“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”“Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but - I hope - into a better shape.”“I hope that real love and truth are stronger in the end than any evil or misfortune in the world.”
Charles Dickens was a British novelist, journalist, editor, illustrator and social commentator who wrote such beloved classic novels as Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, Nicholas Nickleby, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity during his lifetime than had any previous author. Much in his work could appeal to the simple and the sophisticated, to the poor and to the queen, and technological developments as well as the qualities of his work enabled his fame to spread worldwide very quickly.
Life The famous British author was the second of eight children. His father, John Dickens, a naval clerk, was well paid, but his extravagance brought the family financial troubles. Charles' mother, Elizabeth Barrow, wanted to be a teacher and school director. Despite his parents’ best efforts, the family remained poor. Nevertheless, they were happy in the early days. In 1816, they moved to Chatham, Kent, where young Dickens and his siblings were free to roam the countryside and explore the old castle at Rochester. In 1822, the Dickens family moved to Camden Town, a poor neighborhood in London. By then the family’s financial situation had grown worse, as John Dickens had a dangerous habit of living beyond the family’s means. Eventually, John was sent to prison for debt in 1824, when Charles was just 12 years old.
Dickens was forced to leave school to work at a boot-blacking factory alongside the River Thames. These shocks deeply affected Charles. This experience gave him knowledge of the life of the working class. Also the image of prison, poverty, oppressed children appear in many writings. He became a clerk in a solicitor’s office, then a shorthand reporter in the law courts (thus gaining a knowledge of the legal world often used in the novels), and finally, like other members of his family, a parliamentary and newspaper reporter. In 1833, he began submitting sketches to various magazines and newspapers under the pseudonym “Boz.” In 1836, his clippings were published in his first book, Sketches by Boz. In the same year, Dickens started publishing The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. His series, originally written as captions for artist Robert Seymour’s humorous sports-themed illustrations, took the form of monthly serial installments.
The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club was wildly popular with readers. In fact, Dickens’ captions were even more popular than the illustrations they were meant to accompany. He later edited magazines including Household Words and All the Year Round, the latter of which he founded. Dickens married Catherine Hogarth soon after his first book, Sketches by Boz, was published. The couple had a brood of 10 children. During the 1850s, Dickens suffered two devastating losses: the deaths of his daughter and father. He also separated from his wife in 1858. For several years his life continued at this intensity. Finding serialization profitable, he repeated the Pickwick pattern of 20 monthly parts in Nicholas Nickleby (1838–39); then he experimented with shorter weekly installments for The Old Curiosity Shop (1840–41) and Barnaby Rudge (1841). Exhausted at last, he then took a five-month vacation in America. His writing during these prolific years was remarkably various and, except for his plays, resourceful.
His self-assurance and artistic ambitiousness appeared in Oliver Twist, where he rejected the temptation to repeat the successful Pickwick formula. Though containing much comedy still, Oliver Twist is more centrally concerned with social and moral evil (the workhouse and the criminal world). The currency of his fiction owed much, too, to its being so easy to adapt into effective stage versions. Sometimes 20 London theatres simultaneously were producing adaptations of his latest story, so even nonreaders became acquainted with simplified versions of his works. The theatre was often a subject of his fiction, too, as in the Crummles troupe in Nicholas Nickleby. In Barnaby Rudge he attempted another genre, the historical novel. Like his later attempt in this kind, A Tale of Two Cities, it was set in the late 18th century
To create an artistic unity out of the wide range of moods and materials included in every novel, with often several complicated plots involving scores of characters, was made even more difficult by Dickens’s writing and publishing them serially. In the novels of the 1850s, he was politically more despondent, emotionally more tragic. The satire is harsher, the humour less genial and abundant, the “happy endings” more subdued than in the early fiction. After suffering a stroke, Dickens died at age 58 on June 9, 1870, at Gad’s Hill Place, his country home in Kent, England.
Throughout his career, Dickens published a total of 15 novels. His most well-known works include:'Oliver Twist' (1837-1838)Oliver Twist, Dickens first novel, follows the life of an orphan living in the streets.'A Christmas Carol' (1843)The book features the timeless protagonist Ebenezer Scrooge, a curmudgeonly old miser, who, with the help of ghosts, finds the Christmas spirit. 'Dealings with the Firm of Dombey and Son' (1846 to 1848)The novel, which was published in book form in 1848, centers on the theme of how business tactics affect a family’s personal finances. Charles Dickens' Books
'David Copperfield' (1849 to 1850)In writing it, Dickens tapped into his own personal experiences, from his difficult childhood to his work as a journalist.'Bleak House' (1852 to 1853)In Bleak House, published in installments from 1852 to 1853, he deals with the hypocrisy of British society. It was considered his most complex novel to date.'Hard Times' (1854)Hard Times takes place in an industrial town at the peak of economic expansion. Published in 1854, the book focuses on the shortcomings of employers as well as those who seek change.'A Tale of Two Cities' (1859)The novel takes place during the French Revolution in Paris and London.'Great Expectations' (1861)The story focuses on the lifelong journey of an orphan named Pip.