Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens (1812-70) was born in Portsmouth, England. He is one of the most popular writers in the history of literature.

Dickens was pulled from school at a young age when his father was put in prison for debts. He was forced to take a job in a blacking warehouse, which influenced his writing later in life. When his father left prison, Dickens returned to school, but was mostly self-taught.

After finishing school, he became a legal clerk then went on to work as a reporter in the courts and parliament. In 1833 he began to publish humorous descriptive sketches of daily life in London under the pseudonym, Boz. The series of articles, accompanied by artistic sketches became very popular and led to his publication of "The Pickwick Papers".

It also led to a new way of writing in London; the serial story. Dickens maintained his fame with a series of popular novels, editing magazines, and charitable work pressing for social reforms. He also managed a theatrical company who performed for Queen Victoria, and did public readings of his works.

But, success in business did not mean success in his home life. After an affair with a young actress and citing incompatibility with his wife, they separated in 1858 even though the marriage had produced 10 children. He suffered a fatal stroke on June 9, 1870, and was buried in Westminster Abbey five days later.

A Christmas Carol

"A Christmas Carol" written by Charles Dickens was published as a novella on December 19th of 1843. It was an instant success and has been popularized and has never been out of print. It was written at a time when people were beginning to sing carols and make celebrate Christmas with parties. In 1838 Victoria began her reign and married Prince Albert in 1840. Prince Albert brought his … [Read more...]

Hard Times

"Hard Times" by Charles Dickens was originally published between April and August in 1854 in a serialized form. Realizing that his weekly periodical, Household Words needed a boost in sales, Dickens hoped that putting "Hard Times" in it would help. He was right, it did boost sales. Charles Dickens had visited some factories in Manchester and was appalled at the working conditions. He … [Read more...]

Great Expectations

Published in weekly installments from December 1, 1860, to August 3, 1861. "Great Expectations" is a story of a young boy growing into adulthood, who learns that his "great expectations" of wealth and power do not lead to virtue and happiness. The book spans thirty years in the life of Phillip Pirrip, or Pip, the protagonist of the book. He is seven when the story begins, and he meets … [Read more...]

A Tale of the Two Cities

From April to November, 1859, Charles Dickens wrote "A Tale of Two Cities" in weekly installments. This method of writing a novel was genius. The suspense kept the readers excited about the next installment and it made a lot of money. Also, the regular person could read it. At the time most books were owned and read by the wealthy, but, since the newspaper could be passed around and … [Read more...]

David Copperfield

David Copperfield is a semi-autobiographical novel by British writer Charles Dickens, published 1849-50.  A sentimental story of an orphan's struggles. It  deals with the sufferings of young David after his mother's death, through the cruel treatment of his stepfather, schoolmasters, and employers. The hypocritical Uriah Heep is one of the book's many memorable characters. David's … [Read more...]

Oliver Twist

In the novel "Oliver Twist" we can read about the shocking destiny of Oliver Twist, a poor boy who lost his mother during birth. Through a realistic display we can see his miserable life in the orphanage and later on in the streets. The novel deals with a social problem, better said the growing parentless children in London. Dickens tried to show the life of poor children through Oliver … [Read more...]