Charles Dickens was one of the greatest writers of all time as his work covered the cream of the Victorian society to the working class. Born in February 1812 to John and Elizabeth Dickens, he was one among the eight children who had to suffer poverty when his family was going through a rough patch.
The experiences he derived from his life was recounted through many of his novels, for example, David Copperfield was considered semi-autobiographical from the time-phase he was sent to work at a blacking warehouse. He was also considered as a reformist for his concern for social justice and worked for the True Sun, considered a radical newspaper in those times. His editorship continued throughout his life as he contributed to other newspapers such as The Daily News, Household Words and All the Year Round.
Through his contribution to various magazines and newspapers grew, he started publishing his own fiction novels. But it was not until 1836-37, he tasted true success with The Pickwick Papers. This master-piece was considered a phenomenon as it sold over forty thousand copies.
Dickens is considered a pioneer in many aspects of writing as he made serialization of novels and attained huge profits. Even the working class poor started reading his serialized novels as they could not normally afford literary works.
The era of 1836 to 1850 can be considered as the era of Charles Dickens as he gained reputation for being a novelist whose works mesmerized the public. He continued writing his monthly serializations of novels, such as Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickelby – both these works endeared him to the lower classes and it brought forth another of Dicken’s lesser known secret – his sense of humor.
“A Christmas Carol” is considered a classic as it focuses on the economics of the people of England – it is based on the public’s passion of earning money regardless of the consequences and acquisition of status at any cost. Other notable works include “A Tale of Two Cities” and “Great Expectations.”
He was also the first person to begin public reading of his works in countries outside Britain, especially America. Although he earned substantial amount of money, his health declined and he died on June 9, 1870. The novel which he left unfinished was ‘The Mystery of Edwin Drood” but he had already cemented his place among the greatest novelist of all time and is considered next only to Shakespeare. Plays such as “The Frozen Deep” also displayed his theatrical genius.
Master Humphrey’s Clock
The Old Curiosity Shop,
The Cricket and the Hearth,
Pictures From Italy
Dombey and Son
Battle of Life
It must be noted that the pitiable conditions of the Workhouses and prisons in England are no more. BUt the fame of Dicken’s novel has not diminished, shows that even our social consciousness has not bogged down in favour of materialistic values – that may be the reason why even now his novels have not gone out of print even after a century and a quarter has divided the time between us and this great writer. As a fan puts it “He knew how to tell his story.”