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Charles Dickens - The Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi


Charles Dickens - The Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi


The Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi is the biography of the nineteenth-century English actor, comedian and clown who became the most popular English entertainer of the Regency era.

Joseph Grimaldi (1778-1837) was a phenomenon in his time, a national treasure—the toast of England and a household name.

He was one of the greatest English clowns and pantomimes of all time.

In the early 1800s, he expanded the role of Clown in the harlequinade that formed part of British pantomimes, notably at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and the Sadler's Wells and Covent Garden theatres.

Born in London to an Italian ballet-master and a dancer in the theatre’s corps-de-ballet, he was introduced to the stage at the age of two and began performing at the Sadler’s Wells theatre at the age of three.

Grimaldi’s fame as a pantomime clown was unequalled.

He introduced the tradition of audience participation, of poking fun at spectators, and generally the modern concept of the clown as such.

In 1837 Charles Dickens, then twenty-five years old and working under the pen name “Boz” was chosen to edit Grimaldi’s autobiography.  

The result was one of the most moving and insightful biographies ever written.

In his last years, Grimaldi lived in obscurity and became an impoverished alcoholic.

CHARLES DICKENS (1812-1870) transformed the art of fiction. The author of numerous novels and short stories, including Great Expectations, A Tale Of Two Cities, David Copperfield, and Bleak House, he is considered a literary colossus, and a central figure in the development of the modern novel.



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