Based upon an examination of original sources, this is a biography in which the figure of Charles Dickens and the moving spirit of his age are combined. Dickens the novelist, Dickens the radical and the actor, Dickens the prematurely exhausted, middle-aged man whose own unquiet fictions seem to shape his life itself, Dickens the performer, Dickens the writer who stamped his image upon 19th-century England. All these aspects are embodied in the book which is as much a study of a culture, and of a period, as it is of one extraordinary man. The author also wrote "The Last Testament of Oscar Wilde", "Hawksmoor", "Chatterton", "T.S. Eliot" and "First Light".