Skip Nav

Similar authors to follow

Novels by Charles Dickens Listed by Publication Date

❶Who's Who in Dickens.

Logging out...

Early years
The life and work of Charles Dickens
Beginning of a literary career

Barnaby Rudge — Barnaby Rudge was published in installments from February to November of Martin Chuzzlewit — Martin Chuzzlewit was first published in installments that began in January of and ran through July of The novel was written after Dickens traveled to America in The trip left Dickens with a very unfavorable impression of the United States.

Dombey and Son — Dombey and Son was first published in installments that began in and ran through Dickens gave a reading of the first installment of Dombey to some of his friends. It went very well and gave Dickens the idea of doing public readings.

David Copperfield — The first installment was published in May of The last installment was issued in November of And his name is David Copperfield. Bleak House — This novel has the distinction of being perhaps the only work of classic literature featuring a character that dies by spontaneous combustion.

Dickens managed to avoid an appearance at the inquest to avoid disclosing that he had been travelling with Ternan and her mother, which would have caused a scandal. While he contemplated a second visit to the United States, the outbreak of the Civil War in America in delayed his plans. On 9 November , over two years after the war, Dickens set sail from Liverpool for his second American reading tour.

In early December, the readings began. Although he had started to suffer from what he called the "true American catarrh ", he kept to a schedule that would have challenged a much younger man, even managing to squeeze in some sleighing in Central Park. During his travels, he saw a change in the people and the circumstances of America.

His final appearance was at a banquet the American Press held in his honour at Delmonico's on 18 April, when he promised never to denounce America again. By the end of the tour Dickens could hardly manage solid food, subsisting on champagne and eggs beaten in sherry. On 23 April he boarded the Cunard liner Russia to return to Britain, [] barely escaping a Federal Tax Lien against the proceeds of his lecture tour.

Between and , Dickens gave a series of "farewell readings" in England, Scotland, and Ireland, beginning on 6 October. He managed, of a contracted readings, to deliver 75 in the provinces, with a further 12 in London. He suffered a stroke on 18 April in Chester. It was fashionable in the s to 'do the slums' and, in company, Dickens visited opium dens in Shadwell , where he witnessed an elderly addict known as " Laskar Sal", who formed the model for the "Opium Sal" subsequently featured in his mystery novel, Edwin Drood.

After Dickens had regained sufficient strength, he arranged, with medical approval, for a final series of readings to partially make up to his sponsors what they had lost due to his illness. There were to be 12 performances, running between 11 January and 15 March , the last at 8: James's Hall in London. On 2 May, he made his last public appearance at a Royal Academy Banquet in the presence of the Prince and Princess of Wales , paying a special tribute on the death of his friend, the illustrator Daniel Maclise.

On 8 June , Dickens suffered another stroke at his home after a full day's work on Edwin Drood. He never regained consciousness, and the next day, five years to the day after the Staplehurst rail crash, he died at Gads Hill Place.

Biographer Claire Tomalin has suggested Dickens was actually in Peckham when he suffered the stroke, and his mistress Ellen Ternan and her maids had him taken back to Gad's Hill so the public would not know the truth about their relationship. A printed epitaph circulated at the time of the funeral reads:. He was a sympathiser with the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed; and by his death, one of England's greatest writers is lost to the world. His last words were: Pointing to the fresh flowers that adorned the novelist's grave, Stanley assured those present that "the spot would thenceforth be a sacred one with both the New World and the Old, as that of the representative of literature, not of this island only, but of all who speak our English tongue.

Dickens favoured the style of the 18th-century picaresque novels that he found in abundance on his father's shelves. According to Ackroyd, other than these, perhaps the most important literary influence on him was derived from the fables of The Arabian Nights. His writing style is marked by a profuse linguistic creativity.

An early reviewer compared him to Hogarth for his keen practical sense of the ludicrous side of life, though his acclaimed mastery of varieties of class idiom may in fact mirror the conventions of contemporary popular theatre. Murdstone in David Copperfield conjures up twin allusions to "murder" and stony coldness. His satires of British aristocratic snobbery—he calls one character the "Noble Refrigerator"—are often popular.

Comparing orphans to stocks and shares, people to tug boats, or dinner-party guests to furniture are just some of Dickens's acclaimed flights of fancy. The author worked closely with his illustrators, supplying them with a summary of the work at the outset and thus ensuring that his characters and settings were exactly how he envisioned them.

He briefed the illustrator on plans for each month's instalment so that work could begin before he wrote them. Marcus Stone , illustrator of Our Mutual Friend , recalled that the author was always "ready to describe down to the minutest details the personal characteristics, and Dickens's biographer Claire Tomalin regards him as the greatest creator of character in English fiction after Shakespeare.

Micawber , Abel Magwitch , Daniel Quilp , Samuel Pickwick , Wackford Squeers , and Uriah Heep are so well known as to be part and parcel of British culture, and in some cases have passed into ordinary language: His characters were often so memorable that they took on a life of their own outside his books. Many were drawn from real life: Mrs Nickleby is based on his mother, though she didn't recognise herself in the portrait, [] just as Mr Micawber is constructed from aspects of his father's 'rhetorical exuberance': Virginia Woolf maintained that "we remodel our psychological geography when we read Dickens" as he produces "characters who exist not in detail, not accurately or exactly, but abundantly in a cluster of wild yet extraordinarily revealing remarks".

From the coaching inns on the outskirts of the city to the lower reaches of the Thames , all aspects of the capital are described over the course of his body of work. Authors frequently draw their portraits of characters from people they have known in real life. David Copperfield is regarded by many as a veiled autobiography of Dickens. The scenes of interminable court cases and legal arguments in Bleak House reflect Dickens's experiences as a law clerk and court reporter, and in particular his direct experience of the law's procedural delay during when he sued publishers in Chancery for breach of copyright.

Very few knew the details of his early life until six years after his death, when John Forster published a biography on which Dickens had collaborated.

Though Skimpole brutally sends up Leigh Hunt, some critics have detected in his portrait features of Dickens's own character, which he sought to exorcise by self-parody. Most of Dickens's major novels were first written in monthly or weekly instalments in journals such as Master Humphrey's Clock and Household Words , later reprinted in book form. These instalments made the stories affordable and accessible, and the series of regular cliff-hangers made each new episode widely anticipated.

Another important impact of Dickens's episodic writing style resulted from his exposure to the opinions of his readers and friends. His friend Forster had a significant hand in reviewing his drafts, an influence that went beyond matters of punctuation. He toned down melodramatic and sensationalist exaggerations, cut long passages such as the episode of Quilp's drowning in The Old Curiosity Shop , and made suggestions about plot and character. It was he who suggested that Charley Bates should be redeemed in Oliver Twist.

Dickens had not thought of killing Little Nell, and it was Forster who advised him to entertain this possibility as necessary to his conception of the heroine. Dickens's serialisation of his novels was not uncriticised by other authors. They were writing up the log," said Nares, pointing to the ink-bottle. I wonder if there ever was a captain yet that lost a ship with his log-book up to date? He generally has about a month to fill up on a clean break, like Charles Dickens and his serial novels.

Dickens's novels were, among other things, works of social commentary. He was a fierce critic of the poverty and social stratification of Victorian society.

In a New York address, he expressed his belief that "Virtue shows quite as well in rags and patches as she does in purple and fine linen". Dickens is often described as using idealised characters and highly sentimental scenes to contrast with his caricatures and the ugly social truths he reveals. The story of Nell Trent in The Old Curiosity Shop was received as extraordinarily moving by contemporary readers but viewed as ludicrously sentimental by Oscar Wilde.

The question as to whether Dickens belongs to the tradition of the sentimental novel is debatable. Valerie Purton, in her recent Dickens and the Sentimental Tradition , sees him continuing aspects of this tradition, and argues that his "sentimental scenes and characters [are] as crucial to the overall power of the novels as his darker or comic figures and scenes", and that " Dombey and Son is [ In Oliver Twist Dickens provides readers with an idealised portrait of a boy so inherently and unrealistically good that his values are never subverted by either brutal orphanages or coerced involvement in a gang of young pickpockets.

While later novels also centre on idealised characters Esther Summerson in Bleak House and Amy Dorrit in Little Dorrit , this idealism serves only to highlight Dickens's goal of poignant social commentary. Dickens's fiction, reflecting what he believed to be true of his own life, makes frequent use of coincidence, either for comic effect or to emphasise the idea of providence.

Such coincidences are a staple of 18th-century picaresque novels, such as Henry Fielding's Tom Jones , which Dickens enjoyed reading as a youth. Dickens was the most popular novelist of his time, [] and remains one of the best-known and most-read of English authors. His works have never gone out of print , [] and have been adapted continually for the screen since the invention of cinema, [] with at least motion pictures and TV adaptations based on Dickens's works documented.

Among fellow writers, Dickens has been both lionised and mocked. Leo Tolstoy , G. Chesterton, and George Orwell praised his realism, comic voice, prose fluency, and satiric caricature, as well as his passionate advocacy on behalf of children and the poor.

French writer Jules Verne called Dickens his favourite writer, writing his novels "stand alone, dwarfing all others by their amazing power and felicity of expression. Dickens failed to endow his characters with psychological depth and the novels, "loose baggy monsters", [] betrayed a "cavalier organisation".

It may well be that we love him no less than his compatriots do. And yet how original is Dickens, and how very English! A Christmas Carol is most probably his best-known story, with frequent new adaptations. It is also the most-filmed of Dickens's stories, with many versions dating from the early years of cinema. Dickens catalysed the emerging Christmas as a family-centred festival of generosity, in contrast to the dwindling community-based and church-centred observations, as new middle-class expectations arose.

A prominent phrase from the tale, " Merry Christmas ", was popularised following the appearance of the story. At a time when Britain was the major economic and political power of the world, Dickens highlighted the life of the forgotten poor and disadvantaged within society. Through his journalism he campaigned on specific issues—such as sanitation and the workhouse —but his fiction probably demonstrated its greatest prowess in changing public opinion in regard to class inequalities.

He often depicted the exploitation and oppression of the poor and condemned the public officials and institutions that not only allowed such abuses to exist, but flourished as a result. His most strident indictment of this condition is in Hard Times , Dickens's only novel-length treatment of the industrial working class. In this work, he uses vitriol and satire to illustrate how this marginalised social stratum was termed "Hands" by the factory owners; that is, not really "people" but rather only appendages of the machines they operated.

His writings inspired others, in particular journalists and political figures, to address such problems of class oppression. For example, the prison scenes in The Pickwick Papers are claimed to have been influential in having the Fleet Prison shut down.

Karl Marx asserted that Dickens "issued to the world more political and social truths than have been uttered by all the professional politicians, publicists and moralists put together". Museums and festivals celebrating Dickens's life and works exist in many places with which Dickens was associated. The original manuscripts of many of his novels, as well as printers' proofs, first editions, and illustrations from the collection of Dickens's friend John Forster are held at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

His portrait appeared on the reverse of the note accompanied by a scene from The Pickwick Papers. A theme park, Dickens World , standing in part on the site of the former naval dockyard where Dickens's father once worked in the Navy Pay Office, opened in Chatham in To celebrate the th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens in , the Museum of London held the UK's first major exhibition on the author in 40 years.

Dickens and his publications have appeared on a number of postage stamps including: Dickens published well over a dozen major novels and novellas, a large number of short stories, including a number of Christmas-themed stories, a handful of plays, and several non-fiction books.

Dickens's novels were initially serialised in weekly and monthly magazines, then reprinted in standard book formats. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the television series, see Dickensian TV series.

For other uses, see Dickens disambiguation. For the writer that is natural has fulfilled all the rules of Art. Retrieved 24 May A Life Defined by Writing. The Oxford Companion to Charles Dickens: Embrace the art, not the racist artist".

Retrieved 21 October Retrieved 13 October The Whitston Publishing Company. Recovering the Christian Voice of a Classic Author , p. Retrieved 20 December Editorials and Editorial Writers".

The Story of the Aboriginal Tour of England , pp. Retrieved 28 February The Life of Charles Dickens: The Fleet - A Life p. Archived from the original on 25 December In conversation with Ada Leverson. Anthem Press, , p. Retrieved 7 July Silent Film Stars on the Stages of Seattle: A History of Performances by Hollywood Notables.

Literary Translation in Russia: Retrieved 26 February Retrieved 14 February Archived from the original on 4 December Retrieved 20 April The Books and School of the Ages. Textual Constructions of Reality.

Bidwell, Walter Hilliard , ed. New Series Charles Dickens Obituary. Black, Joseph Laurence In Black, Joseph Laurence. The age of romanticism. The twentieth century and beyond. The Broadview Anthology of British Literature. The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of London. Appreciations and Criticisms of the Works of Charles Dickens. Please try your request again later. Are you an author? Help us improve our Author Pages by updating your bibliography and submitting a new or current image and biography.

Learn more at Author Central. Popularity Popularity Featured Price: Low to High Price: High to Low Avg. Available for download now. This title will be released on October 1, Available for immediate download. A Tale of Two Cities Nov 22, A Christmas Carol Oct 20,

Flag this list

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

Partial Listing of Short Stories and Other Works by Charles Dickens in Alphabetical Order The Battle of Life – Published in , It’s the fourth of his Christmas books. A .

Privacy FAQs

Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth, England on February 7, to John and Elizabeth Dickens. He was the second of eight children. His mother had been in service to Lord Crew, and his father worked as a clerk for the Naval Pay office. John Dickens was imprisoned for debt when Charles was young.

About Our Ads

In December , Dickens's first piece of fiction writing, a short story called "A Dinner at Poplar Walk," appeared in Old Monthly Magazine. The story was published anonymously, and Dickens . Help us improve our Author Pages by updating your bibliography and submitting a new or current image and biography.

Cookie Info

Charles John Huffman Dickens was born on 7 February, in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England (now the Dickens Birthplace Museum) the son of Elizabeth née Barrow () and John Dickens (c) a clerk in the Navy Pay Office. Charles Dickens, in full Charles John Huffam Dickens, (born February 7, , Portsmouth, Hampshire, England—died June 9, , Gad’s Hill, near Chatham, Kent), English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian era.