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PORTSMOUTH Central Library has welcomed back a book it originally banned more than 80 years ago.

This Side Idolatry, a novel about the life of Charles Dickens, was pulled from shelves in 1928 after the library believed its contents contained scandal about the Victorian novelist who was born in the city.

At the time, The Sunday Times said the book, by Carl Roberts, was one that made Dickens look like ‘a hypocrite, an egoist and selfish.’

The library’s move coincides with Charles Dickens’ 200th birthday next year.

Dom Kippin, literature development officer, said: ‘We’ve decided it’s time to let bygones be bygones.

‘February is his birthday and we’ll be celebrating his life and work throughout the year, so it seemed an appropriate time to add another book to the fine collection of work that the library holds.’