Charles Dickens’ Biography
Born- Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England in 1812.
Father and Mother- His father’s name was John Dickens and his Mother’s name was Elizabeth Dickens. His father was a clerk in the Naval Pay office. In 1824, Dickens’ father was imprisoned for debt. The entire family, except Dickens, were sent to Marshalsea Prison along with their father. Dickens was sent to work in a blacking warehouse, where he pasted labels on bottles.
Education- Dickens attended a school in London between 1824 and 1827 when his family condition improved. Dickens was forced to leave school again in 1827 when his family was evicted from their home in Somers Town for unpaid rent dues. Dickens learned shorthand and began his career as a journalist, He worked as a parliamentary reporter for two London newspapers.
Love Life-Charles Dickens fell in love with Maria Beadnell. Dickens’ social status was low so Maria’s father objected to the match.
First Literary Experiment- Dickens wrote a series of sketches about London life for a newspaper ‘Morning Chronicle’. This gave rise to ‘Sketches by Boz’. This was his first literary experiment. Boz was his family name which was adopted as a pseudonym. It was followed by his first novel- ‘The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club’ in 1836-37. It is considered that the novel was published in serial form in monthly installments.
Dickens was the first to make serialization of novels profitable and was able to expand his audience to include those, who could not normally afford such literary works.
Matrimonial Life- Dickens married Catherine Hogarth. She was the daughter of the editor of the Evening Chronicle on 2nd April 1836. That marriage was not successful, they separated many years later.
Literary Career- Dickens’ fame as a novelist was established with his novels- Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby. Oliver Twist is a story of an orphan. This novel was written in response to the New Poor Laws of 1834.
He also wrote Christmas stories, out of them the most known is A Christmas Carol.
A Tale of Two Cities
Journeys- In 1840s Dickens travelled abroad. At first, he went to America and then through Europe.1850s was the very sad decade for him. His daughter and father died in 1850s. His wife separated from him during that decade. The result was that his writings became more serious.
Death- Charles Dickens died of a stroke in 1870. He was working on his unfinished novel ‘The Mystery of Edwin Drood’