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Be like a duck. Calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath.
The man Dickens, whom the world at large thought it knew, stood for all the Victorian virtues - probity, kindness, hard work, sympathy for the down-trodden, the sanctity of domestic life - even as his novels exposed the violence, hypocrisy, greed, and cruelty of the Victorian age.
Everyone finds their own version of Charles Dickens. The child-victim, the irrepressibly ambitious young man, the reporter, the demonic worker, the tireless walker. The radical, the protector of orphans, helper of the needy, man of good works, the republican. The hater and the lover of America. The giver of parties, the magician, the traveler.
If you have this enormous talent, it's got you by the balls, it's a demon. You can't be a family man and a husband and a caring person and be that animal. Dickens wasn't that nice a guy.
Dickens is one of those authors who are well worth stealing.
Early on, I was so impressed with Charles Dickens. I grew up in the South, in a little village in Arkansas, and the whites in my town were really mean, and rude. Dickens, I could tell, wouldn't be a man who would curse me out and talk to me rudely.
I'm not saying that people have to listen to rock music. It's a great, cool thing and it can really be liberating for a lot of people but, hey, so can Charles Dickens so I'm not going to judge.
Dickens, as you know, never got round to starting his home page.
I went to London because, for me, it was the home of literature. I went there because of Dickens and Shakespeare.
I don't know if it's the sunshine, or the fact that I actually have a job, but I do like L.A. a lot. In New York, it can be gray and rainy and cold, and you still don't have any money, and you feel like a bad Dickens character.
I don't read many business books. I read good fiction. Business is about people, so my favorite business books are anything by Dickens.
When I think about writers who use fiction as social commentary and to raise social awareness but who are also very popular, I think of Dickens.
I wrote the Dickens book because I loved Dickens, not because I felt a kinship with him, but after writing the book it seemed to me that there was at least one similarity between us and that was that Dickens loved to write and wrote with the ease and conviction of breathing. Me, too.
One of Dickens' biggest influences was the growth of London as a Victorian city, and the extremes being created as it expanded.
There's always a host of voices you're inspired by. I love Don DeLillo, and I love Isaac Bashevis Singer, and I love Beckett, and I love Pinter. He's one of the funniest voices in English literature since Dickens.
Childhood is not dead. Children were worse off when we were hunter-gatherers; they were threatened in medieval times and exploited during the Industrial Revolution. Was it any better in the time of Charles Kingsley or Charles Dickens?
If you want to study writing, read Dickens. That's how to study writing, or Faulkner, or D.H. Lawrence, or John Keats. They can teach you everything you need to know about writing.
As he approached his 28th birthday in February 1840, Dickens knew himself to be famous, successful and tired. He needed a rest, and he made up his mind to keep the year free of the pressure of producing monthly installments of yet another long novel.
I think one of the few faults in Dickens is that mostly his lead characters are blanks - who is David Copperfield, who is Oliver Twist? And yet he takes such joy in populating the rest of his novels with these fantastic, grotesque people like Pecksmith and so on.
I was brought up on Dickens. I remember reading 'Bleak House' but, coming back to it, I didn't remember much about it apart from a few characters.
Something went wrong with my right arm. I no longer could throw hard, and it hurt like the dickens every time I threw.
Throughout my teenage years, I read 'A Christmas Carol' by Charles Dickens every December. It was a story that never failed to excite me, for as well as being a Dickens enthusiast, I have always loved ghost stories.
I'm kind of a reluctant Anglophile. My mother's a children's librarian, and all of the children's literature I read was from her childhood - E. Nesbit and Dickens, which isn't children's literature at all, but I was sort of steeped in English literature. I thought I was of that world.
The Five Points was the toughest street corner in the world. That's how it was known. In fact, Charles Dickens visited it in the 1850s and he said it was worse than anything he'd seen in the East End of London.
At the school I attended, the clergyman who ran the cathedral school in Shanghai would give lines to the boys as a punishment. They expected you to copy out, say, 20 or 30 pages from one of the school texts. But I found that rather than laboriously copying out something from a novel by Charles Dickens, it was easier if I made it up myself.
J. G. Ballard
John F. Kennedy
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