First published in 1985. Dickens was a vigorous champion of the right of all men and women to carefree amusements and dedicated himself to the creation of imaginative pleasure. This book represents the first extended study of this vital aspect of Dickens’ life and work, exploring how he channelled his love of entertainment into his artistry. This study offers a challenging reassessment of Nicholas Nickleby, The Old Curiosity Shop and Hard Times. It shows the importance of entertainment to Dickens’ journalism and presents an illuminating perspective on the public readings which dominated the last twelve years of his life. This book will be of interest to students of literature.