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Charles Dickens - Author

About the Author

Charles Dickens was an English writer and social critic who is generally regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian period and the creator of some of the world's most memorable fictional characters. During his lifetime Dickens's works enjoyed unprecedented popularity and fame, and by the twentieth century his literary genius was fully recognized by critics and scholars. His novels and short stories continue to enjoy an enduring popularity among the general reading public.

Throughout 2012 there are numerous Dickens Events mark the bicentenary of his birth - www.dickens2012.org .


He was born Charles John Huffam Dickens on 7th February 1812, in Portsmouth, to John, a clerk at the Naval Pay Office, and Elizabeth Dickens. The good fortune of being sent to school at the age of nine was short-lived because his father, inspiration for the character of Mr Micawber in David Copperfield, was imprisoned for bad debt in the Marshalsea in 1824.

12 year old Charles was sent to work in Warren's boot-blacking factory, in Hungerford Market near The Strand, London.  Earning six shillings a week to help support the family, he endured appalling conditions as well as loneliness and despair. After three years he was returned to school, but the experience was never forgotten and became fictionalised in two of his better-known novels David Copperfield and Great Expectations.
This childhood poverty and feelings of abandonment, although unknown to his readers until after his death, would be a heavy influence on Dickens' later views on social reform and the world he would create through his fiction.

Like many others, he began his literary career as a journalist. His own father became a reporter and Charles began with the journals 'The Mirror of Parliament' and 'The True Sun'. Then in 1833 he became parliamentary journalist for The Morning Chronicle. With new contacts in the press he was able to publish a series of sketches under the pseudonym 'Boz'.

In April 1836, he married Catherine Hogarth, daughter of George Hogarth who edited Sketches by Boz. Within the same month came the publication of the highly successful Pickwick Papers, and from that point on there was no looking back for Dickens.

Dickens would go on to write 15 major novels and countelss short stories and also a published autobiography. He edited weekly periodicals including 'Household Words' and 'All Year Round', wrote travel books and administered charitable organisations.

He was also a theatre enthusiast, wrote plays and performed before Queen Victoria in 1851. His energy was inexhaustible and he spent much time abroad - for example lecturing against slavery in the United States and touring Italy with companions Augustus Egg and Wilkie Collins, a contemporary writer who inspired Dickens' final unfinished novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

He was estranged from his wife in 1858 after the birth of their ten children..
He died of a stroke on 9th June 1870. He wished to be buried, without fanfare, in a small cemetery in Rochester, but the Nation would not allow it. He was laid to rest in Poet's Corner, Westminster Abbey, the flowers from thousands of mourners overflowing the open grave. Among the more beautiful bouquets were many simple clusters of wildflowers, wrapped in rags.

The Charles Dickens Museum can be found at 48 Doughty Street, London. Two of his daughters were born here, his sister-in-law Mary died aged 17 in an upstairs bedroom and some of Dickens’s best-loved novels were written here, including  Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby.

Major Works of Charles Dickens

    Sketches by Boz (1836)
    Pickwick Papers (serialized monthly 1836-37)
    Oliver Twist (serialized monthly 1837-39)
    Nicholas Nickleby (serialized monthly 1838-39)
    The Old Curiosity Shop (serialized weekly 1840-41)
    Barnaby Rudge (serialized weekly 1841)
    Martin Chuzzlewit (serialized monthly 1843-44)
    Dombey and Son (serialized monthly 1846-48)
    David Copperfield (serialized monthly 1849-50)
    Bleak House (serialized monthly 1852-53)
    Hard Times (serialized weekly 1854)
    Little Dorrit (serialized monthly 1855-57)
    A Tale of Two Cities (serialized weekly 1859)
    Great Expectations (serialized weekly 1860-61)
    Our Mutual Friend (serialized monthly 1864-65)
    The Mystery of Edwin Drood - unfinished (serialized monthly 1870)

Featured books by Charles Dickens

Other books by Charles Dickens

Christmas Carol & Other Christmas Tales, A

Christmas Carol & Other Christmas Tales, A

Author: Charles Dickens Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/10/2021

A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities

Author: Charles Dickens Format: Hardback Release Date: 19/10/2021

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol

Author: Charles Dickens, Judith John Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/09/2021

Little treasures, the FLAME TREE COLLECTABLE CLASSICS are chosen to create a delightful and timeless home library. Each stunning, gift edition features deluxe cover treatments, ribbon markers, luxury endpapers and gilded edges. The unabridged text is accompanied by a Glossary of Victorian and Literary terms produced for the modern reader. Two other tales are included: The Chimes and The Haunted Man. Ebenezer Scrooge hates everyone and everything. Especially children. Especially Christmas. He's greedy, wealthy and cold-hearted, which has harrowed his features, giving him a pointy nose and thin, blue lips. On Christmas Eve Scrooge is visited by the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come - but can they make him change his ways? A Christmas Carol is a novella by Charles Dickens. It was first published on 19 December 1843 and the first edition had sold out by Christmas Eve. The story of the redemption of Ebenezer Scrooge has only continued to grow in popularity since then and it is now one of the most widely known stories in the world. The FLAME TREE COLLECTABLE CLASSICS are chosen to create a delightful and timeless home library.

Pictures from Italy

Pictures from Italy

Author: Charles Dickens Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 28/09/2021

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol

Author: Charles Dickens Illustrator: Robert Ingpen Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/09/2021

This classic seasonal tale of self-discovery has become one of Charles Dickens's most famous and best-loved works. On Christmas Eve, the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge is haunted by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley, who warns him that he will be visited by three spirits. During the night, the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet to Come show Scrooge the scenes of his youth, the poverty-stricken Christmas currently being endured by his loyal clerk Bob Cratchitt and his crippled son Tiny Tim - and the lonely future that awaits him if he continues in his grasping ways. He awakes on Christmas morning chastened by his nocturnal experiences, and resolves to be a better man. This volume also includes Dickens's short story, A Christmas Tree, with its evocative description of the delights of the season, which provides perfect fireside reading once the gifts are unwrapped. With stunning, atmospheric illustrations that evoke Dickensian London at Christmas time, award-winning artist Robert Ingpen has worked his wonders on this timeless tale.

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol

Author: Charles Dickens, Lisbeth Zwerger Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/09/2021

Hard Times

Hard Times

Author: Charles Dickens Illustrator: Karen Donnelly Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/08/2021

A disappearing father, an unhappy marriage, a handsome suitor and a bank robbery all bring challenges to Louisa's life. Will she be able to control her powerful emotions, or will they lead her to ruin? Set amongst the noisy, dangerous factories of a northern industrial town, where the workers struggle to survive, Hard Times explores the power that people can have over others, and the suffering that is caused when human emotions are ignored.

The Old Curiosity Shop

The Old Curiosity Shop

Author: Charles Dickens Illustrator: Karen Donnelly Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/08/2021

Little Nell Trent's childhood is over. Her grandfather's mind is failing, his dark secret makes him sad and distracted, and he has nobody to care for him but Nell. The grotesque Daniel Quilp is out to cause trouble. What plans does he hatch with the dreadful Sampson and Sally Brass? What use can he hope to make of the foolish Dick Swiveller? Is Nell's one true friend, Kit, a match for Quilp's villainous mind? Nell and her grandfather must disappear or be separated forever, and so they begin their lives as beggars. When a mysterious gentleman arrives in London, determined to track them down, it becomes a race against time and against the evil of Quilp. Can Little Nell keep her grandfather safe? Who will protect Nell? Will the mysterious gentleman find them before it is too late?

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