The most popular novelist of his time, Dickens created a fictional world that reflects the social and technological changes of the Victorian era.
See Article History Alternative Title: Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity during his lifetime than had any previous author. Much in his work could appeal to the simple and the sophisticated, to the poor and to the queen, and technological developments as well as the qualities of his work enabled his fame to spread worldwide very quickly.
His long career saw fluctuations in the reception and sales of individual novels, but none of them was negligible or uncharacteristic or disregarded, and, though he is now admired for aspects and phases of his work that were given less weight by his contemporaries, his popularity has never ceased.
The most abundantly comic of English authors, he was much more than a great entertainer. The range, compassion, and intelligence of his apprehension of his society and its shortcomings enriched his novels and made him both one of the great forces in 19th-century literature and an influential spokesman of the conscience of his age.
Early years Dickens left Portsmouth in infancy. His happiest childhood years were spent in Chatham —22an area to which he often reverted in his fiction. His origins were middle class, if of a newfound and precarious respectability; one grandfather had been a domestic servant, and the other an embezzler.
His father, a clerk in the navy pay office, was well paid, but his extravagance and ineptitude often brought the family to financial embarrassment or disaster. Some of his failings and his ebullience are dramatized in Mr. Micawber in the partly autobiographical David Copperfield.
In the family reached bottom. Charles, the eldest son, had been withdrawn from school and was now set to manual work in a factory, and his father went to prison for debt. These shocks deeply affected Charles. Though abhorring this brief descent into the working class, he began to gain that sympathetic knowledge of its life and privations that informed his writings.
Also, the images of the prison and of the lost, oppressed, or bewildered child recur in many novels.
Much else in his character and art stemmed from this period, including, as the 20th-century novelist Angus Wilson has argued, his later difficulty, as man and author, in understanding women: His schooling, interrupted and unimpressive, ended at These years left him with a lasting affection for journalism and contempt both for the law and for Parliament.
His coming to manhood in the reformist s, and particularly his working on the Liberal Benthamite Morning Chronicle —36greatly affected his political outlook.
Another influential event now was his rejection as suitor to Maria Beadnell because his family and prospects were unsatisfactory; his hopes of gaining and chagrin at losing her sharpened his determination to succeed.
The same month, he was invited to provide a comic serial narrative to accompany engravings by a well-known artist; seven weeks later the first installment of The Pickwick Papers appeared.
Within a few months Pickwick was the rage and Dickens the most popular author of the day. Thus, he had two serial installments to write every month. Already the first of his nine surviving children had been born; he had married in April Catherine, eldest daughter of a respected Scottish journalist and man of letters, George Hogarth.
Finding serialization congenial and profitable, he repeated the Pickwick pattern of 20 monthly parts in Nicholas Nickleby —39 ; then he experimented with shorter weekly installments for The Old Curiosity Shop —41 and Barnaby Rudge Exhausted at last, he then took a five-month vacation in America, touring strenuously and receiving quasi-royal honours as a literary celebrity but offending national sensibilities by protesting against the absence of copyright protection.
Some of these feelings appear in American Notes and Martin Chuzzlewit — Novels from Pickwick to Chuzzlewit His writing during these prolific years was remarkably various and, except for his plays, resourceful. Pickwick began as high-spirited farce and contained many conventional comic butts and traditional jokes; like other early works, it was manifestly indebted to the contemporary theatre, the 18th-century English novelists, and a few foreign classics, notably Don Quixote.
But, besides giving new life to old stereotypesPickwick displayed, if sometimes in embryo, many of the features that were to be blended in varying proportions throughout his fiction: Rapidly improvised and written only weeks or days ahead of its serial publication, Pickwick contains weak and jejune passages and is an unsatisfactory whole—partly because Dickens was rapidly developing his craft as a novelist while writing and publishing it.Charles Dickens (), English Victorian era author wrote numerous highly acclaimed novels including his most autobiographical David Copperfield (); “Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.
Most of Dickens' works have the main character as a young boy facing the hardships of growing up in a poor family or having the life of a pauper in a big city.
In these tales, though at times fictional, Dickens seems to portray his life as a child through his books.5/5(2). Nov 21, · A study of Dickens’ early work, focusing on Victorian cultural life; a stimulating study by a well-known critic of Victorian literature and life.
Miller, J. Hillis. Charles Dickens: The World of. Like many others, he began his literary career as a journalist. His own father became a reporter and Charles began with the journals 'The Mirror of Parliament' and 'The True Sun'. About This Quiz & Worksheet. Charles Dickens' life inspired much of his work, and this quiz/worksheet combo tests you on important events in his life, as well as some of the famous books he wrote.
From his sensational public appearances to the obsessive love affair that led him to betray, deceive, and break with those closest to him, Charles Dickens: A Life is a triumph of the biographer’s craft, a comedy that turns to tragedy in a story worthy of Dickens’ own pen/5(79).