Chaplin books

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Charles Chaplin must one of the most written-about personalities ever. This makes any attempt at a definitive bibliography a daunting task. Below is a list of books and articles held at the bfi National Library which represents a substantial sample of the available texts in the English language.

Amongst these many there are some works that stand out and should be the first port of call for any student interested in Chaplin. Chaplin's own writings are revealing, particularly My Autobiography of 1964 and the follow up My Life in Pictures of 1974. The ghost written accounts of his travels My Trip Abroad (My Wonderful Visit in the UK) and A Comedian Sees the World (1933) are also useful.

Two books to have at your elbow at all times when studying Chaplin are the definitive biography, David Robinson's Charles Chaplin: His Life and Art (2nd edition 2001) and Glenn Mitchell's The Chaplin Encyclopedia (1997). These are both impeccably researched, well written and full of detail. For any very up to the minute discoveries and additions not covered in these works, websites are the most useful (see Chaplin worldwide sources).

Chaplin books began to appear with the Chaplin Craze in 1915/16. (The first book ever to appear on Chaplin was The Charlie Chaplin Scream Book on September 1915). These were mostly catering to fans or were studio-sponsored puff. Serious study of Chaplin began in the earliest days of the serious consideration of film and was well into its stride by the early 1930s. There are many memoirs written by family members and close friends such as Jerry Epstein and Claire Bloom. For more critical approach Donald W McCaffrey's book of essays Focus on Chaplin is at times refreshingly iconoclastic but still very stimulating.

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