Charles Dickens and The Great Theatre of the World by Simon Callow, Vintage Books.
Moliere did it, by all accounts so did Shakespeare, and when you consider that the actor’s greatest tool is observation, and their greatest use of it, characterization, you wonder why writers, who also have to create characters, don’t cross this line more often than they do. But writers are introverted people – aren’t they? They are alienated, self absorbed, at odds with the cosmos they inhabit, unconcerned by such quotidian niceties as the physical world around them – aren’t they?
Maybe not. Charles Dickens certainly was not. If anyone was ever forced into this world like a needle into an epidermis, then surely it was Dickens. He was the most tirelessly observant person anyone could remember ever meeting. Without looking at anything in particular, Dickens wrote of himself as a young man, he had missed nothing. How many of us can say the same? Continue reading