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Brain Spot Men

Gavin Francis, 4 May 2023

by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst.
Cape, 260 pp., £18.99, February, 978 1 78733 125 9
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by A.J. Lees.
Notting Hill, 135 pp., £14.99, March 2022, 978 1 912559 36 7
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... settled on ‘multiple sclerosis’.Towards the end of a long walk on a summer’s day in 2017, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst noticed that his legs felt heavy and poorly co-ordinated. ‘By the time I reached my front door I was shuffling along like an old man in carpet slippers.’ He was in his late forties and wondered if these were the first flickering ...

His Friends Were Appalled

Deborah Friedell: Dickens, 5 January 2012

The Life of Charles Dickens 
by John Forster.
Cambridge, 1480 pp., £70, December 2011, 978 1 108 03934 5
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Becoming Dickens: The Invention of a Novelist 
by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst.
Harvard, 389 pp., £20, October 2011, 978 0 674 05003 7
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Charles Dickens: A Life 
by Claire Tomalin.
Viking, 527 pp., £30, October 2011, 978 0 670 91767 9
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... was in the Marshalsea. It wasn’t the childhood he wanted, so he hadn’t spoken about it. For Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, in his clever new study, the mass of biographies can make Dickens’s life seem as inevitable as a fairy tale, his genius so self-evident that a novelist’s career was certain. But the alternative lives he might have led, as a ...

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