in and stage-managed plays, all with fanatical perfectionism; as a writer he was a compulsive performer, whose very imagination was theatrical, both in terms of plot devices and construction of character.

Like many actors, Dickens felt the need to be completed by contact with his audience. He was the original ‘celebrity’ author, who attracted thousands of adoring fans to his readings in Britain and across the Atlantic, in which he gave voice to his unforgettable cast of characters.

In Charles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World, Callow brings his own unique insight to a life driven by performance and showmanship. He reveals an exuberant and irrepressible talent, whose ‘inimitable’ wit and personality crackle off the page.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - kaitanya64 - LibraryThing

I've read other biographies of Dickens, but this one was very readable and added the element of Dickens' love of and use of theater in his works to consideration. This added a new perspective to ... Read full review

Charles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World

User Review  - Book Verdict

Of the several books published this year in honor of the bicentennial of Dickens's birth, this by Callow is in many ways the best because it has all the gusto that a popular biography of Dickens—a ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2012)

Simon Callow is an actor, director and writer. He has appeared on the stage in many films, including the hugely popular Four Weddings and a Funeral. Callow’s books include Being an Actor, Shooting the Actor, a highly acclaimed biography of Charles Laughton, a biographical trilogy of Orson Welles (of which the first two parts have now been published) and Love is Where it Falls, an account of his friendship with the great play agent, Peggy Ramsay.

Bibliographic information