Many people know Charles Dickens as the author of classics such as Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol. However, there is much more to this prolific writer than meets the eye. Join us as we explore the life and works of one of the most influential authors of the Victorian era.
Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth, England on February 7, 1812. He was the second of eight children born to John and Elizabeth Dickens. His father was a navy pay clerk who later worked in a factory after being laid off. His mother was a homemaker.
As a child, Dickens lived in poverty and his early education was sporadic due to his family’s financial difficulties. However, he did attend school long enough to learn to read and write. He later recalled his childhood experiences in several of his works, including David Copperfield and Great Expectations.
In 1824, at the age of 12, Dickens began working ten-hour days in a blacking factory pasting labels on pots of boot blacking while his family lived in a cramped house on Lant Street. This experience had a profound effect on him and he later wrote that it was “the first time I had ever felt ashamed of home.”
Shortly thereafter, his father was sent to debtor’s prison and Dickens was forced to support himself through various jobs, including working as an attorney’s clerk and journalist.
In 1833, he began publishing sketches under the pseudonym “Boz” in various magazines and newspapers. These pieces were collected into a book titled Sketches by Boz which proved to be popular with readers. It was around this time that Dickens began using elements of his own life experiences in his writings.
In 1836, Dickens married Catherine Hogarth (first daughter of a Scottish journalist) with whom he would have ten children over the course of their marriage.
List of Dickens Life’s Work.
The Pickwick Papers – 1836
Oliver Twist – 1837
Nicholas Nickleby – 1838
The Old Curiosity Shop – 1840
Barnaby Rudge – 1841 (Historical novel)
Martin Chuzzlewit – 1843
Dombey and Son – 1846
David Copperfield – 1849
Bleak House – 1852
Hard Times – 1854
Little Dorrit – 1855
A Tale of Two Cities – 1859 (Historical novel)
Great Expectations – 1860
Our Mutual Friend – 1864
The Mystery of Edwin Drood – 1870 (Unpublished and unfinished).
A novella is a piece of narrative prose fiction that is longer than most short stories but shorter than most novels.
A Christmas Carol – 1843
The Chimes 1844
The Cricket on the Hearth 1845
The Battle of Life 1846
The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain 1848
A Child’s History of England 1851 – 1854
No Thoroughfare 1867 (Co authored with Wilkie Collins)
The Lamplighter (1838)
A Child’s Dream of a Star (1850)
Captain Murderer (1850)
To be Read at Dusk (1852)
The Long Voyage (1853)
Prince Bull (1855)
Thousand and One Humbugs (1855)
Hunted Down (1859)
The Signal-Man (1866)
George Silverman’s Explanation (1868)
Holiday Romance (1868)
How did Dickens Change the Opinions of Working Class People?
Charles Dickens is one of the most famous authors in the English language. His novels have been translated into many languages and have sold millions of copies around the world. Dickens is especially well-known for his portrayal of working-class people and their lives.
Before Dickens, most authors came from upper-class backgrounds and only wrote about the lives of people like themselves. Dickens changed all that by writing about the lives of everyday people in a way that was both realistic and sympathetic. Though Dickens was not a socialist, he introduced more people to Socialism than George Orwell or Jack London.
As a result, Dickens helped to change the way that working-class people were seen by society. He showed that they were just as deserving of respect and attention as anyone else. Thanks to Dickens, working-class people finally had a voice in literature.
He also championed various social reforms throughout his lifetime including housing reform, improved conditions for workers, women’s rights, and education for all children regardless of social status or gender.
Throughout his lifetime, Charles Dickens penned some of literature’s most beloved classics while also shining a light on the realities faced by many during the Victorian era.
Charles Dickens was one of the most prolific and popular writers of his time. His novels, which include classics like “Oliver Twist” and “A Christmas Carol,” are still read and loved by millions today. Dickens was also a social reformer, using his platform to speak out against the injustices he saw in his society.
He died in 1870, but his legacy continues on through his timeless works of literature.
Thanks for joining us on this simple exploration of the life and times of Charles Dickens!
Sources: THX News, Wikipedia & Socialism Today.