Charles Dickens

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Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens married Catherine Hogarth soon after his first book, Sketches by Boz, was published. The couple had 10 children.  During the 1850s, Dickens suffered two devastating losses: the deaths of his daughter and father. He also separated from his wife in 1858. Dickens slandered Catherine publicly, and struck up an intimate relationship with a young actress named Ellen "Nelly" Ternan. Sources differ on whether the two started seeing each other before or after Dickens' marital separation; it is also believed that he went to great lengths to erase any documentation alluding to Ternan's presence in his life.

In 1822, the Dickens family moved to Camden Town, a poor neighborhood in London. By then the family’s financial situation had grown dire, as John Dickens had a dangerous habit of living beyond the family’s means. Eventually, John was sent to prison for debt in 1824, when Charles was just 12 years old. Following his father’s imprisonment, Dickens was forced to leave school to work at a boot-blacking factory alongside the River Thames. At the run-down, rodent-ridden factory, Dickens earned six shillings a week labeling pots of “blacking,” a substance used to clean fireplaces. It was the best he could do to help support his family.


The famed British author was the second of eight children. His father, John Dickens, was a naval clerk who dreamed of striking it rich. Charles Dickens’ mother, Elizabeth Barrow, aspired to be a teacher and school director. Despite his parents’ best efforts, the family remained poor. Nevertheless, they were happy in the early days. In 1816, they moved to Chatham, Kent, where young Charles and his siblings were free to roam the countryside and explore the old castle at Rochester.

Charles Dickens was born February 7, 1812 and died June 9, 1870. He was a British novelist, journalist, editor, illustrator and social commentator. He wrote such beloved classic novels as Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, Nicholas Nickleby, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, and Great Expectations. Dickens is remembered as one of the most important and strong writers of the 19th century. He wrote at least 21 novels. Among his accomplishments, he has been commended for providing a stark portrait of the Victorian era underclass, helping to bring about societal change. When Dickens died of a stroke, he left his final novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, unfinished.

Within a year of being hired, Dickens began freelance reporting at the law courts of London. Just a few years later, he was reporting for two major London newspapers. In 1833, he began submitting sketches to various magazines and newspapers under the pseudonym “Boz.” In 1836, his clippings were published in his first book, Sketches by Boz.He later edited magazines including Household Words and All the Year Round, the latter of which he founded.

Emma Welton p.9 choice #2A Christmas Carol

Works Cited Editors. "Charles Dickens Biography." Biography, A&E Television Networks, Accessed 20 Dec. 2018. "Charles Dickens." Wikipedia, Accessed 19 Dec. 2018. Hall, Prentice. Literature. Pearson, 2012.


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