Great Expectations: The Sons and Daughters of Charles Dickens

Great Expectations: The Sons and Daughters of Charles Dickens

Robert Gottlieb / Aug 22, 2019

Great Expectations The Sons and Daughters of Charles Dickens The strange and varied lives of the ten children of the world s most beloved novelistCharles Dickens famous for the indelible child characters he created from Little Nell to Oliver Twist and David Co

  • Title: Great Expectations: The Sons and Daughters of Charles Dickens
  • Author: Robert Gottlieb
  • ISBN: 9781466827769
  • Page: 281
  • Format: ebook
  • The strange and varied lives of the ten children of the world s most beloved novelistCharles Dickens, famous for the indelible child characters he created from Little Nell to Oliver Twist and David Copperfield was also the father of ten children and a possible eleventh What happened to those children is the fascinating subject of Robert Gottlieb s Great Expectations WiThe strange and varied lives of the ten children of the world s most beloved novelistCharles Dickens, famous for the indelible child characters he created from Little Nell to Oliver Twist and David Copperfield was also the father of ten children and a possible eleventh What happened to those children is the fascinating subject of Robert Gottlieb s Great Expectations With sympathy and understanding he narrates the highly various and surprising stories of each of Dickens s sons and daughters, from Kate, who became a successful artist, to Frank, who died in Moline, Illinois, after serving a grim stretch in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.Each of these lives is fascinating on its own Together they comprise a unique window on Victorian England as well as a moving and disturbing study of Dickens as a father and as a man.

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      Posted by:Robert Gottlieb
      Published :2019-05-16T02:48:10+00:00

    About "Robert Gottlieb"

      • Robert Gottlieb

        Robert Gottlieb has been the editor in chief of Alfred A Knopf and The New Yorker He is the author of Sarah The Life of Sarah Bernhard, George Balanchine The Ballet Maker, Lives and Letters FSG, 2011 , and Great Expectations and is the dance critic for The New York Observercmillan author robert


    931 Comments

    1. Charles Dickens's ten flesh and blood children don't seem to have held the same charm or fascination for him that the children of his imagination did - probably because the children that he put into his books were really all a part of his soul, fragments of his damaged psyche. Pip, Tiny Tim, Little Nell, Jo the woebegone street sweeper of Bleak House, the Artful Dodger, David Copperfield - especially David Copperfield - all of them were reflections of Dickens's younger self, and he used them to [...]


    2. I've done enough play therapy, evaluation, education and yes, parenting to explain and justify interest in how people's children turned out. This book is a real bonanza if you are interested in such things. Dickens reached double figures in children, and is quoted in this book as saying, "why was I ever a father!" It was a different time and place, and he (and he alone) devised a plan for each of the kids. The stories read quickly and are entertaining as well as edifying. He apparently sent his [...]


    3. Every time a new book about Dickens comes out, I have to read it. I was not at all disappointed in my latest find. It was marvelously detailed. You have to come away thinking that Dicken's messed up personal life and autocratic parenting style had more to do with the children being a trifle unorganized in their own lives.I thought the author was a bit overly gentle with his criticism on that point, but then, I tend to be very sympathetic to the estranged wife, Catherine. Though I still adore the [...]


    4. Mildly interesting account of Charles Dickens' several dozen (it seemed) children, most of whom disappointed him deeply. I was delighted to learn that one son was dubbed "Plorn" as a child and it stuck with him all his life. I now want to adopt a son just so I can name him Plorn.


    5. I'm torn by my opinion of this book. It was informative and, for the most part, well written (there were a few parts that seemed jumbled and confusing). However, he seemed to be rehashing information I already knew. Of course, this may be because back in 2008 I spent a few nights researching the Dickens children, which I understand is probably not something the majority of people will have done. Still, I have a hard time determining if my absent-mindedness while reading was due to poor writing o [...]


    6. Kate was the author's favorite child and I liked her a lot but I really enjoyed Henry. He was my fave. It's hard to understand how Dickens could be such a wonderful father but such a horrible husband. It's difficult not to feel resentment toward him as you watched that poor woman do excatly what was asked and bear him all those children, only to have him turn his back on her. I really wanted to know more about Georgianna. Did she stay close to her sister? Did they get along? How did that whole r [...]


    7. None of this is original research, but Gottlieb is above board in identifying it as the scholarship of British literary historians and seems mainly interested in revealing this aspect of Dickens to a broad audience. Dickens had fifteen children, nine of whom lived to adulthood, but while he was charmed by babies and toddlers, the Great Man was driven by a dark childhood to despise indecision, aimlessness or lassitude, all of which he identified in his sons and blamed on their mother. There is no [...]


    8. Although much is known about Charles Dickens, His very public breakup with Catherine, the mother of his 9 children, his mistreatment of her, I have never read very much about the children. Gottlieb adroitly tackles the fate of the Dickens children, how they fared after the breakup of their parents marriage and what became of them after Dicken's early death Dickens was by all accounts a magical parent, entered into his children's games, was very involved in their lives and schooling, but he had a [...]


    9. If you see Dickens as a champion of children because of his portrayal of characters such as Tiny Tim, Little Nell, Florence Dombey or Oliver Twist you may want to think twice before reading this study. Gottlieb's book traces the early lives of Dickens's children with their father and then follows their lives after his death in 1870. The book reveals that Dickens was disappointed in the way most of his children turned out. Indeed, Dickens banned his son Sydney from his home in Gad's Hill and wrot [...]


    10. What a delightful, unexpected surprisingly excellent book. I learned not only about Dickens and his poor wife. But so much about the life of artists in the early 1800s and peeked at correspondence with George Bernard Shaw. And Australian imigrants, and many very stimulating insights. I must find more work by Mr. Gottleib.


    11. Charles Dickens- ambitious, energetic, hard-working, feisty, opinionated, stubborn, and best-known man in the English-speaking world when he died. Everyone knows Dickens and his brilliant novels.He was an extremely loving father to his ten children (nine lived to adulthood) and simply tons of playful fun, but alas, “mid-life rage and frustration” hit him at age forty-five. He fell deeply in love with a 18-year-old actress and decided to ‘put away’ the wife who had borne him these 10 chil [...]


    12. This is a readable and interesting book about Charles Dickens' children lives. I enjoyed it, learned a lot and am now interested in reading more about Dickens himself. The book touches on Dickens relationships with women, but mostly as it pertains to his children and his relationship with his children. The author gives an objective evaluation of Dickens as a Dad. The book is divided into two main sections: Life while Dickens was alive and life after his death. Each of these sections contains a c [...]


    13. Charles Dickens had all my admiration,now when reading through this book I discover the man, himself Charles Dickents. Does it mean that the man is different from the writer, or is it my imagination that modeled the man ?Some of the truth about his private life, one can call "strange behaviour" like expelling his wife from the house and "cast into darkness" I found horrible and not worthy of any man.The discussion is opened.



    14. Most historians go on and on and on--well, you get the idea. I found this downright terse. Good information but not much of a writing style.


    15. First the good: I like how each chapter is dedicated to each child. The first half of the book is about the kids while dad is alive. Second half is about each child's life after dad's death. Major dislike: The first half of the book. It is more about how badly Charles felt about each child. This book felt more about Charles Dickens and how he viewed his children & wife Then about how the kids viewed their father, with a little bio of each child that did not have something to do with daddy.



    16. History of the lives of Charles dickens. I found them boring and crying that they didn't come up to the expectations of their famous father.


    17. Charles Dickens was the father of ten children. As the most celebrated author of his day, he was financially secure and able to provide them with a fine home, an enriched environment, travel, and a good education. Alas, these things, in themselves, are not enough to ensure happiness and success in adulthood.Dickens is universally acknowledged to have been a brilliant man, but the traumatic events of his youth seem to have taken their toll as regards his emotional development. Having suffered the [...]


    18. Like many readers I am fascinated with the link between society and characters in his novels. After reading Mr. Gottlieb's wonderful book, "Avid Reader", this insight to Dicken's children was a great read. Well written and documented, I gave it 4 stars only in that I would have liked a better understanding of the relationships between the children, especially the sons.


    19. What I liked about it: I like a good take-down piece just as much as anyone else, and Dickens had much to be taken down. His main disappointment with his sons appears to be the thing that caused his own father's downfall and his resultant work in a boot-blacking factory: poor money management. Once sent away, they and their creditors wrote him constantly, asking for more money to pay gambling debts, or for the 25 pairs of kid-leather gloves they desperately needed. One is sent off to India with [...]


    20. A good read, and a quick read, about Dickens and his family. I tend to enjoy biographies that are about more than one person, and this certainly fit the bill (though I found myself thinking about reading a biography of Katey Dickens, Dickens's third and favorite child, as she turned out to be a really interesting person, a painter herself and friends with many artists and writers). I read this expecting all kinds of dirt on Dickens. I've never read a full biography of him, but being a Victorian [...]


    21. If you had a father as famous and as domineering as Charles Dickens was in his time, you wouldn't be able to help but turn out a little odd.Robert Gottlieb's Great Expectations describes what it was like to grow up with Charles Dickens as a father. The literary icon's ten sons and daughters worshipped him, and he was a doting father to them when they were little. When they got older, however, he didn't know what to do with them, and his affection gave way to disappointment. Dickens particularly [...]


    22. I love Dickens and cannot, admittedly, be very unbiased when it comes to him. I love learning about him, and the subject of this book was something I'd often wondered about--what were his children like and what was Dickens like as a father? I think this biographer did a fine job of looking at each child, showing Dickens' relationship with each. He split the book into two segments, the lives of the children before and after Dickens' death. He also traced each child's life until their deaths. It w [...]


    23. While not a total disappointment, this didn’t live up to my expectations. These real life stories are interesting -- in part because their father is probably the best known author in the world; but also because his sons ended up in unexpected places like India, Australia and the Canadian Rockies. However, Gottlieb’s writing is pretty substandard if not downright saccharine at times (“We must be grateful that they had these last hours together.” – ick.) I’ve only read one biography of [...]


    24. This book is a summary of different secondary sources and biographies of Charles Dickens' family. Although it is a potentially interesting concept to learn about a famous man through his children, the account presented nothing new about Dickens or his children. As a result, no scholar will find it useful. At the same time, it presupposes knowledge about Dickens that the average reader may not know, so it isn't really suitable for a novice who wants to learn more about Dickens either. There is no [...]


    25. I was so excited about this book, but I have to say I was disappointed! I felt it was more about the father than the children - all 9 of them. And, of course, his casting out of their mother didn't endear me to him one bit! Only 2 of the 9 lived up to his expectations, but didn't that have a lot to do with his mania for having them out of the nest at a very early age training for jobs of HIS choice?? He was a great father for all 9 when they were babies and young, but he was very less so the old [...]


    26. A very interesting read about the lives of Charles Dicken's ten legitimate children both before and after his early death, including their upbringing, education and chosen professions, He was openly critical and generally disappointed in all of his sons and their failure to meet his expectations. Included in the book is the surprising ouster of his wife Catherine from the family home and the retention of her sister to raise the children and run the household. The family correspondence that was o [...]


    27. While perusing the library aisle for one book or another, I saw this one and thought, I need to read this! Having listened to the audio book 'Drood', a novel by Dan Simmons, Charles Dickens became very interesting. We listened to a few novels and went through a period of time thinking we needed more Dickens in our life.Amazingly while reading it, I kept thinking, "how do I know this?" I realized the 'Drood' novel covered much of Dickens life, and his children's lives also. Anything new came from [...]


    28. I admit I am not a Dickens fanatic on any level. I've only read three of his books, and one I could not stand. But I taught 'The Last Dickens' last spring in my courses, and became interested. This book, more about his children than him, was a quick but fascinating read. Just enough information for the fact hounds, and a simple and accessible writing style make it a good weekend read. No, he wasn't the best father, he could be cold and ill tempered, but he did want the best for them. But as the [...]


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