List of his works: A Christmas Carol Pickwick Papers Nicholas Nickelby Oliver Twist Great Expectations A Tale of Two Cities David Copperfield Hard Times Our Mutual Friend Martin Chuzzlewit
Background information: Born February 7, 1812 in Portsmouth, England Second child of John & Elizabeth Dickens At age of 10, (1822) the family moves to London. London was a large city even then (approx. 1.8 million) and was the political capitol of Great Britain. The time period that Dickens lived most of his life was known as the Victorian Age (1837-1901). It was named after Queen Victoria who became queen at just 14 years of age and remained ruler for 64 years.
Debt: In 1824, Dickens’ father was sent to debtor’s prison. Charles, age 12, leaves school to work at Warren’s Blacking Factory, a rat infested, unheated factory. When Dickens and his family went to visit his father, they saw the poor conditions for the prison and Charles became very angry at the establishment. There was no way his father could pay off his debts while he was in prison.
A few years later, the Dickens family inherited money and John Dickens was able to pay his debts and get out of prison. This allowed Charles Dickens to stop working at the factory.
Dickens held several jobs before hebecame a published author. Age 15- a clerk in a small legal office. Age 17- becomes a court reporter. (reports what happened during a court session. Age 21- Begins to submit stories and essays to magazines and newspapers. Age 22- Works as a government reporter/ newspaper reporter
1836 was a great year for Dickens His first book Sketches by Boz, a collection of essays and stories is published. He used Boz as his pen name. He writes and publishes The Pickwick Papers, which was his first literary success and helps him become the most popular writer in all of England.
He becomes the editor of a monthly magazine called Bentley’s Miscellany and uses his position to serialize Oliver Twist. Dickens marries Catharine Hogarth, the daughter of the owner of Bentley’s Miscellany.
Later years 1843- he writes A Christmas Carol in just six weeks. Dickens uses his own money to publish this story. 1850- Starts his own magazine called Household Words. 1870- Dies of a stroke.
**Popular throughout his life, Charles Dickens was considered a social reformer. He tried to change things in society that he felt were unfair, such as the treatment of children/ child labor and debtor’s prison. **