Dickens and Prince: A Particular Kind of Genius by Nick Hornby

New York Times best-selling author Nick Hornby of High Fidelity fame has a new book Dickens and Prince: A Particular Kind of Genius that explores the duality of Prince and Dickens in their individual centuries. So far apart but yet so much alike.

From the bestselling author of Just Like You, High Fidelity, and Fever Pitch, a short, warm, and entertaining book about art, creativity, and the unlikely similarities between Victorian novelist Charles Dickens and modern American rock star Prince

Every so often, a pairing comes along that seems completely unlikely—until it’s not. Peanut butter and jelly, Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong Un, ducks and puppies, and now: Dickens and Prince.

Equipped with a fan’s admiration and his trademark humor and wit, Nick Hornby invites us into his latest obsession: the cosmic link between two unlikely artists, geniuses in their own rights, spanning race, class, and centuries—each of whom electrified their different disciplines and whose legacy resounded far beyond their own time.

When Prince’s 1987 record Sign o’ the Times was rereleased in 2020, the iconic album now came with dozens of songs that weren’t on the original— Prince was endlessly prolific, recording 102 songs in 1986 alone. In awe, Hornby began to wonder, Who else ever produced this much? Who else ever worked that way? He soon found his answer in Victorian novelist and social critic Charles Dickens, who died more than a hundred years before Prince began making music.

Examining the two artists’ personal tragedies, social statuses, boundless productivity, and other parallels, both humorous and haunting, Hornby shows how these two unlikely men from different centuries “lit up the world.” In the process, he creates a lively, stimulating rumination on the creativity, flamboyance, discipline, and soul it takes to produce great art.

Fun Fact: Dickens loved to give nicknames to his 10 children, including “Skittles” for his son Alfred, “Lucifer Box” for his daughter Kate, and “Chickenstalker” for his son Francis. 

Prince was not just a rockstar on the guitar; his love for music pushed him to learn a whopping 27 instruments. At least. On his debut album For You, he played every single instrument on the project.

Nick Hornby was born in 1957 and is the author of six novels, High Fidelity, About a Boy, How To Be Good, A Long Way Down (shortlisted for the Whitbread Award)Slam and Juliet, and Naked. He is also the author of Fever Pitch, a book on his life as a devoted supporter of Arsenal Football Club, and has edited the collection of short stories Speaking with the Angel. He has written a book about his favourite songs, 31 Songs, and his reading habits, The Complete Polysyllabic Spree. In 2009 he wrote the screenplay for the film An Education. Nick Hornby lives and works in Highbury, north London.