Dickens’ Secret Lover

Dickens’ Secret Lover explores tragic life of literary genius

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Dickens’ Secret Lover explores how Charles Dickens, a very public figure, kept his private life—and young lover—secret.

When the 19th century British novelist was 45 years old and married with nine children, he met Nelly Ternan, an 18-year-old actress with whom he fell hopelessly in love. Thus began an ongoing clandestine relationship that he kept secret for the rest of his life. For 13 years Dickens conducted a secret love affair with Ternan, possibly fathering two children who died in infancy.

Dickens’ Secret Lover reveals how this public and popular figure kept his private life secret via scheming financial arrangements, meticulously planned railway journeys, networks of safe-houses, and the burning of personal papers and private letters.

Ultimately, the strain of his double life resulted in a premature death for the highly gifted yet deeply troubled artist.

The program premieres Sunday, March 25 at 9/8 p.m. CT on KET.

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