While most Austen biographers have accepted the assertion of Jane's brother Henry that "My dear Sister's life was not a life of events," Tomalin shows that, on the contrary, Austen's brief life was fraught with upheaval. Tomalin provides detailed and absorbing accounts of Austen's ill-fated love for a young Irishman, her frequent travels and extended visits to London, her close friendship with a worldly cousin whose French husband met his death on the guillotine, her brothers' naval service in the Napoleonic wars and in the colonies, and thus shatters the myth of Jane Austen as a sheltered and homebound spinster whose knowledge of the world was limited to the view from a Hampshire village.
Against the backdrop of plague, civil war, and regicide, with John Milton composing diplomatic correspondence for Oliver Cromwell, Christopher Wren drawing up plans to rebuild London, and Isaac Newton advancing the empirical study of the world around us, Tomalin weaves a breathtaking account of a figure who has passed on to us much of what we know about seventeenth-century London. We witness Pepys’s early life and education, see him advising King Charles II before running to watch the great fire consume London, learn about the great events of the day as well as the most intimate personal details that Pepys encrypted in the Diary, follow him through his later years as a powerful naval administrator, and come to appreciate how Pepys’s singular literary enterprise would in many ways prefigure our modern selves. With exquisite insight and compassion, Samuel Pepys captures the uniquely fascinating figure whose legacy lives on more than three hundred years after his death.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
The novels of Thomas Hardy have a permanent place on every booklover's shelf, yet little is known about the interior life of the man who wrote them. A believer and an unbeliever, a socialist and a snob, an unhappy husband and a desolate widower, Hardy challenged the sexual and religious conventions of his time in his novels and then abandoned fiction to reestablish himself as a great twentieth-century lyric poet. In this acclaimed new biography, Claire Tomalin, one of today's preeminent literary biographers, investigates this beloved writer and reveals a figure as rich and complex as his tremendous legacy.
From his sensational public appearances to the obsessive love affair that led him to betray, deceive, and break with those closest to him, Charles Dickens: A Life is a triumph of the biographer’s craft, a comedy that turns to tragedy in a story worthy of Dickens’ own pen.
In this remarkable work of biography and scholarly reconstruction, the acclaimed biographer of Mary Wollstonecraft, Thomas Hardy, Samuel Pepys and Jane Austen rescues Nelly from the shadows of history, not only returning the neglected actress to her rightful place, but also providing a compelling portrait of the great Victorian novelist himself. The result is a thrilling literary detective story and a deeply compassionate work that encompasses all those women who were exiled from the warm, well-lighted parlors of Victorian England.
Como cualquiera de sus héroes de novela Charles Dickens sufrió hasta la saciedad. Nacido en una modesta familia de clase media, su vida dio un vuelco cuando encarcelaron a su padre y tuvo que ponerse a trabajar en una fábrica. Este hecho le sirvió para agudizar su visión de lo absurdo, de lo trágico de la vida en Londres. Periodista incisivo, padre de diez hijos, incansable paseante y viajero, defensor de las libertades sociales y por encima de todo... novelista, Charles Dickens fue un genio. .
La prosa novelística de la biógrafa Claire Tomalin, profusamente documentada, nos ofrece en Charles Dickens el retrato de un escritor heroico y virtuoso, un hombre al mismo tiempo contradictorio y ruin en el bicentenario de su nacimiento.
«Este libro es una biografía magnífica sobre un gran escritor...»
William Boyd, The Observer
«Perfecta en cada uno de los detalles históricos y perspicaz en las novelas, la magistral biografía de Claire Tomalin es enormemente valiosa por la visión que nos da del hombre más que del escritor.»
«La cantidad de premios que tiene dan fe de su habilidad no sólo para retratar vidas sino también para hacer que los autores sobre los que habla cobren vida.»
The Literary Review
«Claire Tomalin tiene la rara habilidad de entretejer la capacidad de contar con la rigurosidad. Como biógrafa es inimitable.»
«Compré este libro porque soy una seguidora incondicional de Dickens y este libro ofrece todo lo que una buena biografía debe contener.»
Julia L. Simpsonurrutia, Amazon
«Si nunca has leído nada sobre Dickens esta obra es la mejor manera de empezar.»
«Desde el primer momento pensé que éste iba a ser un buen libro, bien documentado. No quería que terminase el libro porque me sentía muy unida a él, a su familia y a su historia. ¡Qué hombre tan extraordinario!»
C. M. Mills, Amazon
***Mejor biografía según The Galaxy Awards 2011
In A Life of My Own, the renowned biographer of Charles Dickens, Samuel Pepys, and Thomas Hardy, and former literary editor for the Sunday Times reflects on a remarkable life surrounded by writers and books. From discovering books as a form of escapism during her parents' difficult divorce, to pursuing poetry at Cambridge, where she meets and marries Nicholas Tomalin, the ambitious and striving journalist, Tomalin always steered herself towards a passionate involvement with art. She relives the glittering London literary scene of the 1960s, during which Tomalin endured her husband's constant philandering and numerous affairs, and revisits the satisfaction of being commissioned to write her first book, a biography of the early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft. In biography, she found her vocation. However, when Nick is killed in 1973 while reporting in Israel, the mother of four put aside her writing to assume the position of literary editor of the New Statesman. Her career soared when she later moved to the Sunday Times, and she tells with dazzling candor of this time in her life spent working alongside the literary lights of 1970s London. But, the pain of her young daughter's suicide and the challenges of caring for her disabled son as a single mother test Claire's strength and persistence. It is not until later in life that she is able to return to what gave her such purpose decades ago, writing biographies, and finds enduring love with her now-husband, playwright Michael Frayn.
Marked by honesty, humility, and grace, rendered in the most elegant of prose, A Life of My Own is a portrait of a life, replete with joy and heartbreak. With quiet insight and unsparing clarity, Tomalin writes autobiography at its most luminous, delivering an astonishing and emotionally-taut masterpiece distinguished by the deep and hard-won wisdom of devastating loss but even more extraordinary love.
Winner of the Whitbread First Book Prize
Witty, courageous and unconventional, Mary Wollstonecraft was one of the most controversial figures of her day. She published A Vindication of the Rights of Women; travelled to revolutionary France and lived through the Terror and the destruction of the incipient French feminist movement; produced an illegitimate daughter; and married William Godwin before dying in childbed at the age of thirty-eight. Often embattled and bitterly disappointed, she never gave up her radical ideas or her belief that courage and honesty would triumph over convention.
'Tomalin is a most intelligent and sympathetic biographer, aware of her impetuous subject's many failings, yet with the perception to present her greatness fairly. She writes well and wittily' Daily Telegraph
'A vivid evocation not only of what Mary went through but also of how women lived in the second part of the eighteenth century. Most of all, however, Tomalin makes Mary Wollstonecraft unforgettable' Evening Standard
From the acclaimed author of Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self, Charles Dickens: A Life and The Invisible Woman, this celebrated biography is the definitive account of Mary Wollstonecraft's life.
Claire Tomalin is the award-winning author of eight highly acclaimed biographies, including: The Life and Death of Mary Wollstonecraft; Shelley and His World; Katherine Mansfield: A Secret Life; The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens; Mrs Jordan's Profession; Jane Austen: A Life; Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self; Thomas Hardy: The Time-Torn Man and, most recently, Charles Dickens: A Life. A former literary editor of the New Statesman and the Sunday Times, she is married to the playwright and novelist Michael Frayn.