Last week was the 200th Birthday of Charles Dickens; a very famous English writer from the Victorian era.
Dickens was born on February 7th 1812, in Portsmouth, England, to a poor family. They were so poor that he was only able to go to school until he was 9 years old. His father got into bad debt and Dickens was sent to work in a factory. Dickens worked in the factory for three years without his family and under extremely bad conditions, which made him very unhappy and depressed.
The experience of living this hard, working-class life was the inspiration for the themes of many of his novels, in particular the very famous ‘David Copperfield’.
In 1833 his first story was published in Monthly Magazine as a monthly instalment. The stories were very popular and left readers ‘on the edge of their seats’ waiting for the next part of the story.
His use of prose soon won praise by critics and his ability to create memorable characters made him a must-read author; a title that out-lived Dickens himself. The fact that none of his works have ever gone out of print shows how popular his novels and short stories are.
Dickens married Catherine Hogarth on 2nd April, 1836, and ended up having ten children with her. Charles Dickens died on 9th June, 1870 after suffering a stroke. He was buried in the Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey. The inscription on his tomb reads:
“He was a sympathiser to the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed; and by his death, one of England’s greatest writers is lost to the world.”
Charles Dickens published many major novels, a large number of short stories (including a number of Christmas-themed stories), a handful of plays, and several non-fiction books, including:
• The Adventures of Oliver Twist
• The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby
• The Old Curiosity Shop
• Barnaby Rudge
• A Christmas Carol
• Dombey and Son
• David Copperfield
• Bleak House
• Hard Times: For These Times
• Little Dorrit
• A Tale of Two Cities
• Great Expectations