victorian novelists

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: enabled each to understand the other aright, we come upon an entirely new note in fiction, which has been sounded to wonderful harmonies by the greater artists who followed. Chapter III. Charles Dickens. It is not wholly a matter of mere good fortune that the surroundings of men of letters should so often be well adapted to help them in what they are by natural constitution best fitted to do; the bent of their genius must in part be determined by their outward circumstances, but it will tend also to make a path for itself where it can find the fullest scope. But apart from this mutual reaction, there may be traced in the case of Dickens a special relation between his mental endowment and his experience of the world in his youth and early manhood. He had a marvellous faculty of minute observation which might almost take the place of a systematic education, and this power had an excellent chance of development in the many changes of scene and occupation which the thriftless habits of his father made necessary, while he was freed from the regular schooling which would in most instances be a most desirable preparation for a literary career, but which with him would scarcely have been a preferable substitute for the early struggle with difficulties that fell to his lot. The moral qualities which this hard and bitter conflict with the world developed in him were, as might be expected, self-reliance and energy and perseverance, and he did not succeed in escaping the defects of these qualities, notably self-assertiveness and an intolerance of all advice and control. Although he was an affectionate father, he seems to have ruled with a rod of iron in his own household; and it is difficult to believe that his separation from his wife after twenty years of married life on the professe...
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