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Charles Dickens (1812 -1870)
The most popular English novelist
Childhood Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Portsmouth, on the southern coast of England. He was the second of eight children.
Imprisonment In 1822, the Dickens family moved to a poor neighborhood in London. In 1824 his father, John, was sent to prison for debt when Charles was just 12 years old.
Hard Times Charles Dickens was forced to leave school to work at a boot-blacking factory alongside the River Thames. He felt abandoned and betrayed by the adults who were supposed to take care of him.
Launching point In 1827, Charles had to drop out of school and work as an office boy to contribute to his family’s income.
First Success and Marriage Catherine Hogarth (1815 -1879) In 1836, his clippings were published in his first book, Sketches by Boz.
Robert Seymour The Pickwick Papers
A tour of the United States In 1842, Dickens and his wife, went on a five-month tour of the United States. During his tour Dickens gave lectures. His 76 readings earned him no less than $95,000, which, in the Victoria era, amounted to approximately $1.5 million in current U.S. dollars.
Coming out of the “dark novel” period
Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey On June 9, 1870, Dickens had a stroke and, at age 58, died in Kent, England. He was buried in Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey.
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Charles Dickens Biography
He was the author of numerous works that are now considered classics. Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, Great Expectations to name only a few.
Famous British novelist Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Portsmouth, on the southern coast of England. He was the second of eight children. His father, John Dickens, was a naval clerk who dreamed of striking it rich. Charles Dickens’ mother, Elizabeth Barrow, was eager to be a teacher and school director but failed. Despite his parents’ best efforts, the family remained poor. Nevertheless, they were happy in the early days. In 1816, they moved to Kent, where young Charles and his siblings were free to roam the countryside and explore the old castle at Rochester.
In 1822, the Dickens family moved to 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.
Following his father’s imprisonment, Charles Dickens was forced to leave school to work at a boot-blacking factory alongside the River Thames. It was the best he could do to help support his family. Looking back on the experience, Dickens saw it as the moment he said goodbye to his childhood. He felt abandoned and betrayed by the adults who were supposed to take care of him. These feelings would later become a recurring theme in his writing.
Much to his relief, Dickens was permitted to go back to school when his father received a family inheritance and used it to pay off his debts. But when Dickens was 15, his education was pulled out from under him once again. In 1827, he had to drop out of school and work as an office boy to contribute to his family’s income. As it turned out, the job became an early launching point for his writing career.
Within a year of being hired, Dickens began freelance reporting at the law courts of London. Just a few years later, he was reporting for two major London newspapers. 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. Dickens’ first success caught the eye of Catherine Hogarth, whom he soon married. Catherine would grace Charles with a brood of 10 children before the couple separated in 1858.
In the same year that Sketches by Boz was released, Dickens started publishing The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. His series of sketches, originally written as captions for artist Robert Seymour’s illustrations, had an enormous success. In fact, Dickens’ sketches were even more popular than the illustrations they were meant to accompany. The Pickwick Papers brought him fame. And after that he became the most popular writer of that time.
Around this time, Dickens had also become publisher of a magazine called Bentley’s Miscellany. In it he started publishing his first novel, Oliver Twist, which tells about the life of an orphan living in the streets. The novel was extremely well received in both England and America. From 1838 to 1841, he published The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, The Old Curiosity Shop and Barnaby Rudge.
In 1842, Dickens and his wife, Kate, went on a five-month tour of the United States. During his tour Dickens gave lectures. He spoke of his opposition to slavery and expressed his support for additional reform. His lectures were so popular that Dickens could be called the first modern celebrity. His 76 readings earned him no less than $95,000, which, in the Victoria era, amounted to approximately $1.5 million in current U.S. dollars.
“They flock around me as if I were an idol,” bragged Dickens. Although he enjoyed the attention at first, he eventually resented the invasion of privacy. He was also annoyed by Americans’ way of life and he later expressed it in American Notes, a sarcastic book criticizing American culture and materialism. He also wrote the novel The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit, a story about a man’s struggle to survive on the ruthless American frontier.
Back at home, Dickens had become so famous that people recognized him all over London as he strolled around the city collecting the observations that would serve as inspiration for his future work.
In 1843 Dickens published two Christmas stories. One was the classic A Christmas Carol, which features Ebenezer Scrooge /ˌɛbɨˈniːzər ˈskruːdʒ/), an old miser, who, with the help of a ghost, finds the Christmas spirit. Scrooge is one of the most famous characters in English literature. By the way, Scrooge McDuckis a cartoon character created in 1947 was named after Ebenezer Scroogefrom the 1843 novel A Christmas Carol.
From 1849 to 1850, Dickens worked on David Copperfield, the first work of its kind; no one had ever written a novel that simply followed a character through his everyday life. In writing it, Dickens tapped into his own personal experiences, from his difficult childhood to his work as a journalist. Although David Copperfield is not considered Dickens’ best work, it was his personal favorite.
During the 1850s, Dickens suffered two devastating losses: the deaths of his daughter and father. He also separated from his wife during that decade. His novels also began to express a darkened worldview. From 1852 to 18… he wrote Bleak House, Hard Times, Little Dorrit.
Coming out of his “dark novel” period, in 1859 Dickens published A Tale of Two Cities, a historical novel that takes place during the French Revolution. His next novel, Great Expectations (1860-1861) is widely considered his greatest literary accomplishment. A few years later, Dickens produced Our Mutual Friend.
In 1865, Dickens was in a train accident and never fully recovered. Despite his fragile condition, he continued to tour until 1870. On June 9, 1870, Dickens had a stroke and, at age 58, died in Kent, England. He was buried in Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey. At the time of Dickens’ death, his final novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, was left unfinished
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