LET ME BEGIN BY observing that although I have never written a complete biography, or a book that was nothing but a biography, almost everything that I have written has a biographical side to it. All of my writing is in some measure biographical and arises out of biographical (and historical) interests and impulses, which are themselves not easily separable from autobiographical circumstances. To illustrate these assertions let me turn to my first book, on Charles Dickens, 1 and recall the circumstances out of which my interest in Dickens arose.