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Scholarly Article

Mukul Sk

(Re-)Constructing Charles Dickens in the Light of the Three New Biographies of the Twenty-first Century


Dickens, biographies, dark phase, Michael Slater, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, Claire Tomalin


Dickens once said to Dostoyevsky that there “were two people in him, . . . one who feels as he ought to feel and one who feels the opposite”. Biographers put all their efforts to grasp the two contradictory personalities in Dickens. Earlier biographers—John Forster, Edgar Johnson, Fred Kaplan, Peter Ackroyd—they all contributed to shaping the complex and elusive figure through their biographies. In the twenty-first century, before twenty years have passed, a good number of writers have attempted Dickens’ biographies from different perspectives and angles. The biographers of the present century who gain critical acclaims are Michael Slater, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst and Claire Tomalin. These three new biographers have also stood unique in their own way as they each explore something fresh that has not been discovered before. The present paper aims to paint a Dickens of the twenty-first century through the three versions of Dickens architected by these three new biographers.

About the Author

Mukul SK is, presently, pursuing his Doctoral degree at the Department of English, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh. He is the co-author of the book Literature and Beyond: A Critical Response to Modern Indian Literature (Kasturi Prakashan, Guwahati. 2017). He also edited an anthology entitled Literature and Environmental Discourse: Ecocritical Perspectives on Contemporary English Literature (Sarup and Sons, New Delhi. 2017). He is now working on Charles Dickens for his Ph.D degree. He may be contacted at

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