Charles Dickens

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This period of family obscuration happily lasted but a short time: the elder Dickens managed to satisfy his creditors, and soon after retired from his official duties on a pension.


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About the same time Dickens had two years of continuous schooling, and shortly afterwards he entered a law office. His leisure he devoted to reading and learning shorthand, in which he became very expert. He then acted as parliamentary reporter, first for The True Sun , and from for the Morning Chronicle.

Charles Dickens

Meanwhile he had been contributing to the Monthly Magazine and the Evening Chronicle the papers which, in , appeared in a collected form as Sketches by Boz ; and he had also produced one or two comic burlettas. In the same year he married Miss Catherine Hogarth; and in the following year occurred the opportunity of his life.

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In the hands of Dickens the original plan was entirely altered, and became the Pickwick Papers which, appearing in monthly parts during —39, took the country by storm. Nicholas Nickleby appeared in serial form — In Dickens went to America, and was received with great enthusiasm, which, however, the publication of American Notes considerably damped, and the appearance of Martin Chuzzlewit in , with its caustic criticisms of certain features of American life, converted into extreme, though temporary, unpopularity.

In January, , he was appointed first ed. The same year he went to Switzerland, and while there wrote Dombey and Son , which was published in , and was immediately followed by his masterpiece, David Copperfield — Shortly before this he had become manager of a theatrical company, which performed in the provinces, and he had in started his magazine, Household Words.

In he bought Gadshill Place, which, in , became his permanent home. In he began his public readings from his works, which, while eminently successful from a financial point of view, from the nervous strain which they entailed, gradually broke down his constitution, and hastened his death.

In the same year he separated from his wife, and consequent upon the controversy which arose thereupon he brought Household Words to an end, and started All the Year Round , in which appeared A Tale of Two Cities [], and Great Expectations — However, the plight of the poor and the inhumane working conditions that he had experienced at such a young age never left Dickens.

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Charles Dickens

Of the boys he met in the warehouse, one was to have made a lasting impression. Bob Fagin, who showed the newcomer Dickens how to undertake the task of attaching labels to the shoe polish, was forever immortalised in a completely different guise!


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Having made a number of contacts in the press, Dickens was able to publish his first story, A Dinner at Poplar Walk , in Monthly Magazine in December This was followed by a series of sketches entitled Sketches by Boz in , Boz being a pen name taken from a childhood nickname given to his younger brother Augustus by the rest of the family.

In April that same year, Dickens published his first novel in serial form, The Pickwick Papers , to popular acclaim and married Catherine Hogarth, daughter of George Hogarth his editor for Sketches by Boz , who bore him 10 children before their separation in This allowed the writer to become very much a social commentator, tapping into the feelings of the time and allowing the audience to have a say in the plot. It also meant that his characters were able to grow organically, depicting the lives of the everyday Londoner in Victorian Britain.

A prolific writer, Dickens many novels were also accompanied by weekly periodicals, travel books and plays.

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In his later years, Dickens also spent a lot of time travelling throughout the UK and abroad, giving readings of his most popular works. Despite his openly negative views on slavery he gained a large following in the United States, where — following a condition in his will — the only life size memorial to him can be found in Clark Park, Philadelphia.


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Alfred Lord Tennyson is one of the most famous English poets of all time, with a career spanning 62 years…. The novels of Charles Dickens are familiar to us all through TV adaptations and films.

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