The Battle of Life: A Love Story
While the change of heart is present in The Battle of Life, there are no ghosts. Dickens wanted to make this anticipated money-spinner ‘a simple domestic tale’. With a mix of the historical – featuring a battle-field scene harking back to his visit to Waterloo – and the personal moral and emotional skirmishes surrounding sisters Marion and Grace, the book became a tough write, indeed ‘desperate work’. At the time, he was also writing Dombey and Son, and travelling back and forth between Lausanne, Paris, and London. Publishers Bradbury and Evans employed Leech, Maclise, and Richard Doyle, uncle to Arthur Conan Doyle, to illustrate this fourth Christmas book.
[Title page and frontispiece, illustrations by Daniel Maclise, from Charles Dickens's The Battle of Life: A Love Story.]