Since the 1930s, critics and scholars began to take an increasingly new interest in Dickens both as a man and a writer. Facets of his personality, hitherto unknown, were discovered and they shed new light on his writings. Dickens began to be regarded not merely as a humorous writer but as a serious artist, deeply preoccupied with the essential issues of life. In the course of time, Dickens attracted so much interest from critics and scholars that an innumerable number of books, essays and biographies were turned out every year. Soon people began to speak of the Dickens boom or the Dickens industry. Of the ten essays, selected for this book from the writings of Professor Amanullah Ahmed, four are devoted to an evaluation of Dickens as a novelist. Professor Ahmed, who has an abiding interest in Dickens's novels, attempts to present to the readers a balanced view of the author, paying attention to a variety of aspects of his works. In doing so, he depends more on Dickens's texts than on any other currently popular and modish critical methods. The other essays illustrate Professor Ahmed's choices and preferences. He is on the side of the catholic and the humane and pleads for a tolerant view of life. Dr. Hilali's exploration into the roots of Islamic culture fascinates him and he speaks glowingly of Nazrul's instinctive love for the underdog of society. Professor Ahmed has spent his life in a University, has been a witness to its gradual decline and indirectly registers his protest against the harmful tendencies by drawing a contrasting picture of what a University ideally represents in our social and national life.
Amanullah Ahmed was born in 1931 in a village in Cooch Behar, presently a district of West Bengal, India. He obtained his M.A. degree (1953) in English from the University of Dhaka. Having taught English at a number of colleges including Carmichael College, Rangpur and Rajshahi Government Colleges he joined the English Department, at Rajshahi University in 1958 where he worked until 1996. He went to England in 1963 and did an M.A. in English at Leicester University in 1965. Professor Ahmed was Vice-Chancellor of Rajshahi University (1988-92) and Pro Vice-Chancellor of the same institution (1985-88). He also served for about three years (1999-2002) as Vice-Chancellor of Queens University, in Dhaka. He has written and published extensively in journals and