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Continuous demonstrations in defence of workers' rights took place in many manufacturing towns and in London as well. The actions of the Chartists had considerable effect on Dickens. Though he did not believe in revolutionary action, he was on the side of the people with all his heart. He wanted what the people wanted.
He looked into the darkest corners of the large cities and there found the victims of capitalism. Thus, Dickens's immortal works became an accusation of the bourgeois system as a whole.
The publishing house of Chapman and Hall were planning to bring out a series of humorous pictures on sport events. Dickens was asked to write short comic episodes to accompany the pictures about a certain Mr. Pickwick whose efforts in sport always ended in failure. But the artist died suddenly, leaving Dickens to develop the series as he would.. Dickens introduced new episodes and the characters grew in depth. When all the series were put together, they formed a novel. Later they were printed in one volume under the title The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, or Pickwick papers for short.
Having discovered, almost accidentally, his ability as a novelist, Dickens devoted himself to literary work. His next novel was Oliver Twist. It appeared first in series in a new monthly magazine of which Dickens himself was editor. Readers expected to see a new humorous story, and they were much surprised to find a nightmare novel instead.
The I period. (The works written between the years 1833—1841) They are: Sketches by Boz (1833-1836) The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (1837) Oliver Twist (1838) Nicholas Nickleby (1839) Barnaby Rudge (1840) The Old Curiosity Shop (1841)
The following books, written between the years 1842—1848, belong to the second period in the writer's creative work. American Notes (1842) Martin Chuzzlewit (1844) The Christmas Books (1843—1848) Dombey and Son (1846—1848)
The following novels written in the fifties are probably the strongest for the social criticism expressed in them. During this period he wrote: David Copperfield (1850) Bleak House (1853) Hard Times (1854) Little Dorr it (1857) A Tale of Two Cities (1859)
The forth period in Dickens`s creative work was the sixties, the years when the labour movement was going down. He wrote only two novels: Great Expectations (1861) Our Mutual Friend (1864-1865)
Dickens has a style of his own. Everything Dickens gives the reader was learnt in suffering, even the most comical situations. The secret of Dickens's style lies in the combination of the strictest realism of detail with fantasy.
heroes villains quaint people These three types call up three emotions: pathos, or a feeling of pity, for the virtuous characters when circumstances have turned against them; contempt for the villains, whom Dickens describes in a satirical manner which helps to tear off their mask of respectability; and a warm liking for the whimsical but generous persons.
The fate of poor children caused him much alarm: no writer of the time knew better than Dickens what child labour was. He also knew how terribly a child could change in an unwholesone environment; he was too familiar with the common misery, and knew how good can turn into bad. Yet, in his works, his child heroes and heroines remain pure till the end. They pass through dirty crowded streets and keep themselves unspotted.
At the time when Britain was the richest country in the world, Dickens's truthful pictures of English life stressed again and again that all wealth was in the hands of a small group of capitalists and that the masses lived at the mercy of the rich. However it never occurred to the writer that the capitalist system was the cause of all poverty. Dickens wished to solve insoluble problems through the triumph of virtue; so the gentle and ever-friendly Dickens invented a happy ending to nearly all his stories. Dickens never outgrew his bourgeois illusion that the exploiters could be converted to principles that were contradictory to the nature of private property
Dickens gave a full picture of 19th century English life. His method of writing inspired many others to write realistically, and great works of critical realism appeared after him. Dickens portrayed people of all the types seen in the streets of great cities in his time.
The English critic and poet, Algernon Swinburne, when travelling in Russia, visited Leo Tolstoy. He reported that the great writer had said about Dickens: "All his characters are my personal friends. I am constantly comparing them with living persons, and living persons with them. And what a spirit there is in everything he wrote!"