"He was almost certainly the best-known man in England in the middle of the nineteenth century, and certainly the most loved," but was Charles Dicken's internal life as celebratory? "Dickens never really recovered from the searing despair he felt at the plunge from respectable lower-middle-class family life and decent schooling into semiabandonment, living on his own on sixpence a day in a shabby rented room, his father and family in debtors’ prison," writes the New York Review of Books. Dickens once wrote, "It is wonderful to me how I could have been so easily cast away at such an age…. No advice, no counsel, no encouragement, no consolation, no support, from any one that I can call to mind, so help me God."