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Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the
Victorian era In the history of the United Kingdom, the Victorian era was the wikt:period, period of Queen Victoria's reign, from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. The era followed the Georgian era, Georgian period and preceded the Edwa ...
.. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime and, by the 20th century, critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and short stories are widely read today. Born in
Portsmouth Portsmouth ( ) is a and island with status in the of , southern . It is the most densely populated city in the , with a population last recorded at 238,800. The city forms part of the , which also incorporates , , , , , and . Located mainly ...

Portsmouth
, Dickens left school at the age of 12 to work in a boot-blacking factory when
his father
his father
was incarcerated in a
debtors' prison A debtors' prison is a prison A prison (also known as a jail or gaol (dated, British, Australian, and to a lesser extent Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may b ...
. After three years he was returned to school, before he began his literary career as a journalist. Dickens edited a weekly journal for 20 years, wrote 15 novels, five
novellas A novella is a narrative prose fiction whose length is shorter than that of most novel A novel is a relatively long work of narrative fiction, typically written in prose and published as a book. The present English word for a long work of pro ...
, hundreds of short stories and non-fiction articles, lectured and performed
readings Reading is the process of taking in the sense or meaning of letters, symbols, etc., especially by sight or touch. For educators and researchers, reading is a multifaceted process involving such areas as word recognition, orthography (spelling) ...
extensively, was an indefatigable letter writer, and campaigned vigorously for children's rights, education and other social reforms. Dickens's literary success began with the 1836 serial publication of ''
The Pickwick Papers ''The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club'' (also known as ''The Pickwick Papers'') was Charles Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some o ...
'', a publishing phenomenon—thanks largely to the introduction of the character Sam Weller in the fourth episode—that sparked ''Pickwick'' merchandise and spin-offs. Within a few years Dickens had become an international literary celebrity, famous for his humour, satire and keen observation of character and society. His novels, most of them published in monthly or weekly instalments, pioneered the
serial Serial may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media The presentation of works in sequential segments * Serial (literature), serialised fiction in print * Serial (publishing), periodical publications and newspapers * Serial (radio and television), ...
publication of narrative fiction, which became the dominant Victorian mode for novel publication..
Cliffhanger A cliffhanger or cliffhanger ending is a plot device in fiction which features a main character in a precarious or difficult dilemma or confronted with a shocking revelation at the end of an episode or a movie of serialized fiction. A cliffhange ...

Cliffhanger
endings in his serial publications kept readers in suspense. The instalment format allowed Dickens to evaluate his audience's reaction, and he often modified his plot and character development based on such feedback. For example, when his wife's
chiropodist Podiatry () or podiatric medicine () is a branch of medicine devoted to the study, diagnosis, and medical and surgical treatment of disorders of the foot, ankle, and human leg, lower extremity. The term ''podiatry'' came into use in the earl ...
expressed distress at the way Miss Mowcher in ''
David Copperfield ''The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery (Which He Never Meant to Publish on Any Account)'', commonly known as ''David Copperfield'',Dickens invented over 14 varia ...

David Copperfield
'' seemed to reflect her disabilities, Dickens improved the character with positive features. His plots were carefully constructed and he often wove elements from topical events into his narratives. Masses of the illiterate poor would individually pay a to have each new monthly episode read to them, opening up and inspiring a new class of readers. His 1843 novella ''
A Christmas Carol ''A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas'', commonly known as ''A Christmas Carol'', is a novella A novella is a narrative prose fiction whose length is shorter than that of most novel A novel is a relatively l ...

A Christmas Carol
'' remains especially popular and continues to inspire adaptations in every artistic genre. ''
Oliver Twist ''Oliver Twist; or, the Parish Boy's Progress'', Charles Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional charact ...
'' and ''
Great Expectations ''Great Expectations'' is the thirteenth novel by Charles Dickens and his penultimate completed novel. It depicts the education of an orphan nicknamed Pip (Great Expectations), Pip (the book is a ''bildungsroman'', a coming-of-age story). It i ...

Great Expectations
'' are also frequently adapted and, like many of his novels, evoke images of early Victorian London. His 1859 novel ''
A Tale of Two Cities ''A Tale of Two Cities'' is an 1859 historical novel Historical fiction is a literary genre in which the plot takes place in a setting located in the past. Although the term is commonly used as a synonym for the historical novel, it can als ...
'' (set in London and Paris) is his best-known work of historical fiction. The most famous celebrity of his era, he undertook, in response to public demand, a series of public reading tours in the later part of his career. The term ''Dickensian'' is used to describe something that is reminiscent of Dickens and his writings, such as poor social or working conditions, or comically repulsive characters.


Early life

Charles John Huffam Dickens was born on 7 February 1812 at 1 Mile End Terrace (now 393 Commercial Road),
Landport Landport is a district located on Portsea Island and is considered the city centre of modern-day Portsmouth Portsmouth () is a port city primarily built on Portsea Island in the county of Hampshire, South East England. It is also known ...
in
Portsea Island Portsea Island is a flat, low-lying island in area, just off the southern coast of England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of England and the to ...
(
Portsmouth Portsmouth ( ) is a and island with status in the of , southern . It is the most densely populated city in the , with a population last recorded at 238,800. The city forms part of the , which also incorporates , , , , , and . Located mainly ...

Portsmouth
),
Hampshire Hampshire (, ; abbreviated to Hants) is a Counties of England, county in South East England on the coast of the English Channel. The county town is Winchester, but the county is named after Southampton. Its two largest cities are Southampton a ...

Hampshire
, the second of eight children of
Elizabeth Dickens Elizabeth Culliford Dickens (née Barrow; 21 December 1789 – 13 September 1863) was the wife of John Dickens John Dickens (21 August 1785 – 31 March 1851) was the father of English novelist A novelist is an author or writer of novels, thou ...

Elizabeth Dickens
(née Barrow; 1789–1863) and
John Dickens John Dickens (21 August 1785 – 31 March 1851) was the father of English and was the model for in his son's '. Biography The son of William Dickens (1719–1785) and Elizabeth Ball (1745–1824), John Dickens was a in the Pay Office at ...

John Dickens
(1785–1851). His father was a clerk in the Navy Pay Office and was temporarily stationed in the district. He asked Christopher Huffam, rigger to His Majesty's Navy, gentleman, and head of an established firm, to act as godfather to Charles. Huffam is thought to be the inspiration for Paul Dombey, the owner of a shipping company in Dickens's novel ''
Dombey and Son ''Dombey and Son'' is a novel by English author Charles Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characte ...
'' (1848). In January 1815, John Dickens was called back to London and the family moved to Norfolk Street,
Fitzrovia Fitzrovia () is a district of central London, England, near the West End of London, West End. The eastern part of area is in the London Borough of Camden, and the western in the City of Westminster. It has its roots in the Manor of Tottenham Cour ...
. When Charles was four, they relocated to
Sheerness Sheerness () is a town and civil parish In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration Public administratio ...
and thence to Chatham,
Kent Kent is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William and Robert ...

Kent
, where he spent his formative years until the age of 11. His early life seems to have been idyllic, though he thought himself a "very small and not-over-particularly-taken-care-of boy". Charles spent time outdoors, but also read voraciously, including the picaresque novels of
Tobias Smollett Tobias George Smollett (baptised 19 March 1721 – 17 September 1771) was a Scottish poet and author. He was best known for picaresque novels such as ''The Adventures of Roderick Random ''The Adventures of Roderick Random'' is a picaresque ...

Tobias Smollett
and
Henry Fielding Henry Fielding (22 April 1707 – 8 October 1754) was an English novelist, ironist and dramatist known for earthy humour and satire. His comic novel '' Tom Jones'' is still widely appreciated. He and Samuel Richardson Samuel Richardson (bapt ...

Henry Fielding
, as well as ''
Robinson Crusoe ''Robinson Crusoe'' () is a novel by Daniel Defoe Daniel Defoe (; born Daniel Foe; c. 1660 – 24 April 1731) was an English writer, trader, journalist, pamphleteer and spy. He is most famous for his novel ''Robinson Crusoe'', published in ...
'' and ''
Gil Blas ''Gil Blas'' (french: L'Histoire de Gil Blas de Santillane ) is a picaresque novel by Alain-René Lesage Alain-René Lesage (; 6 May 166817 November 1747; older spelling Le Sage) was a French novelist A novelist is an author An author ...
''. He read and reread ''
The Arabian Nights ''One Thousand and One Nights'' ( ar, أَلْفُ لَيْلَةٍ وَلَيْلَةٌ, ) is a collection of Middle Eastern folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age. It is often known in English as the ''Arabian Nights'', ...

The Arabian Nights
'' and the Collected Farces of
Elizabeth Inchbald Elizabeth Inchbald (née Simpson) (15 October 1753 – 1 August 1821) was an English novelist, actress, and dramatist. She is the author of two novels that retain prominence today. Life Born on 15 October 1753 at Stanningfield, near Bury St Ed ...

Elizabeth Inchbald
. He retained poignant memories of childhood, helped by an excellent memory of people and events, which he used in his writing. His father's brief work as a clerk in the Navy Pay Office afforded him a few years of private education, first at a
dame school The Dame School is a historic meeting house, school, and now local historical museum, on New Hampshire Route 152 in Nottingham, New Hampshire. The single story wood-frame Greek Revival structure was built in 1840 as a church; according to loca ...
and then at a school run by William Giles, a
dissenter A dissenter (from the Latin ''dissentire'', "to disagree") is one who dissent Sticker art arguing that dissent is necessary for democracy.">democracy.html" ;"title="Sticker art arguing that dissent is necessary for democracy">Sticker art arguin ...
, in Chatham. This period came to an end in June 1822, when John Dickens was recalled to Navy Pay Office headquarters at
Somerset House Somerset House is a large Neoclassicism, Neoclassical complex situated on the south side of the Strand, London, Strand in central London, overlooking the River Thames, just east of Waterloo Bridge. The Georgian architecture, Georgian quadrang ...

Somerset House
and the family (except for Charles, who stayed behind to finish his final term at school) moved to
Camden Town Camden Town (), often shortened to Camden, is a district of northwest London, England, north of Charing Cross. Historically in Middlesex, it is the administrative centre of the London Borough of Camden, and identified in the London Plan#Activ ...

Camden Town
in London. The family had left Kent amidst rapidly mounting debts and, living beyond his means, John Dickens was forced by his creditors into the
Marshalsea The Marshalsea (1373–1842) was a notorious prison in Southwark, just south of the River Thames. Although it housed a variety of prisoners, including men accused of crimes at sea and political figures charged with sedition, it became known, in p ...

Marshalsea
debtors' prison A debtors' prison is a prison A prison (also known as a jail or gaol (dated, British, Australian, and to a lesser extent Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may b ...
in
Southwark Southwark ( ) is a district of Central London situated on the south bank of the River Thames, forming the north-western part of the wider modern London Borough of Southwark. The district, which is the oldest part of South London, developed ...

Southwark
, London in 1824. His wife and youngest children joined him there, as was the practice at the time. Charles, then 12 years old, boarded with Elizabeth Roylance, a family friend, at 112 College Place, Camden Town. Mrs Roylance was "a reduced impoverished old lady, long known to our family", whom Dickens later immortalised, "with a few alterations and embellishments", as "Mrs Pipchin" in ''Dombey and Son''. Later, he lived in a back-attic in the house of an agent for the Insolvent Court, Archibald Russell, "a fat, good-natured, kind old gentleman ... with a quiet old wife" and lame son, in
Lant Street Lant Street is a street south of Marshalsea Road Marshalsea Road (classified A3201) is a major street in Southwark, south London, England. At the northwest end is the Southwark Bridge Road. At the southeast end is Borough tube station on Bo ...
in Southwark. They provided the inspiration for the Garlands in ''
The Old Curiosity Shop ''The Old Curiosity Shop'' is one of two novels (the other being ''Barnaby Rudge ''Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of Eighty'' (commonly known as ''Barnaby Rudge'') is a historical novel by British novelist Charles Dickens Charles ...
''. On Sundays – with his sister
Frances Frances is a French and English given name of Latin origin. In Latin the meaning of the name Frances is: From France or 'free one.' The male version of the name in English is Francis (given name), Francis. People * Frances (musician) (born 1993 ...

Frances
, free from her studies at the
Royal Academy of Music The Royal Academy of Music (RAM) in London London is the Capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head ...

Royal Academy of Music
– he spent the day at the Marshalsea. Dickens later used the prison as a setting in ''
Little Dorrit ''Little Dorrit'' is a novel A novel is a relatively long work of narrative fiction, typically written in prose and published as a book. The present English word for a long work of prose fiction derives from the for "new", "news", or "sho ...
''. To pay for his board and to help his family, Dickens was forced to leave school and work ten-hour days at Warren's Warehouse, on Hungerford Stairs, near the present
Charing Cross railway station Charing Cross railway station (also known as London Charing Cross) is a central London railway terminus between the Strand Strand may refer to: Topography *The flat area of land bordering a body of water, a: ** Beach ** Shoreline *Strand ...

Charing Cross railway station
, where he earned six
shilling The shilling is a historical coin, and the name of a unit of modern currencies A currency, "in circulation", from la, currens, -entis, literally meaning "running" or "traversing" in the most specific sense is money Image:National-D ...
s a week pasting labels on pots of boot blacking. The strenuous and often harsh working conditions made a lasting impression on Dickens and later influenced his fiction and essays, becoming the foundation of his interest in the reform of socio-economic and labour conditions, the rigours of which he believed were unfairly borne by the poor. He later wrote that he wondered "how I could have been so easily cast away at such an age". As he recalled to John Forster (from ''Life of Charles Dickens''):
The blacking-warehouse was the last house on the left-hand side of the way, at old Hungerford Stairs. It was a crazy, tumble-down old house, abutting of course on the river, and literally overrun with rats. Its wainscoted rooms, and its rotten floors and staircase, and the old grey rats swarming down in the cellars, and the sound of their squeaking and scuffling coming up the stairs at all times, and the dirt and decay of the place, rise up visibly before me, as if I were there again. The counting-house was on the first floor, looking over the coal-barges and the river. There was a recess in it, in which I was to sit and work. My work was to cover the pots of paste-blacking; first with a piece of oil-paper, and then with a piece of blue paper; to tie them round with a string; and then to clip the paper close and neat, all round, until it looked as smart as a pot of ointment from an apothecary's shop. When a certain number of grosses of pots had attained this pitch of perfection, I was to paste on each a printed label, and then go on again with more pots. Two or three other boys were kept at similar duty down-stairs on similar wages. One of them came up, in a ragged apron and a paper cap, on the first Monday morning, to show me the trick of using the string and tying the knot. His name was Bob Fagin; and I took the liberty of using his name, long afterwards, in Oliver Twist..
When the warehouse was moved to Chandos Street in the smart, busy district of
Covent Garden Covent Garden is a district in London, on the eastern fringes of the West End West End most commonly refers to: * West End of London, an area of central London, England * West End theatre, a popular term for mainstream professional theatre st ...

Covent Garden
, the boys worked in a room in which the window gave onto the street. Small audiences gathered and watched them at work – in Dickens's biographer
Simon Callow Simon Phillip Hugh Callow (born 15 June 1949) is an English actor, director, and writer. Early years Callow was born in Streatham Streatham ( ) is a district in south London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban area ...

Simon Callow
's estimation, the public display was "a new refinement added to his misery". A few months after his imprisonment, John Dickens's mother, Elizabeth Dickens, died and bequeathed him £450. On the expectation of this legacy, Dickens was released from prison. Under the Insolvent Debtors Act, Dickens arranged for payment of his creditors and he and his family left the Marshalsea, for the home of Mrs Roylance. Charles's mother, Elizabeth Dickens, did not immediately support his removal from the boot-blacking warehouse. This influenced Dickens's view that a father should rule the family and a mother find her proper sphere inside the home: "I never afterwards forgot, I never shall forget, I never can forget, that my mother was warm for my being sent back." His mother's failure to request his return was a factor in his dissatisfied attitude towards women. Righteous indignation stemming from his own situation and the conditions under which
working-class The working class (or labouring class) comprises those engaged in manual-labour occupations or industrial work, who are remunerated via waged or salaried contracts. Working-class occupations (see also "Designation of workers by collar color ...
people lived became major themes of his works, and it was this unhappy period in his youth to which he alluded in his favourite, and most autobiographical, novel, ''
David Copperfield ''The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery (Which He Never Meant to Publish on Any Account)'', commonly known as ''David Copperfield'',Dickens invented over 14 varia ...

David Copperfield
'': "I had no advice, no counsel, no encouragement, no consolation, no assistance, no support, of any kind, from anyone, that I can call to mind, as I hope to go to heaven!" Dickens was eventually sent to the Wellington House Academy in
Camden Town Camden Town (), often shortened to Camden, is a district of northwest London, England, north of Charing Cross. Historically in Middlesex, it is the administrative centre of the London Borough of Camden, and identified in the London Plan#Activ ...

Camden Town
, where he remained until March 1827, having spent about two years there. He did not consider it to be a good school: "Much of the haphazard, desultory teaching, poor discipline punctuated by the headmaster's sadistic brutality, the seedy ushers and general run-down atmosphere, are embodied in Mr Creakle's Establishment in ''David Copperfield''.". Dickens worked at the law office of Ellis and Blackmore, attorneys, of Holborn Court,
Gray's Inn The Honourable Society of Gray's Inn, commonly known as Gray's Inn, is one of the four Inns of Court (professional associations for barristers and judges) in London. To be called to the bar in order to practise as a barrister in England and Wale ...
, as a junior
clerk A clerk ( or ) is a white-collar worker A white-collar worker is a person who performs professional, desk, managerial, or administrative work. White-collar work may be performed in an office or other administrative setting. White-collar worker ...
from May 1827 to November 1828. He was a gifted mimic and impersonated those around him: clients, lawyers and clerks. He went to theatres obsessively: he claimed that for at least three years he went to the theatre every day. His favourite actor was
Charles Mathews Charles Mathews (28 June 1776, London London is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more f ...

Charles Mathews
and Dickens learnt his "monopolylogues" (farces in which Mathews played every character) by heart. Then, having learned
Gurney A stretcher, gurney, litter, or pram is an apparatus Apparatus may refer to: *Technical term for a body of the Soviet and post-Soviet governments (see Apparatchik) *Machine *Equipment *Critical apparatus, the critical and primary source materi ...
's system of shorthand in his spare time, he left to become a freelance reporter. A distant relative, Thomas Charlton, was a freelance reporter at
Doctors' Commons Doctors' Commons, also called the College of Civilians, was a society of lawyers practising civil law (legal system), non-common law (civil law in that sense) in London, namely ecclesiastical and admiralty law. Like the Inns of Court of the common ...
and Dickens was able to share his box there to report the legal proceedings for nearly four years. This education was to inform works such as
Nicholas Nickleby ''Nicholas Nickleby'' or ''The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby'' (or also ''The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Containing a Faithful Account of the Fortunes, Misfortunes, Uprisings, Downfallings, and Complete Career of the ...

Nicholas Nickleby
, ''Dombey and Son'' and especially ''Bleak House'', whose vivid portrayal of the machinations and bureaucracy of the legal system did much to enlighten the general public and served as a vehicle for dissemination of Dickens's own views regarding, particularly, the heavy burden on the poor who were forced by circumstances to "go to law". In 1830, Dickens met his first love, Maria Beadnell, thought to have been the model for the character Dora in ''David Copperfield''. Maria's parents disapproved of the courtship and ended the relationship by sending her to school in Paris.


Career


Journalism and early novels

In 1832, at the age of 20, Dickens was energetic and increasingly self-confident. He enjoyed mimicry and popular entertainment, lacked a clear, specific sense of what he wanted to become, and yet knew he wanted fame. Drawn to the theatre – he became an early member of the
Garrick Club The Garrick Club is a Gentlemen's club (traditional), gentlemen's club in the heart of London founded in 1831. It is one of the oldest members' clubs in the world and since its inception has catered to members such as Charles Kean, Henry Irvin ...

Garrick Club
– he landed an acting audition at Covent Garden, where the manager George Bartley and the actor
Charles Kemble Charles Kemble (25 November 1775 – 12 November 1854) was a Welsh-born English actor of a prominent theatre family. Life Charles Kemble was one of 13 siblings and the youngest son of English Roman Catholic theatre manager/actor Roger Kemble, ...
were to see him. Dickens prepared meticulously and decided to imitate the comedian Charles Mathews, but ultimately he missed the audition because of a cold. Before another opportunity arose, he had set out on his career as a writer. In 1833, Dickens submitted his first story, "A Dinner at Poplar Walk", to the London periodical ''
Monthly Magazine ''The Monthly Magazine'' (1796–1843) of London London is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals ...
''.. William Barrow, Dickens's uncle on his mother's side, offered him a job on ''The Mirror of Parliament'' and he worked in the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorpor ...

House of Commons
for the first time early in 1832. He rented rooms at
Furnival's Inn Furnival's Inn was an Inn of Chancery which formerly stood on the site of the present Holborn Bars building (the former Prudential plc, Prudential Assurance Company building) in Holborn, London, England. History Furnival's Inn was founded abou ...
and worked as a political journalist, reporting on
Parliamentary A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' an ...
debates, and he travelled across Britain to cover election campaigns for the ''
Morning Chronicle ''The Morning Chronicle'' was a newspaper A newspaper is a periodical Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of Serial (publishing), serial published, publications that appear in a ...
''. His journalism, in the form of sketches in periodicals, formed his first collection of pieces, published in 1836: ''
Sketches by Boz ''Sketches by "Boz," Illustrative of Every-day Life and Every-day People'' (commonly known as ''Sketches by Boz'') is a collection of short pieces Charles Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an ...
'' – Boz being a family nickname he employed as a pseudonym for some years.. Dickens apparently adopted it from the nickname 'Moses', which he had given to his youngest brother
Augustus Dickens Augustus Newnham Dickens (10 November 1827 – 4 October 1866) was the youngest brother of English novelist Charles Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He c ...
, after a character in Oliver Goldsmith's ''
The Vicar of Wakefield ''The Vicar of Wakefield'' – subtitled ''A Tale, Supposed to be written by Himself'' – is a novel by Irish writer Oliver Goldsmith Oliver Goldsmith (10 November 1728 – 4 April 1774) was an Anglo-Irish novelist, playwright and poet, who i ...
''. When pronounced by anyone with a head cold, "Moses" became "Boses" – later shortened to ''Boz''. Dickens's own name was considered "queer" by a contemporary critic, who wrote in 1849: "Mr Dickens, as if in revenge for his own queer name, does bestow still queerer ones upon his fictitious creations." Dickens contributed to and edited journals throughout his literary career. In January 1835, the ''Morning Chronicle'' launched an evening edition, under the editorship of the ''Chronicle''s music critic,
George Hogarth George Hogarth Writer to the Signet, WS (6 September 1783 – 12 February 1870) was a Scottish lawyer, newspaper editor, music critic, and musicologist. He authored several books on opera and Victorian musical life in addition to contributing artic ...
. Hogarth invited him to contribute ''Street Sketches'' and Dickens became a regular visitor to his Fulham house – excited by Hogarth's friendship with
Walter Scott Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet (15 August 1771 – 21 September 1832), was a Scottish historical novelist, poet, playwright and historian. Many of his works remain classics of European and Scottish literature Scottish literature is literatu ...

Walter Scott
(whom Dickens greatly admired) and enjoying the company of Hogarth's three daughters: Georgina, Mary and 19-year-old Catherine. Dickens made rapid progress both professionally and socially. He began a friendship with
William Harrison Ainsworth William Harrison Ainsworth (4 February 18053 January 1882) was an English historical novelist born at King Street in Manchester Manchester () is the most-populous city and metropolitan borough A metropolitan borough is a type of local ...

William Harrison Ainsworth
, the author of the highwayman novel '' Rookwood'' (1834), whose bachelor salon in
Harrow Road The Harrow Road is an ancient route in North West London which runs from Paddington Paddington is an List of areas of London, area within the City of Westminster, in central London. First a medieval parish then a Metropolitan Borough of Padd ...
had become the meeting place for a set that included
Daniel Maclise Daniel Maclise (25 January 180625 April 1870) was an Irish History painting, history painter, literary and Portrait painting, portrait painter, and illustrator, who worked for most of his life in London, England. Early life Maclise was bor ...

Daniel Maclise
,
Benjamin Disraeli Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, (21 December 1804 – 19 April 1881), was twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government ...

Benjamin Disraeli
,
Edward Bulwer-Lytton Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, PC (25 May 180318 January 1873) was an English writer and politician. He served as a Whigs (British political party), Whig member of Parliament from 1831 to 1841 and a Conservative P ...
and
George Cruikshank George Cruikshank (27 September 1792 – 1 February 1878) was a British caricaturist A caricaturist is an artist who specializes in drawing caricatures.https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/caricaturist List of caricaturists ...
. All these became his friends and collaborators, with the exception of Disraeli, and he met his first publisher, John Macrone, at the house. The success of ''Sketches by Boz'' led to a proposal from publishers
Chapman and Hall Chapman & Hall is an imprint Imprint or imprinting may refer to: Entertainment * Imprint (TV series), ''Imprint'' (TV series), Canadian television series * Imprint (Masters of Horror), "Imprint" (''Masters of Horror''), episode of TV show ''Mast ...
for Dickens to supply text to match Robert Seymour's engraved illustrations in a monthly
letterpress Letterpress printing is a technique of relief printing. Using a printing press, the process allows many copies to be produced by repeated direct impression of an inked, raised surface against sheets or a continuous roll of paper. A worker comp ...
. Seymour committed suicide after the second instalment and Dickens, who wanted to write a connected series of sketches, hired "
Phiz Hablot Knight Browne (10 July 1815 – 8 July 1882) was an English artist and illustrator. Well-known by his pen name, Phiz, he illustrated books by Charles Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was ...
" to provide the engravings (which were reduced from four to two per instalment) for the story. The resulting story became ''
The Pickwick Papers ''The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club'' (also known as ''The Pickwick Papers'') was Charles Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some o ...
'' and, although the first few episodes were not successful, the introduction of the Cockney character Sam Weller in the fourth episode (the first to be illustrated by Phiz) marked a sharp climb in its popularity. The final instalment sold 40,000 copies. On the impact of the character, ''
The Paris Review ''The Paris Review'' is a quarterly English-language literary magazine A literary magazine is a periodical Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of Serial (publishing), serial publ ...
'' stated, "arguably the most historic bump in English publishing is the Sam Weller Bump." A publishing phenomenon, John Sutherland called ''The Pickwick Papers'' " e most important single novel of the Victorian era". The unprecedented success led to numerous spin-offs and merchandise ranging from ''Pickwick'' cigars, playing cards, china figurines, Sam Weller puzzles, Weller boot polish and joke books. On the creation of modern mass culture, Nicholas Dames in ''
The Atlantic ''The Atlantic'' is an American magazine and multi-platform publisher. It was founded in 1857 in Boston, as ''The Atlantic Monthly'', a literary and cultural magazine that published leading writers' commentary on education, the abolition of sl ...

The Atlantic
'' writes, “Literature” is not a big enough category for ''Pickwick''. It defined its own, a new one that we have learned to call “entertainment.” In November 1836, Dickens accepted the position of editor of ''
Bentley's Miscellany ''Bentley's Miscellany'' was an English literary magazine A literary magazine is a periodical Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of Serial (publishing), serial published, publi ...
'', a position he held for three years, until he fell out with the owner. In 1836, as he finished the last instalments of ''The Pickwick Papers'', he began writing the beginning instalments of ''
Oliver Twist ''Oliver Twist; or, the Parish Boy's Progress'', Charles Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional charact ...
'' – writing as many as 90 pages a month – while continuing work on ''Bentley's'' and also writing four plays, the production of which he oversaw. ''Oliver Twist'', published in 1838, became one of Dickens's better known stories and was the first Victorian novel with a child
protagonist 200px, Shakespeare's ''Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.'' William Morris Hunt, oil on canvas, c. 1864 A protagonist (from grc, πρωταγωνιστής, translit=prōtagōnistḗs, lit=one who plays the first part, chief actor) is the main character ...
.. On 2 April 1836, after a one-year engagement, and between episodes two and three of ''The Pickwick Papers'', Dickens married (1815–1879), the daughter of George Hogarth, editor of the ''
Evening Chronicle The ''Evening Chronicle'', now referred to in print as ''The Chronicle'', is a daily newspaper produced in Newcastle upon Tyne, covering Tyne and Wear, southern Northumberland and northern County Durham. The ''Evening Chronicle'' is published by nc ...
''. They were married in St Luke's Church,
Chelsea Chelsea or Chelsey may refer to: Places Australia * Chelsea, Victoria Canada * Chelsea, Nova Scotia * Chelsea, Quebec United Kingdom * Chelsea, London, an affluent area of South West London, bounded to the south by the River Thames ** Chelsea ...
, London. After a brief honeymoon in
Chalk Chalk is a soft, white, porous Porosity or void fraction is a measure of the (i.e. "empty") spaces in a , and is a of voids over the total volume, between 0 and 1, or as a between 0% and 100%. Strictly speaking, some tests measure the "acce ...
in Kent, the couple returned to lodgings at
Furnival's Inn Furnival's Inn was an Inn of Chancery which formerly stood on the site of the present Holborn Bars building (the former Prudential plc, Prudential Assurance Company building) in Holborn, London, England. History Furnival's Inn was founded abou ...
. The first of their ten children, Charles, was born in January 1837 and a few months later the family set up home in Bloomsbury at 48 Doughty Street, London (on which Charles had a three-year lease at £80 a year) from 25 March 1837 until December 1839. Dickens's younger brother
FrederickFrederick may refer to: People * Frederick (given name), the name Nobility Anhalt-Harzgerode *Frederick, Prince of Anhalt-Harzgerode (1613–1670) Austria * Frederick I, Duke of Austria (Babenberg), Duke of Austria from 1195 to 1198 * Frederick ...
and Catherine's 17-year-old sister
Mary Hogarth Mary Scott Hogarth (26 October 1819 – 7 May 1837) was the sister of Catherine Dickens ( Hogarth) and the sister-in-law of Charles Dickens. Hogarth first met Charles Dickens at age 14, and after Dickens married Hogarth's sister Catherine, Mar ...
moved in with them. Dickens became very attached to Mary, and she died in his arms after a brief illness in 1837. Unusually for Dickens, as a consequence of his shock, he stopped working, and he and Catherine stayed at a little farm on
Hampstead Heath Hampstead Heath (locally known simply as the Heath) is a large, ancient London heath A heath () is a shrubland Shrubland, scrubland, scrub, brush, or bush is a plant community characterized by vegetation dominance (ecology), dominated by ...

Hampstead Heath
for a fortnight. Dickens idealised Mary; the character he fashioned after her,
Rose Maylie Rose Fleming Maylie is a fictional character in Charles Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters a ...
, he found he could not now kill, as he had planned, in his fiction, and, according to Ackroyd, he drew on memories of her for his later descriptions of Little Nell and Florence Dombey. His grief was so great that he was unable to meet the deadline for the June instalment of ''The Pickwick Papers'' and had to cancel the ''Oliver Twist'' instalment that month as well. The time in Hampstead was the occasion for a growing bond between Dickens and John Forster to develop; Forster soon became his unofficial business manager and the first to read his work. His success as a novelist continued. The young
Queen Victoria Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of En ...

Queen Victoria
read both ''Oliver Twist'' and ''The Pickwick Papers'', staying up until midnight to discuss them. ''
Nicholas Nickleby ''Nicholas Nickleby'' or ''The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby'' (or also ''The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Containing a Faithful Account of the Fortunes, Misfortunes, Uprisings, Downfallings, and Complete Career of the ...

Nicholas Nickleby
'' (1838–39), ''
The Old Curiosity Shop ''The Old Curiosity Shop'' is one of two novels (the other being ''Barnaby Rudge ''Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of Eighty'' (commonly known as ''Barnaby Rudge'') is a historical novel by British novelist Charles Dickens Charles ...
'' (1840–41) and, finally, his first historical novel, '' Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of 'Eighty'', as part of the ''
Master Humphrey's Clock Master or masters may refer to: Ranks or titles *Ascended master, a term used in the Theosophical religious tradition to refer to spiritually enlightened beings who in past incarnations were ordinary humans *Grandmaster (chess), National Master, ...
'' series (1840–41), were all published in monthly instalments before being made into books. In the midst of all his activity during this period, there was discontent with his publishers and John Macrone was bought off, while
Richard Bentley Richard Bentley Fellow of the Royal Society, FRS (; 27 January 1662 – 14 July 1742) was an English Classics, classical scholar, critic, and theologian. Considered the "founder of historical philology", Bentley is widely credited with estab ...
signed over all his rights in ''Oliver Twist''. Other signs of a certain restlessness and discontent emerged; in
Broadstairs Broadstairs is a coastal town on the Isle of Thanet in the Thanet District, Thanet district of east Kent, England, about east of London. It is part of the civil parishes in England, civil parish of Broadstairs and St Peter's, which includes St ...

Broadstairs
he flirted with Eleanor Picken, the young fiancée of his solicitor's best friend and one night grabbed her and ran with her down to the sea. He declared they were both to drown there in the "sad sea waves". She finally got free, and afterwards kept her distance. In June 1841, he precipitously set out on a two-month tour of Scotland and then, in September 1841, telegraphed Forster that he had decided to go to America. ''Master Humphrey's Clock'' was shut down, though Dickens was still keen on the idea of the weekly magazine, a form he liked, an appreciation that had begun with his childhood reading of the 18th-century magazines ''
Tatler ''Tatler'' is a British magazine A magazine is a periodical publication Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of serial Serial may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Th ...
'' and ''
The Spectator ''The Spectator'' is a weekly British magazine on politics, culture, and current affairs. It was first published in July 1828, making it the oldest weekly magazine in the world. It is owned by Frederick Barclay, who also owns ''The Daily T ...
''. Dickens was perturbed by the return to power of the Tories, whom he described as "people whom, politically, I despise and abhor." He had been tempted to stand for the
Liberals Liberal or liberalism may refer to: Politics *a supporter of liberalism, a political and moral philosophy **Liberalism by country *an adherent of a Liberal Party Arts, entertainment and media *''El Liberal'', a Spanish newspaper published betw ...
in Reading, but decided against it due to financial straits. He wrote three anti-Tory verse satires ("The Fine Old English Gentleman", "The Quack Doctor's Proclamation", and "Subjects for Painters") which were published in '' The Examiner''.


First visit to the United States

On 22 January 1842, Dickens and his wife arrived in
Boston Boston (, ), officially the City of Boston, is the capital city, capital and List of municipalities in Massachusetts, most populous city of the Commonwealth (U.S. state), Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States and 21st List of Unit ...

Boston
,
Massachusetts Massachusetts (, ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * ...

Massachusetts
aboard the RMS ''Britannia'' during their first trip to the United States and Canada. At this time
Georgina Hogarth Georgina Hogarth (22 January 1827 – 19 April 1917) was the sister-in-law, housekeeper, and adviser of English novelist Charles Dickens and the editor of three volumes of Letters of Charles Dickens, his collected letters after his death. Biograp ...
, another sister of Catherine, joined the Dickens household, now living at Devonshire Terrace,
Marylebone Marylebone (usually , also , , , ) is a district in the West End of London The West End of London (commonly referred to as the West End) is a district of Central London Central London is the innermost part of London London is th ...
to care for the young family they had left behind. She remained with them as housekeeper, organiser, adviser and friend until Dickens's death in 1870. Dickens modelled the character of
Agnes Wickfield Agnes Wickfield is a character of ''David Copperfield ''The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery (Which He Never Meant to Publish on Any Account)'', commonly known ...
after Georgina and Mary. He described his impressions in a travelogue, '' American Notes for General Circulation''. In ''Notes'', Dickens includes a powerful condemnation of slavery which he had attacked as early as ''The Pickwick Papers'', correlating the emancipation of the poor in England with the abolition of slavery abroad citing newspaper accounts of runaway slaves disfigured by their masters. In spite of the abolitionist sentiments gleaned from his trip to America, some modern commentators have pointed out inconsistencies in Dickens's views on racial inequality. For instance, he has been criticized for his subsequent acquiescence in Governor harsh crackdown during the 1860s
Morant Bay rebellion The Morant Bay rebellion (11 October 1865) began with a protest march to the courthouse by hundreds of people led by preacher Paul Bogle File:PaulBogle-MorantBay.jpg, up"Artistic Impression of Paul Bogle" in Morant Bay, Jamaica Paul Bogle (18 ...
in Jamaica and his failure to join other British progressives in condemning it. From
Richmond, Virginia (Thus do we reach the stars) , image_map = , mapsize = 250 px , map_caption = Location within Virginia , pushpin_map = Virginia#USA , pushpin_label ...
, Dickens returned to Washington, D.C., and started a trek westward to St Louis, Missouri. While there, he expressed a desire to see an American prairie before returning east. A group of 13 men then set out with Dickens to visit Looking Glass Prairie, a trip 30 miles into
Illinois Illinois ( ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspape ...

Illinois
. During his American visit, Dickens spent a month in New York City, giving lectures, raising the question of international copyright laws and the pirating of his work in America. He persuaded a group of 25 writers, headed by
Washington Irving Washington Irving (April 3, 1783 – November 28, 1859) was an American short-story writer, essayist, biographer, historian, and diplomat of the early 19th century. He is best known for his short stories " Rip Van Winkle" (1819) and " The Lege ...

Washington Irving
, to sign a petition for him to take to Congress, but the press were generally hostile to this, saying that he should be grateful for his popularity and that it was mercenary to complain about his work being pirated. The popularity he gained caused a shift in his self-perception according to critic Kate Flint, who writes that he "found himself a cultural commodity, and its circulation had passed out his control", causing him to become interested in and delve into themes of public and personal personas in the next novels.. She writes that he assumed a role of "influential commentator", publicly and in his fiction, evident in his next few books. His trip to the U.S. ended with a trip to Canada – Niagara Falls, Toronto, Kingston and Montreal – where he appeared on stage in light comedies. Soon after his return to England, Dickens began work on the first of his Christmas stories, ''
A Christmas Carol ''A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas'', commonly known as ''A Christmas Carol'', is a novella A novella is a narrative prose fiction whose length is shorter than that of most novel A novel is a relatively l ...

A Christmas Carol
'', written in 1843, which was followed by ''
The Chimes ''The Chimes: A Goblin Story of Some Bells that Rang an Old Year Out and a New Year In'', commonly referred to as ''The Chimes'', is a novella written by Charles Dickens and first published in 1844, one year after ''A Christmas Carol''. It is th ...
'' in 1844 and ''
The Cricket on the Hearth ''The Cricket on the Hearth: A Fairy Tale of Home'' is a novella by Charles Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fi ...
'' in 1845. Of these, ''A Christmas Carol'' was most popular and, tapping into an old tradition, did much to promote a renewed enthusiasm for the joys of Christmas in Britain and America. The seeds for the story became planted in Dickens's mind during a trip to Manchester to witness the conditions of the manufacturing workers there. This, along with scenes he had recently witnessed at the Field Lane
Ragged School Ragged schools were charitable organisations dedicated to the free education of destitute children in 19th century Britain. The schools were developed in working-class districts. Ragged schools were intended for society's most destitute children. ...
, caused Dickens to resolve to "strike a sledge hammer blow" for the poor. As the idea for the story took shape and the writing began in earnest, Dickens became engrossed in the book. He later wrote that as the tale unfolded he "wept and laughed, and wept again" as he "walked about the black streets of London fifteen or twenty miles many a night when all sober folks had gone to bed". After living briefly in Italy (1844), Dickens travelled to Switzerland (1846), where he began work on ''
Dombey and Son ''Dombey and Son'' is a novel by English author Charles Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characte ...
'' (1846–48). This and ''
David Copperfield ''The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery (Which He Never Meant to Publish on Any Account)'', commonly known as ''David Copperfield'',Dickens invented over 14 varia ...

David Copperfield
'' (1849–50) mark a significant artistic break in Dickens's career as his novels became more serious in theme and more carefully planned than his early works. At about this time, he was made aware of a large embezzlement at the firm where his brother,
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles through ...
, worked (John Chapman & Co). It had been carried out by Thomas Powell, a clerk, who was on friendly terms with Dickens and who had acted as mentor to Augustus when he started work. Powell was also an author and poet and knew many of the famous writers of the day. After further fraudulent activities, Powell fled to New York and published a book called ''The Living Authors of England'' with a chapter on Charles Dickens, who was not amused by what Powell had written. One item that seemed to have annoyed him was the assertion that he had based the character of Paul Dombey (''
Dombey and Son ''Dombey and Son'' is a novel by English author Charles Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characte ...
'') on Thomas Chapman, one of the principal partners at John Chapman & Co. Dickens immediately sent a letter to Lewis Gaylord Clark, editor of the New York literary magazine ''
The Knickerbocker ''The Knickerbocker'', or ''New-York Monthly Magazine'', was a literary magazine A literary magazine is a periodical Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of Serial (publishing), ...
'', saying that Powell was a forger and thief. Clark published the letter in the ''
New-York Tribune The ''New-York Tribune'' was an American newspaper founded in 1841 by editor Horace Greeley Horace Greeley (February 3, 1811 – November 29, 1872) was an American newspaper editor and publisher who was the founder and newspaper editor, ...
'' and several other papers picked up on the story. Powell began proceedings to sue these publications and Clark was arrested. Dickens, realising that he had acted in haste, contacted John Chapman & Co to seek written confirmation of Powell's guilt. Dickens did receive a reply confirming Powell's embezzlement, but once the directors realised this information might have to be produced in court, they refused to make further disclosures. Owing to the difficulties of providing evidence in America to support his accusations, Dickens eventually made a private settlement with Powell out of court.


Philanthropy

Angela Burdett Coutts, heir to the Coutts banking fortune, approached Dickens in May 1846 about setting up a home for the redemption of fallen women of the working class. Coutts envisioned a home that would replace the punitive regimes of existing institutions with a reformative environment conducive to education and proficiency in domestic household chores. After initially resisting, Dickens eventually founded the home, named , in the Lime Grove area of
Shepherd's Bush Shepherd's Bush is a district of West London West London is the western part of London, England. The area lies north of the River Thames and extends from its historic and commercial core of Westminster and the West End of London, West End t ...
, which he managed for ten years, setting the house rules, reviewing the accounts and interviewing prospective residents. Emigration and marriage were central to Dickens's agenda for the women on leaving Urania Cottage, from which it is estimated that about 100 women graduated between 1847 and 1859.


Religious views

As a young man, Dickens expressed a distaste for certain aspects of organised religion. In 1836, in a pamphlet titled ''Sunday Under Three Heads'', he defended the people's right to pleasure, opposing a plan to prohibit games on Sundays. "Look into your churches – diminished congregations and scanty attendance. People have grown sullen and obstinate, and are becoming disgusted with the faith which condemns them to such a day as this, once in every seven. They display their feeling by staying away rom church Turn into the streets n a Sundayand mark the rigid gloom that reigns over everything around." Dickens honoured the figure of Jesus, Jesus Christ. He is regarded as a professing Christian. His son, Henry Fielding Dickens, described him as someone who "possessed deep religious convictions". In the early 1840s, he had shown an interest in Unitarianism, Unitarian Christianity and Robert Browning remarked that "Mr Dickens is an enlightened Unitarian." Professor Gary Colledge has written that he "never strayed from his attachment to popular lay Anglicanism". Dickens authored a work called ''The Life of Our Lord'' (1846), a book about the life of Christ, written with the purpose of sharing his faith with his children and family. Dickens disapproved of Roman Catholicism and 19th-century evangelicalism, seeing both as extremes of Christianity and likely to limit personal expression, and was critical of what he saw as the hypocrisy of religious institutions and philosophies like spiritualism, all of which he considered deviations from the true spirit of Christianity, as shown in the book he wrote for his family in 1846. While Dickens advocated equal rights for Catholics in England, he strongly disliked how individual civil liberties were often threatened in countries where Catholicism predominated and referred to the Catholic Church as "that curse upon the world." Dickens also rejected the Evangelical conviction that the Bible was the infallible word of God. His ideas on Biblical interpretation were similar to the Liberal Anglican Arthur Penrhyn Stanley's doctrine of "Progressive revelation (Christianity), progressive revelation." Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoyevsky referred to Dickens as "that great Christian writer".


Middle years

In December 1845, Dickens took up the editorship of the London-based ''The Daily News (UK), Daily News'', a liberalism, liberal paper through which Dickens hoped to advocate, in his own words, "the Principles of Progress and Improvement, of Education and Civil and Religious Liberty and Equal Legislation." Among the other contributors Dickens chose to write for the paper were the radical economist Thomas Hodgskin and the social reformer Douglas William Jerrold, who frequently attacked the Corn Laws. Dickens lasted only ten weeks on the job before resigning due to a combination of exhaustion and frustration with one of the paper's co-owners. The Francophile Dickens often holidayed in France and, in a speech delivered in Paris in 1846 in French, called the French "the first people in the universe".Soubigou, Gilles "Dickens's Illustrations: France and other countries" pp. 154–167 from ''The Reception of Charles Dickens in Europe'' edited by Michael Hollington London: A&C Black 2013 p. 159. During his visit to Paris, Dickens met the French literati Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo, Eugène Scribe, Théophile Gautier, François-René de Chateaubriand and Eugène Sue. In early 1849, Dickens started to write ''
David Copperfield ''The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery (Which He Never Meant to Publish on Any Account)'', commonly known as ''David Copperfield'',Dickens invented over 14 varia ...

David Copperfield
''. It was published between 1849 and 1850. In Dickens's biography, ''Life of Charles Dickens'' (1872), John Forster wrote of ''David Copperfield'', "underneath the fiction lay something of the author's life". It was Dickens's personal favourite among his own novels, as he wrote in the author's preface to the 1867 edition of the novel. In late November 1851, Dickens moved into Tavistock House where he wrote ''Bleak House'' (1852–53), ''Hard Times (novel), Hard Times'' (1854) and ''
Little Dorrit ''Little Dorrit'' is a novel A novel is a relatively long work of narrative fiction, typically written in prose and published as a book. The present English word for a long work of prose fiction derives from the for "new", "news", or "sho ...
'' (1856). It was here that he indulged in the amateur theatricals described in Forster's ''Life of Charles Dickens''. During this period, he worked closely with the novelist and playwright Wilkie Collins. In 1856, his income from writing allowed him to buy Gads Hill Place in Higham, Kent. As a child, Dickens had walked past the house and dreamed of living in it. The area was also the scene of some of the events of William Shakespeare, Shakespeare's ''Henry IV, Part 1'' and this literary connection pleased him. During this time Dickens was also the publisher, editor and a major contributor to the journals ''Household Words'' (1850–1859) and ''All the Year Round'' (1858–1870). In 1855, when Dickens's good friend and Liberal MP Austen Henry Layard formed an Administrative Reform Association to demand significant reforms of Parliament, Dickens joined and volunteered his resources in support of Layard's cause. With the exception of Lord John Russell, who was the only leading politician in whom Dickens had any faith and to whom he later dedicated ''A Tale of Two Cities'', Dickens believed that the political aristocracy and their incompetence were the death of England. When he and Layard were accused of fomenting class conflict, Dickens replied that the classes were already in opposition and the fault was with the aristocratic class. Dickens used his pulpit in ''Household Words'' to champion the Reform Association. He also commented on foreign affairs, declaring his support for Giuseppe Garibaldi and Giuseppe Mazzini, helping raise funds for their campaigns and stating that "a united Italy would be of vast importance to the peace of the world, and would be a rock in Louis Napoleon's way," and that "I feel for Italy almost as if I were an Italian born." Following the Indian Rebellion of 1857, Indian Mutiny of 1857, Dickens joined in the widespread criticism of the East India Company for its role in the event, but reserved his fury for the rebels themselves, wishing that he was the commander-in-chief in India so that he would be able to, "do my utmost to exterminate the Race upon whom the stain of the late cruelties rested." In 1857, Dickens hired professional actresses for the play ''The Frozen Deep'', written by him and his Mentorship, protégé, Wilkie Collins. Dickens fell in love with one of the actresses, Ellen Ternan, and this passion was to last the rest of his life. Dickens was 45 and Ternan 18 when he made the decision, which went strongly against Victorian convention, to separate from his wife, Catherine, in 1858; divorce was still unthinkable for someone as famous as he was. When Catherine left, never to see her husband again, she took with her one child, leaving the other children to be raised by her sister Georgina who chose to stay at Gads Hill.. During this period, whilst pondering a project to give public readings for his own profit, Dickens was approached through a charitable appeal by Great Ormond Street Hospital to help it survive its first major financial crisis. His "Drooping Buds" essay in ''Household Words'' earlier on 3 April 1852 was considered by the hospital's founders to have been the catalyst for the hospital's success. Dickens, whose philanthropy was well-known, was asked by his friend, the hospital's founder Charles West (physician), Charles West, to preside over the appeal, and he threw himself into the task, heart and soul. Dickens's public readings secured sufficient funds for an endowment to put the hospital on a sound financial footing; one reading on 9 February 1858 alone raised £3,000. After separating from Catherine, Dickens undertook a series of hugely popular and remunerative reading tours which, together with his journalism, were to absorb most of his creative energies for the next decade, in which he was to write only two more novels. His first reading tour, lasting from April 1858 to February 1859, consisted of 129 appearances in 49 towns throughout England, Scotland and Ireland. Dickens's continued fascination with the theatrical world was written into the theatre scenes in ''Nicholas Nickleby'', but more importantly he found an outlet in public readings. In 1866, he undertook a series of public readings in England and Scotland, with more the following year in England and Ireland. Other works soon followed, including ''
A Tale of Two Cities ''A Tale of Two Cities'' is an 1859 historical novel Historical fiction is a literary genre in which the plot takes place in a setting located in the past. Although the term is commonly used as a synonym for the historical novel, it can als ...
'' (1859) and ''
Great Expectations ''Great Expectations'' is the thirteenth novel by Charles Dickens and his penultimate completed novel. It depicts the education of an orphan nicknamed Pip (Great Expectations), Pip (the book is a ''bildungsroman'', a coming-of-age story). It i ...

Great Expectations
'' (1861), which were resounding successes. Set in London and Paris, ''A Tale of Two Cities'' is his best-known work of historical fiction and includes the famous opening sentence which begins with "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." It is regularly cited as one of the best-selling novels of all time. Themes in ''Great Expectations'' include wealth and poverty, love and rejection, and the eventual triumph of good over evil. In early September 1860, in a field behind Gads Hill, Dickens made a bonfire of most of his correspondence; only those letters on business matters were spared. Since Ellen Ternan also destroyed all of his letters to her, the extent of the affair between the two remains speculative. In the 1930s, Thomas Wright recounted that Ternan had unburdened herself to a Canon Benham and gave currency to rumours they had been lovers. That the two had a son who died in infancy was alleged by Dickens's daughter, Kate Perugini, whom Gladys Storey had interviewed before her death in 1929. Storey published her account in ''Dickens and Daughter'', but no contemporary evidence exists. On his death, Dickens settled an Life annuity, annuity on Ternan which made her financially independent. Claire Tomalin's book, ''The Invisible Woman'', argues that Ternan lived with Dickens secretly for the last 13 years of his life. The book was subsequently turned into a play, ''Little Nell'', by Simon Gray, and The Invisible Woman (2013 film), a 2013 film. In the same period, Dickens furthered his interest in the paranormal, becoming one of the early members of The Ghost Club. In June 1862, he was offered £10,000 for a reading tour of Australia. He was enthusiastic, and even planned a travel book, ''The Uncommercial Traveller Upside Down'', but ultimately decided against the tour. Two of his sons, Alfred D'Orsay Tennyson Dickens and Edward Dickens, Edward Bulwer Lytton Dickens, migrated to Australia, Edward becoming a member of the Parliament of New South Wales as Electoral district of Wilcannia, Member for Wilcannia between 1889 and 1894.


Later life

On 9 June 1865, while returning from Paris with Ellen Ternan, Dickens was involved in the Staplehurst rail crash in Kent. The train's first seven carriages plunged off a cast iron bridge that was under repair. The only first class travel, first-class carriage to remain on the track was the one in which Dickens was travelling. Before rescuers arrived, Dickens tended and comforted the wounded and the dying with a flask of brandy and a hat refreshed with water, and saved some lives. Before leaving, he remembered the unfinished manuscript for ''Our Mutual Friend'', and he returned to his carriage to retrieve it. Dickens later used the experience of the crash as material for his short ghost story, "The Signal-Man", in which the central character has a premonition of his own death in a rail crash. He also based the story on several previous Lists of rail accidents, rail accidents, such as the Clayton Tunnel rail crash in Sussex of 1861. Dickens managed to avoid an appearance at the inquest to avoid disclosing that he had been travelling with Ternan and her mother, which would have caused a scandal. After the crash, Dickens was nervous when travelling by train and would use alternative means when available. In 1868 he wrote, "I have sudden vague rushes of terror, even when riding in a hansom cab, which are perfectly unreasonable but quite insurmountable." Dickens's son, Henry, recalled, "I have seen him sometimes in a railway carriage when there was a slight jolt. When this happened he was almost in a state of panic and gripped the seat with both hands."


Second visit to the United States

While he contemplated a second visit to the United States, the outbreak of the American Civil War, Civil War in America in 1861 delayed his plans. On 9 November 1867, over two years after the war, Dickens set sail from Liverpool for his second American reading tour. Landing in
Boston Boston (, ), officially the City of Boston, is the capital city, capital and List of municipalities in Massachusetts, most populous city of the Commonwealth (U.S. state), Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States and 21st List of Unit ...

Boston
, he devoted the rest of the month to a round of dinners with such notables as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his American publisher, James T. Fields. In early December, the readings began. He performed 76 readings, netting £19,000, from December 1867 to April 1868.. Dickens shuttled between Boston and New York, where he gave 22 readings at Steinway Hall. Although he had started to suffer from what he called the "true American catarrh", he kept to a schedule that would have challenged a much younger man, even managing to squeeze in some sleighing in Central Park. During his travels, he saw a change in the people and the circumstances of America. His final appearance was at a banquet the American Press held in his honour at Delmonico's Restaurant, Delmonico's on 18 April, when he promised never to denounce America again. By the end of the tour Dickens could hardly manage solid food, subsisting on champagne and eggs beaten in sherry. On 23 April he boarded the Cunard liner to return to Britain, barely escaping a tax lien, federal tax lien against the proceeds of his lecture tour.


Farewell readings

Between 1868 and 1869, Dickens gave a series of "farewell readings" in England, Scotland and Ireland, beginning on 6 October. He managed, of a contracted 100 readings, to deliver 75 in the provinces, with a further 12 in London. As he pressed on he was affected by giddiness and fits of paralysis. He suffered a stroke on 18 April 1869 in Chester. He collapsed on 22 April 1869, at Preston, Lancashire, Preston in Lancashire and, on doctor's advice, the tour was cancelled. After further provincial readings were cancelled, he began work on his final novel, ''The Mystery of Edwin Drood''. It was fashionable in the 1860s to 'do the slums' and, in company, Dickens visited opium dens in Shadwell, where he witnessed an elderly addict known as "Lascar, Laskar Sal", who formed the model for the "Opium Sal" subsequently featured in ''Edwin Drood''. After Dickens had regained sufficient strength, he arranged, with medical approval, for a final series of readings to partially make up to his sponsors what they had lost due to his illness. There were 12 performances, running between 11 January and 15 March 1870, the last at 8:00 pm at St. James's Hall in London. Although in grave health by this time, he read ''A Christmas Carol'' and ''The Trial from Pickwick''. On 2 May, he made his last public appearance at a Royal Academy Banquet in the presence of the Edward VII of the United Kingdom, Prince and Alexandra of Denmark, Princess of Wales, paying a special tribute on the death of his friend, the illustrator Daniel Maclise.


Death

On 8 June 1870, Dickens suffered another stroke at his home after a full day's work on ''Edwin Drood''. He never regained consciousness and, the next day, he died at Gads Hill Place. Biographer Claire Tomalin has suggested Dickens was actually in Peckham when he suffered the stroke and his mistress Ellen Ternan and her maids had him taken back to Gads Hill so that the public would not know the truth about their relationship. Contrary to his wish to be buried at Rochester Cathedral "in an inexpensive, unostentatious, and strictly private manner", he was laid to rest in the Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey. A printed epitaph circulated at the time of the funeral reads: His last words were "On the ground", in response to his sister-in-law Georgina's request that he lie down. On Sunday, 19 June 1870, five days after Dickens was buried in the Abbey, Dean Arthur Penrhyn Stanley delivered a memorial elegy, lauding "the genial and loving humorist whom we now mourn", for showing by his own example "that even in dealing with the darkest scenes and the most degraded characters, genius could still be clean, and mirth could be innocent". Pointing to the fresh flowers that adorned the novelist's grave, Stanley assured those present that "the spot would thenceforth be a sacred one with both the New World and the Old, as that of the representative of literature, not of this island only, but of all who speak our English tongue." In his will, drafted more than a year before his death, Dickens left the care of his £80,000 estate (£ in ) to his long-time colleague John Forster and his "best and truest friend" Georgina Hogarth who, along with Dickens's two sons, also received a tax-free sum of £8,000 (equivalent to £ in ). Although Dickens and his wife had been separated for several years at the time of his death, he provided her with an annual income of £600 (£ in ) and made her similar allowances in his will. He also bequeathed £19 19s (£ in ) to each servant in his employment at the time of his death.


Literary style

Dickens's approach to the novel is influenced by various things, including the picaresque novel tradition, melodrama and the novel of sensibility. According to Ackroyd, other than these, perhaps the most important literary influence on him was derived from the fables of ''
The Arabian Nights ''One Thousand and One Nights'' ( ar, أَلْفُ لَيْلَةٍ وَلَيْلَةٌ, ) is a collection of Middle Eastern folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age. It is often known in English as the ''Arabian Nights'', ...

The Arabian Nights
''. Satire and irony are central to the picaresque novel. Comedy is also an aspect of the British picaresque novel tradition of Laurence Sterne,
Henry Fielding Henry Fielding (22 April 1707 – 8 October 1754) was an English novelist, ironist and dramatist known for earthy humour and satire. His comic novel '' Tom Jones'' is still widely appreciated. He and Samuel Richardson Samuel Richardson (bapt ...

Henry Fielding
and
Tobias Smollett Tobias George Smollett (baptised 19 March 1721 – 17 September 1771) was a Scottish poet and author. He was best known for picaresque novels such as ''The Adventures of Roderick Random ''The Adventures of Roderick Random'' is a picaresque ...

Tobias Smollett
. Fielding's ''The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, Tom Jones'' was a major influence on the 19th-century novelist including Dickens, who read it in his youth and named a son Henry Fielding Dickens after him. Influenced by Gothic fiction—a literary genre that began with ''The Castle of Otranto'' (1764) by Horace Walpole—Dickens incorporated Gothic imagery, settings and plot devices in his works. Victorian gothic moved from castles and abbeys into contemporary urban environments: in particular London, such as Dickens' ''Oliver Twist'' and ''Bleak House''. In ''Great Expectations'' Miss Havisham's bridal gown effectively doubles as her funeral shroud. No other writer had such a profound influence on Dickens as William Shakespeare. On Dickens's veneration of Shakespeare, Alfred Harbage wrote "No one is better qualified to recognise literary genius than a literary genius"— ''A Kind of Power: The Shakespeare-Dickens Analogy'' (1975). Regarding Shakespeare as "the great master" whose Shakespeare's plays, plays "were an unspeakable source of delight", Dickens's lifelong affinity with the playwright included seeing theatrical productions of his plays in London and putting on amateur dramatics with friends in his early years. In 1838 Dickens travelled to Stratford-upon-Avon and visited the house in which Shakespeare was born, leaving his autograph in the visitors' book. Dickens would draw on this experience in his next work, ''Nicholas Nickleby'' (1838–39), expressing the strength of feeling experienced by visitors to Shakespeare's birthplace: the character Nicholas Nickleby#Around London, Mrs Wititterly states, "I don't know how it is, but after you've seen the place and written your name in the little book, somehow or other you seem to be inspired; it kindles up quite a fire within one." Dickens's writing style is marked by a profuse linguistic creativity.. Satire, flourishing in his gift for caricature, is his forte. An early reviewer compared him to William Hogarth, Hogarth for his keen practical sense of the ludicrous side of life, though his acclaimed mastery of varieties of class idiom may in fact mirror the conventions of contemporary popular theatre. Dickens worked intensively on developing arresting names for his characters that would reverberate with associations for his readers and assist the development of motifs in the storyline, giving what one critic calls an "allegorical impetus" to the novels' meanings. To cite one of numerous examples, the name Mr Murdstone in ''David Copperfield'' conjures up twin allusions to murder and stony coldness. His literary style is also a mixture of fantasy and realism (arts), realism. His satires of British aristocratic snobbery – he calls one character the "Noble Refrigerator" – are often popular. Comparing orphans to stocks and shares, people to tug boats or dinner-party guests to furniture are just some of Dickens's acclaimed flights of fancy. The author worked closely with his illustrators, supplying them with a summary of the work at the outset and thus ensuring that his characters and settings were exactly how he envisioned them. He briefed the illustrator on plans for each month's instalment so that work could begin before he wrote them. Marcus Stone, illustrator of ''Our Mutual Friend'', recalled that the author was always "ready to describe down to the minutest details the personal characteristics, and ... life-history of the creations of his fancy". Dickens employs Cockney English in many of his works, denoting working-class Londoners. Cockney grammar appears in terms such as ain't, and consonants in words are frequently omitted, as in 'ere (here) and wot (what). An example of this usage is in ''Oliver Twist''. The Artful Dodger uses cockney slang which is juxtaposed with Oliver's 'proper' English, when the Dodger repeats Oliver saying "seven" with "sivin".


Characters

Dickens's biographer Claire Tomalin regards him as the greatest creator of character in English fiction after Shakespeare. Dickensian List of Dickensian characters, characters are amongst the most memorable in English literature, especially so because of their typically whimsical names. The likes of Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim (A Christmas Carol), Tiny Tim, Jacob Marley and Bob Cratchit (''A Christmas Carol''); Oliver Twist (character), Oliver Twist, Artful Dodger, The Artful Dodger, Fagin and Bill Sikes (''Oliver Twist''); Great Expectations, Pip, Miss Havisham and Abel Magwitch (''Great Expectations''); Sydney Carton, Charles Darnay and Madame Defarge (''A Tale of Two Cities''); David Copperfield (character), David Copperfield, Uriah Heep and Wilkins Micawber, Mr Micawber (''David Copperfield''); Quilp, Daniel Quilp and Nell Trent (''The Old Curiosity Shop''), Samuel Pickwick and Sam Weller (''The Pickwick Papers''); and Wackford Squeers (''Nicholas Nickleby'') are so well known as to be part and parcel of popular culture, and in some cases have passed into ordinary language: a ''scrooge'', for example, is a miser or someone who dislikes Christmas festivity. His characters were often so memorable that they took on a life of their own outside his books. "Gamp" became a slang expression for an umbrella from the character Sarah Gamp, Mrs Gamp, and "Pickwickian", "Pecksniffian" and "Gradgrind" all entered dictionaries due to Dickens's original portraits of such characters who were, respectively, Quixotism, quixotic, hypocritical and vapidly factual. The character that made Dickens famous, Sam Weller became known for his Wellerisms—one-liners that turned proverbs on their heads. Many were drawn from real life: Mrs Nickleby is based on his mother, although she didn't recognise herself in the portrait, just as Mr Micawber is constructed from aspects of his father's 'rhetorical exuberance'; Harold Skimpole in ''Bleak House'' is based on James Henry Leigh Hunt; his wife's dwarfish chiropodist recognised herself in Miss Mowcher in ''David Copperfield''. Perhaps Dickens's impressions on his meeting with Hans Christian Andersen informed the delineation of Uriah Heep (a term synonymous with sycophant). Virginia Woolf maintained that "we remodel our psychological geography when we read Dickens" as he produces "characters who exist not in detail, not accurately or exactly, but abundantly in a cluster of wild yet extraordinarily revealing remarks". T. S. Eliot wrote that Dickens "excelled in character; in the creation of characters of greater intensity than human beings". One "character" vividly drawn throughout his novels is London itself. Dickens described London as a magic lantern, inspiring the places and people in many of his novels. From the coaching inns on the outskirts of the city to the lower reaches of the River Thames, Thames, all aspects of the capital – Dickens' London, Dickens's London – are described over the course of his body of work. Walking the streets (particularly around London) formed an integral part of his writing life, stoking his creativity. Dickens was known to regularly walk at least a dozen miles (19 km) per day, and once wrote, "If I couldn’t walk fast and far, I should just explode and perish."


Autobiographical elements

Authors frequently draw their portraits of characters from people they have known in real life. ''David Copperfield'' is regarded by many as a veiled autobiography of Dickens. The scenes of interminable court cases and legal arguments in ''Bleak House'' reflect Dickens's experiences as a law clerk and court reporter, and in particular his direct experience of the law's procedural delay during 1844 when he sued publishers in Chancery for breach of copyright. Dickens's father was sent to prison for debt and this became a common theme in many of his books, with the detailed depiction of life in the Marshalsea prison in ''Little Dorrit'' resulting from Dickens's own experiences of the institution. Lucy Stroughill, a childhood sweetheart, may have affected several of Dickens's portraits of girls such as Little Em'ly in ''David Copperfield'' and Lucie Manette in ''A Tale of Two Cities.'' Dickens may have drawn on his childhood experiences, but he was also ashamed of them and would not reveal that this was where he gathered his realistic accounts of squalor. Very few knew the details of his early life until six years after his death, when John Forster published a biography on which Dickens had collaborated. Though Skimpole brutally sends up Leigh Hunt, some critics have detected in his portrait features of Dickens's own character, which he sought to exorcise by self-parody.


Episodic writing

A pioneer of the Serial (literature), serial publication of narrative fiction, Dickens wrote most of his major novels in monthly or weekly instalments in journals such as ''
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'' and ''Household Words'', later reprinted in book form. These instalments made the stories affordable and accessible, with the audience more evenly distributed across income levels than previous. His instalment format inspired a narrative that he would explore and develop throughout his career, and the regular cliffhangers made each new episode widely anticipated. When ''
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'' was being serialised, American fans waited at the docks in New York harbor, New York harbour, shouting out to the crew of an incoming British ship, "Is little Nell dead?" Dickens's talent was to incorporate this episodic writing style but still end up with a coherent novel at the end. Another important impact of Dickens's episodic writing style resulted from his exposure to the opinions of his readers and friends. His friend Forster had a significant hand in reviewing his drafts, an influence that went beyond matters of punctuation. He toned down melodramatic and sensationalist exaggerations, cut long passages (such as the episode of Quilp's drowning in ''The Old Curiosity Shop''), and made suggestions about plot and character. It was he who suggested that Charley Bates should be redeemed in ''Oliver Twist''. Dickens had not thought of killing Little Nell and it was Forster who advised him to entertain this possibility as necessary to his conception of the heroine. Dickens was at the helm in popularising cliffhangers and serial publications in Victorian literature. His influence can also be seen in television soap operas and film series, with ''The Guardian'' stating "the DNA of Dickens’s busy, episodic storytelling, delivered in instalments and rife with cliffhangers and diversions, is traceable in everything." His serialisation of his novels also drew comments from other writers. In Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson's novel ''The Wrecker (Stevenson novel), The Wrecker'', Captain Nares, investigating an abandoned ship, remarked: "See! They were writing up the log," said Nares, pointing to the ink-bottle. "Caught napping, as usual. I wonder if there ever was a captain yet that lost a ship with his log-book up to date? He generally has about a month to fill up on a clean break, like Charles Dickens and his serial novels."


Social commentary

Dickens's novels were, among other things, works of social commentary.
Simon Callow Simon Phillip Hugh Callow (born 15 June 1949) is an English actor, director, and writer. Early years Callow was born in Streatham Streatham ( ) is a district in south London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban area ...

Simon Callow
states, "From the moment he started to write, he spoke for the people, and the people loved him for it." He was a fierce critic of the poverty and social stratification of Victorian era, Victorian society. In a New York address, he expressed his belief that "Virtue shows quite as well in rags and patches as she does in purple and fine linen". Dickens's second novel, ''Oliver Twist'' (1839), shocked readers with its images of poverty and crime: it challenged middle class polemics about criminals, making impossible any pretence to ignorance about what poverty entailed. At a time when Britain was the major economic and political power of the world, Dickens highlighted the life of the forgotten poor and disadvantaged within society. Through his journalism he campaigned on specific issues – such as sanitation and the workhouse – but his fiction probably demonstrated its greatest prowess in changing public opinion in regard to class inequalities. He often depicted the exploitation and oppression of the poor and condemned the public officials and institutions that not only allowed such abuses to exist, but flourished as a result. His most strident indictment of this condition is in ''Hard Times'' (1854), Dickens's only novel-length treatment of the industrial working class. In this work, he uses vitriol and satire to illustrate how this marginalised social stratum was termed "Hands" by the factory owners; that is, not really "people" but rather only appendages of the machines they operated. His writings inspired others, in particular journalists and political figures, to address such problems of class oppression. For example, the prison scenes in ''The Pickwick Papers'' are claimed to have been influential in having the Fleet Prison shut down. Karl Marx asserted that Dickens "issued to the world more political and social truths than have been uttered by all the professional politicians, publicists and moralists put together".. George Bernard Shaw even remarked that ''Great Expectations'' was more seditious than Marx's ''Das Kapital''. The exceptional popularity of Dickens's novels, even those with socially oppositional themes (''Bleak House'', 1853; ''Little Dorrit'', 1857; ''Our Mutual Friend'', 1865), not only underscored his ability to create compelling storylines and unforgettable characters, but also ensured that the Victorian public confronted issues of social justice that had commonly been ignored. It has been argued that his technique of flooding his narratives with an 'unruly superfluity of material' that, in the gradual dénouement, yields up an unsuspected order, influenced the organisation of Charles Darwin's ''On the Origin of Species''.


Literary techniques

Dickens is often described as using idealised characters and highly sentimental scenes to contrast with his caricatures and the ugly social truths he reveals. The story of Nell Trent in ''The Old Curiosity Shop'' (1841) was received as extraordinarily moving by contemporary readers but viewed as ludicrously sentimental by Oscar Wilde. "One must have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell", he said in a famous remark, "without dissolving into tears ... of laughter." G. K. Chesterton stated, "It is not the death of little Nell, but the life of little Nell, that I object to", arguing that the maudlin effect of his description of her life owed much to the gregarious nature of Dickens's grief, his "despotic" use of people's feelings to move them to tears in works like this. The question as to whether Dickens belongs to the tradition of the sentimental novel is debatable. Valerie Purton, in her book ''Dickens and the Sentimental Tradition'', sees him continuing aspects of this tradition, and argues that his "sentimental scenes and characters [are] as crucial to the overall power of the novels as his darker or comic figures and scenes", and that "''Dombey and Son'' is [ ... ] Dickens's greatest triumph in the sentimentalist tradition". The ''Encyclopædia Britannica'' online comments that, despite "patches of emotional excess", such as the reported death of Tiny Tim in ''A Christmas Carol'' (1843), "Dickens cannot really be termed a sentimental novelist". In ''Oliver Twist'' Dickens provides readers with an idealised portrait of a boy so inherently and unrealistically good that his values are never subverted by either brutal orphanages or coerced involvement in a gang of young pickpocketing, pickpockets. While later novels also centre on idealised characters (Esther Summerson in ''Bleak House'' and Amy Dorrit in ''Little Dorrit''), this idealism serves only to highlight Dickens's goal of poignant social commentary. Dickens's fiction, reflecting what he believed to be true of his own life, makes frequent use of coincidence, either for comic effect or to emphasise the idea of providence. For example, Oliver Twist turns out to be the lost nephew of the upper-class family that rescues him from the dangers of the pickpocket group. Such coincidences are a staple of 18th-century picaresque novels, such as Henry Fielding's ''The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, Tom Jones,'' which Dickens enjoyed reading as a youth.


Reputation

Dickens was the most popular novelist of his time, and remains one of the best-known and most-read of English authors. His works have never gone Out-of-print book, out of print, and have been adapted continually for the screen since the invention of cinema, with at least 200 motion pictures and TV adaptations based on Dickens's works documented. Many of his works were adapted for the stage during his own lifetime and, as early as 1913, a silent film of ''The Pickwick Papers'' was made. Contemporaries such as publisher Edward Lloyd (publisher), Edward Lloyd cashed in on Dickens's popularity with cheap imitations of his novels, resulting in his own popular ‘penny dreadful, penny dreadfuls'. From the beginning of his career in the 1830s, Dickens's achievements in English literature were compared to those of Shakespeare. Dickens created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest British novelist of the
Victorian era In the history of the United Kingdom, the Victorian era was the wikt:period, period of Queen Victoria's reign, from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. The era followed the Georgian era, Georgian period and preceded the Edwa ...
. His literary reputation, however began to decline with the publication of ''Bleak House'' in 1852–53. Philip Collins calls ''Bleak House'' ‘a crucial item in the history of Dickens's reputation. Reviewers and literary figures during the 1850s, 1860s and 1870s, saw a "drear decline" in Dickens, from a writer of "bright sunny comedy ... to dark and serious social" commentary. ''
The Spectator ''The Spectator'' is a weekly British magazine on politics, culture, and current affairs. It was first published in July 1828, making it the oldest weekly magazine in the world. It is owned by Frederick Barclay, who also owns ''The Daily T ...
'' called ''Bleak House'' "a heavy book to read through at once ... dull and wearisome as a serial"; Richard Simpson, in ''The Rambler'', characterised ''Hard Times'' as "this dreary framework"; ''Fraser's Magazine'' thought ''Little Dorrit'' "decidedly the worst of his novels".Adam Roerts, "Dickens Reputation", p. 505. All the same, despite these "increasing reservations amongst reviewers and the chattering classes, 'the public never deserted its favourite'". Dickens's popular reputation remained unchanged, sales continued to rise, and ''Household Words'' and later ''All the Year Round'' were highly successful. Later in his career, Dickens's fame and the demand for his public readings were unparalleled. In 1868 ''The Times'' wrote, "Amid all the variety of 'readings', those of Mr Charles Dickens stand alone." A Dickens biographer, Edgar Johnson, wrote in the 1950s: "It was [always] more than a reading; it was an extraordinary exhibition of acting that seized upon its auditors with a mesmeric possession." Comparing his reception at public readings to those of a contemporary pop star, ''The Guardian'' states, "People sometimes fainted at his shows. His performances even saw the rise of that modern phenomenon, the 'speculator' or Ticket resale, ticket tout (scalpers) – the ones in New York City escaped detection by borrowing respectable-looking hats from the waiters in nearby restaurants." Among fellow writers, there was a range of opinions on Dickens. Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom, Poet laureate, William Wordsworth (1770–1850), thought him a "very talkative, vulgar young person", adding he had not read a line of his work, while novelist George Meredith (1828–1909), found Dickens "intellectually lacking". In 1888 Leslie Stephen commented in the ''Dictionary of National Biography'' that "if literary fame could be safely measured by popularity with the half-educated, Dickens must claim the highest position among English novelists". Anthony Trollope's ''Autobiography'' famously declared Thackeray, not Dickens, to be the greatest novelist of the age. However, both Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoyevsky were admirers. Dostoyevsky commented: "We understand Dickens in Russia, I am convinced, almost as well as the English, perhaps even with all the nuances. It may well be that we love him no less than his compatriots do. And yet how original is Dickens, and how very English!" Tolstoy referred to ''David Copperfield'' as his favourite book, and he later adopted the novel as "a model for his own autobiographical reflections". French writer Jules Verne called Dickens his favourite writer, writing his novels "stand alone, dwarfing all others by their amazing power and felicity of expression". Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh was inspired by Dickens's novels in several of his paintings like ''Vincent's Chair'' and in an 1889 letter to his sister stated that reading Dickens, especially ''A Christmas Carol'', was one of the things that was keeping him from committing suicide. Oscar Wilde generally disparaged his depiction of character, while admiring his gift for caricature. Henry James denied him a premier position, calling him "the greatest of superficial novelists": Dickens failed to endow his characters with psychological depth, and the novels, "loose baggy monsters", betrayed a "cavalier organisation". Joseph Conrad described his own childhood in bleak Dickensian terms, and noted he had "an intense and unreasoning affection" for ''Bleak House'', dating back to his boyhood. The novel influenced his own gloomy portrait of London in ''The Secret Agent'' (1907). Virginia Woolf had a love-hate relationship with his works, finding his novels "mesmerizing" while reproving him for his sentimentalism and a commonplace style. Around 1940–41, the attitude of the literary critics began to warm towards Dickens – led by George Orwell in ''Inside the Whale and Other Essays'' (March 1940), Edmund Wilson in ''The Wound and the Bow'' (1941) and Humphry House in ''Dickens and his World''. However, even in 1948, F. R. Leavis, in ''The Great Tradition'', asserted that "the adult mind doesn't as a rule find in Dickens a challenge to an unusual and sustained seriousness"; Dickens was indeed a great genius, "but the genius was that of a great entertainer", though he later changed his opinion with ''Dickens the Novelist'' (1970, with Q. D. Leavis, Q. D. (Queenie) Leavis): "Our purpose", they wrote, "is to enforce as unanswerably as possible the conviction that Dickens was one of the greatest of creative writers". In 1944, Soviet film director and film theorist Sergei Eisenstein wrote an essay on Dickens's influence on cinema, such as cross-cutting – where two stories run alongside each other, as seen in novels such as ''Oliver Twist''. In the 1950s, "a substantial reassessment and re-editing of the works began, and critics found his finest artistry and greatest depth to be in the later novels: ''Bleak House'', ''Little Dorrit'', and ''Great Expectations – ''and (less unanimously) in ''Hard Times'' and ''Our Mutual Friend''". Dickens was a favourite author of Roald Dahl; the best-selling children's author would include three of Dickens's novels among those read by the Matilda Wormwood, title character in his 1988 novel ''Matilda (novel), Matilda''. An avid reader of Dickens, in 2005, Paul McCartney named ''Nicholas Nickleby'' his favourite novel. On Dickens he states, "I like the world that he takes me to. I like his words; I like the language", adding, "A lot of my stuff – it's kind of Dickensian." Screenwriter Jonathan Nolan, Jonathan Nolan's screenplay for ''The Dark Knight Rises'' (2012) was inspired by ''A Tale of Two Cities'', with Nolan calling the depiction of Paris in the novel "one of the most harrowing portraits of a relatable, recognisable civilisation that completely folded to pieces". On 7 February 2012, the 200th anniversary of Dickens's birth, Philip Womack wrote in ''The Telegraph'': "Today there is no escaping Charles Dickens. Not that there has ever been much chance of that before. He has a deep, peculiar hold upon us".


Influence and legacy

Museums and festivals celebrating Dickens's life and works exist in many places with which Dickens was associated. These include the Charles Dickens Museum in London, the historic home where he wrote ''
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'', ''
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'' and ''
Nicholas Nickleby ''Nicholas Nickleby'' or ''The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby'' (or also ''The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Containing a Faithful Account of the Fortunes, Misfortunes, Uprisings, Downfallings, and Complete Career of the ...

Nicholas Nickleby
''; and the Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum in Portsmouth, the house in which he was born. The original manuscripts of many of his novels, as well as printers' proofs, first editions, and illustrations from the collection of Dickens's friend John Forster are held at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Dickens's will stipulated that no memorial be erected in his honour; nonetheless, a life-size bronze statue of Dickens entitled ''Dickens and Little Nell (Elwell), Dickens and Little Nell'', cast in 1891 by Francis Edwin Elwell, stands in Clark Park in the Spruce Hill, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Spruce Hill neighbourhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Another life-size statue of Dickens is located at Centennial Park, New South Wales, Centennial Park, Sydney, Australia. In 1960 a Relief, bas-relief sculpture of Dickens, notably featuring characters from his books, was commissioned from sculptor Estcourt J Clack to adorn the office building built on the site of his former home at 1 Devonshire Terrace, London. In 2014, a life-size statue was unveiled near his birthplace in Portsmouth on the 202nd anniversary of his birth; this was supported by the author's great-great grandsons, Ian and Gerald Charles Dickens (actor), Gerald Dickens. ''A Christmas Carol'' is most probably his best-known story, with frequent new adaptations. It is also the most-filmed of Dickens's stories, with many versions dating from the early years of cinema. According to the historian Ronald Hutton, the current state of the observance of Christmas is largely the result of a mid-Victorian revival of the holiday spearheaded by ''A Christmas Carol''. Dickens catalysed the emerging Christmas as a family-centred festival of generosity, in contrast to the dwindling community-based and church-centred observations, as new middle-class expectations arose. Its archetypal figures (Scrooge, Tiny Tim, the Christmas ghosts) entered into Western cultural consciousness. "Christmas and holiday season#History of the phrase, Merry Christmas", a prominent phrase from the tale, was popularised following the appearance of the story. The term Scrooge became a synonym for miser, and his exclamation Humbug, "Bah! Humbug!'", a dismissal of the festive spirit, likewise gained currency as an idiom. The Victorian era novelist William Makepeace Thackeray called the book "a national benefit, and to every man and woman who reads it a personal kindness". Dickens was commemorated on the Banknotes of the pound sterling, Series E £10 note issued by the Bank of England note issues, Bank of England that circulated between 1992 and 2003. His portrait appeared on the reverse of the note accompanied by a scene from ''The Pickwick Papers''. The Charles Dickens School is a high school in Broadstairs, Kent. A theme park, Dickens World, standing in part on the site of the former Chatham Dockyard, naval dockyard where Dickens's father once worked in the Navy Pay Office, opened in Chatham in 2007. To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens in 2012, the Museum of London held the UK's first major exhibition on the author in 40 years. In 2002, Dickens was number 41 in the BBC's poll of the 100 Greatest Britons. American literary critic Harold Bloom placed Dickens among the The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages, greatest Western writers of all time. In the 2003 UK survey The Big Read carried out by the BBC, five of Dickens's books were named in the The Big Read#Top 200 novels in the United Kingdom, Top 100. Actors who have portrayed Dickens on screen include Anthony Hopkins, Derek Jacobi,
Simon Callow Simon Phillip Hugh Callow (born 15 June 1949) is an English actor, director, and writer. Early years Callow was born in Streatham Streatham ( ) is a district in south London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban area ...

Simon Callow
and Ralph Fiennes, the latter playing the author in ''The Invisible Woman (2013 film), The Invisible Woman'' (2013) which depicts Dickens's secret love affair with Ellen Ternan which lasted for thirteen years until his death in 1870. Dickens and his publications have appeared on a number of postage stamps in countries including: the United Kingdom (1970, 1993, 2011 and 2012), the Soviet Union (1962), Antigua, Barbuda, Botswana, Cameroon, Dubai, Fujairah, St Christopher, Nevis and Anguilla, St Helena, St Lucia and Turks and Caicos Islands (1970), St Vincent (1987), Nevis (2007), List of postage stamps of Alderney, Alderney, Gibraltar, Jersey and Pitcairn Islands (2012), Austria (2013), and Mozambique (2014). In November 2018 it was reported that a previously lost portrait of a 31-year-old Dickens, by Margaret Gillies, had been found in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Gillies was an early supporter of women's suffrage and had painted the portrait in late 1843 when Dickens, aged 31, wrote ''A Christmas Carol''. It was exhibited, to acclaim, at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1844.


Works

Dickens published well over a dozen major novels and novellas, a large number of short stories, including a number of Christmas-themed stories, a handful of plays, and several non-fiction books. Dickens's novels were initially serialised in weekly and monthly magazines, then reprinted in standard book formats. * ''
The Pickwick Papers ''The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club'' (also known as ''The Pickwick Papers'') was Charles Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some o ...
'' (''The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club''; monthly serial, April 1836 to November 1837) for the serial publication dates. * ''
Oliver Twist ''Oliver Twist; or, the Parish Boy's Progress'', Charles Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional charact ...
'' (''The Adventures of Oliver Twist''; monthly serial in ''
Bentley's Miscellany ''Bentley's Miscellany'' was an English literary magazine A literary magazine is a periodical Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of Serial (publishing), serial published, publi ...
'', February 1837 to April 1839) * ''
Nicholas Nickleby ''Nicholas Nickleby'' or ''The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby'' (or also ''The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Containing a Faithful Account of the Fortunes, Misfortunes, Uprisings, Downfallings, and Complete Career of the ...

Nicholas Nickleby
'' (''The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby''; monthly serial, April 1838 to October 1839) * ''
The Old Curiosity Shop ''The Old Curiosity Shop'' is one of two novels (the other being ''Barnaby Rudge ''Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of Eighty'' (commonly known as ''Barnaby Rudge'') is a historical novel by British novelist Charles Dickens Charles ...
'' (weekly serial in ''
Master Humphrey's Clock Master or masters may refer to: Ranks or titles *Ascended master, a term used in the Theosophical religious tradition to refer to spiritually enlightened beings who in past incarnations were ordinary humans *Grandmaster (chess), National Master, ...
'', April 1840 to November 1841) * ''Barnaby Rudge'' (''Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of Eighty''; weekly serial in ''
Master Humphrey's Clock Master or masters may refer to: Ranks or titles *Ascended master, a term used in the Theosophical religious tradition to refer to spiritually enlightened beings who in past incarnations were ordinary humans *Grandmaster (chess), National Master, ...
'', February to November 1841) * ''
A Christmas Carol ''A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas'', commonly known as ''A Christmas Carol'', is a novella A novella is a narrative prose fiction whose length is shorter than that of most novel A novel is a relatively l ...

A Christmas Carol
'' (''A Christmas Carol in Prose: Being a Ghost-story of Christmas''; 1843) * ''Martin Chuzzlewit'' (''The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit''; monthly serial, January 1843 to July 1844) * ''
The Chimes ''The Chimes: A Goblin Story of Some Bells that Rang an Old Year Out and a New Year In'', commonly referred to as ''The Chimes'', is a novella written by Charles Dickens and first published in 1844, one year after ''A Christmas Carol''. It is th ...
'' (''The Chimes: A Goblin Story of Some Bells That Rang an Old Year Out and a New Year In''; 1844) * ''
The Cricket on the Hearth ''The Cricket on the Hearth: A Fairy Tale of Home'' is a novella by Charles Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fi ...
'' (''The Cricket on the Hearth: A Fairy Tale of Home''; 1845) * ''The Battle of Life'' (''The Battle of Life: A Love Story''; 1846) * ''
Dombey and Son ''Dombey and Son'' is a novel by English author Charles Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characte ...
'' (''Dealings with the Firm of Dombey and Son: Wholesale, Retail and for Exportation''; monthly serial, October 1846 to April 1848) * ''The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain, The Haunted Man'' (''The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain: A Fancy for Christmas-time''; 1848) * ''
David Copperfield ''The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery (Which He Never Meant to Publish on Any Account)'', commonly known as ''David Copperfield'',Dickens invented over 14 varia ...

David Copperfield
'' (''The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery [Which He Never Meant to Publish on Any Account]''; monthly serial, May 1849 to November 1850) * ''Bleak House'' (monthly serial, March 1852 to September 1853) * ''Hard Times (novel), Hard Times'' (''Hard Times: For These Times''; weekly serial in ''Household Words'', 1 April 1854, to 12 August 1854) * ''
Little Dorrit ''Little Dorrit'' is a novel A novel is a relatively long work of narrative fiction, typically written in prose and published as a book. The present English word for a long work of prose fiction derives from the for "new", "news", or "sho ...
'' (monthly serial, December 1855 to June 1857) * ''
A Tale of Two Cities ''A Tale of Two Cities'' is an 1859 historical novel Historical fiction is a literary genre in which the plot takes place in a setting located in the past. Although the term is commonly used as a synonym for the historical novel, it can als ...
'' (weekly serial in ''All the Year Round'', 30 April 1859, to 26 November 1859) * ''
Great Expectations ''Great Expectations'' is the thirteenth novel by Charles Dickens and his penultimate completed novel. It depicts the education of an orphan nicknamed Pip (Great Expectations), Pip (the book is a ''bildungsroman'', a coming-of-age story). It i ...

Great Expectations
'' (weekly serial in ''All the Year Round'', 1 December 1860 to 3 August 1861) * ''Our Mutual Friend'' (monthly serial, May 1864 to November 1865) * ''The Signal-Man'' (1866), first published as part of the ''Mugby Junction'' collection in the 1866 Christmas edition of ''All the Year Round''. * ''The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Edwin Drood'' (''The Mystery of Edwin Drood''; monthly serial, April 1870 to September 1870), left unfinished due to Dickens's death


Notes


References


Bibliography

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Further reading

* * *Nicola Bradbury, Bradbury, Nicola, ''Charles Dickens' Great Expectations'' (St. Martin's Press, 1990) * Douglas-Fairhurst, Robert,
Becoming Dickens 'The Invention of a Novelist
", London: Harvard University Press, 2011 * * * * * Johnson, Edgar, ''Charles Dickens: his tragedy and triumph'', New York: Simon and Schuster, 1952. In two volumes. * * * * * Manning, Mick & Granström, Brita, ''Charles Dickens: Scenes From An Extraordinary Life'', Frances Lincoln Children's Books, 2011. * * * * * * * * * *


External links


Works

* * * * *
Charles Dickens collection
a
One More Library

Journalism
a
Dickens Journals Online
, an online edition of ''Household Words'' and ''All the Year Round'' *
Charles Dickens
at the British Library


Organisations and portals

* *
Charles Dickens on the Archives Hub
*Archival material a
Leeds University Library

The Dickens Fellowship
an international society dedicated to the study of Dickens and his Writings
Correspondence of Charles Dickens, with related papers, ca. 1834–1955

Finding aid to Charles Dickens papers at Columbia University. Rare Book & Manuscript Library.


Museums


Dickens Museum
Situated in a former Charles Dickens Museum, London, Dickens House, 48 Doughty Street, London, WC1
Dickens Birthplace Museum
Old Commercial Road, Portsmouth
Victoria and Albert Museum
The V&A's collections relating to Dickens


Other

*
Charles Dickens's Traveling Kit
From th

at the Library of Congress
Charles Dickens's Walking Stick
From th

at the Library of Congress * Charles Dickens Collection: First editions of Charles Dickens's works included in the Leonard Kebler gift (dispersed in the Division's collection). From th
Rare Book and Special Collections Division at the Library of Congress
* Plaque
Historical plaques about Charles Dickens, on Open Plaques website
*
Portrait of Charles Dickens by Ferdinand Lee Boyle
at the University of Michigan Museum of Art
Charles Dickens & the 1834 Parliament Fire – UK Parliament Living Heritage
{{DEFAULTSORT:Dickens, Charles Charles Dickens, 1812 births 1870 deaths 19th-century British newspaper founders 19th-century British non-fiction writers 19th-century British short story writers 19th-century English novelists 19th-century essayists 19th-century British journalists British Anglicans British historical novelists British male essayists British male journalists British male novelists British male short story writers British prisoners and detainees British short story writers British social commentators Burials at Westminster Abbey Christian writers Cultural critics English Anglicans English historical novelists English male journalists English male non-fiction writers English male novelists English male short story writers English prisoners and detainees English short story writers Fellows of the Royal Society of Arts Ghost story writers People from Camden Town People from Chatham, Kent People from Somers Town, London Social critics Victorian novelists Writers about activism and social change Writers from London Writers from Portsmouth People from Higham, Kent 19th-century pseudonymous writers