Who was Charles Dickens?
Charles Dickens, born on February 7, 1812, in Portsmouth, is considered the most famous of the writers of the Victorian era in England, as well as one of the undoubted universal classics of literature.
Son of John Dickens, clerk of the Navy Pagaduría in the port arsenal of Portsmouth, and Elizabeth Barrow. He spent most of his childhood in London and Kent, places that appeared frequently in his works.
His life changes radically due to the arrest of his father for a gambling debt, which forces him to work in a footwear shoe factory.
This episode marks his life as a writer since most of his work denounced the deplorable conditions in which the lower classes lived, which in many cases caused scandal.
From a humble family, his father ended up being imprisoned due to debt problems, which led Dickens, still a child, to look for work in a dye factory.
This was an experience that he would write later, although adding large doses of fiction, in one of his best-known works: David Copperfield (1850).
He learned shorthand and, little by little, managed to make a living with what he wrote. He began writing court reports to later access a position as a parliamentary journalist.
Finally, under the pseudonym of Boz, he published a series of articles inspired by the daily life of London.
The serial publication of virtually all his novels created a special relationship with his audience, on which he came to exert an important influence, and in his novels, he spoke more or less directly about the issues of his time.
In 1827 he got a job as a legal secretary and, after studying for a brief period of time the trade, became a journalist in Parliament.
At that time he met Maria Beadnell, but his family rejected him as a suitor so, after four years of relationships, they separated.
By then I was working as a reporter in a publication of his uncle, The Mirror of Parliament, and for the liberal newspaper The Morning Chronicle.
In December 1833, he published, under the pseudonym Boz, the first of a series of original descriptions of London’s daily life in The Monthly Magazine, edited by his friend George Hogarth.
After that, an editor of the city commissioned him a volume of new notes in this style, which should accompany the illustrations of the famous artist George Cruikshank.
The first works that gave him a certain reputation were the small stories signed under the pseudonym of Boz and in which he described the daily life of the city of London, all dressed with a certain irony and humor that would soon make it a popular reading.
The notes of Boz (1836) was his first published work. Dickens’s style perfectly adapted to the rhythm of the serial of the time, with chapters published each week in which he tried to capture the reader until the next issue.
It is possible that Dickens was the inventor of the Hook or Cliffhanger, so common in modern television language.
This success allowed him to marry Catherine Hogarth in that same year and encouraged him to prepare a similar collaboration, this time with the artist Robert Seymour.
When Seymour committed suicide, another artist, H. K. Browne, nicknamed Phiz, who would later make many of the illustrations of Dickens’ latest works, took his place.
The result of this collaboration was Papeles posstumos of the Pickwick club (1836-1837) whose success consolidated the fame of the novelist, and influenced notably in the publishing industry of his country, because his innovative format, that of a very inexpensive monthly, marked a line followed by other publishers.
In 1843 he published what would be his best-known work, Cuento de Navidad, a children’s work that has been adapted on countless occasions to film, theater and television. Other outstanding works in the production of Dickens would be Great Expectations (1861), Difficult Times (1854) or History of Two Cities (1859)
In addition to novels, Dickens worked as a columnist in several newspapers and as editor of weeklies, wrote several travel books, American Notes (1842), and maintained a theater company in which he adapted his own works.
In 1858 he undertook a trip through the United Kingdom and Ireland, where he publicly read fragments of his work. After acquiring the house where he had spent his childhood, Gad’s Hill Place, in 1856, soon made it his permanent residence.
The tour that began in 1867 by the United States confirmed his worldwide notoriety, and so, was applauded in long and exhausting lectures, enthused the public with the readings of his work and even came to be received by Queen Victoria I of England shortly before his death, accelerated by the aftermath that a railway accident left in his already broken health.
On June 9, 1865, he suffered a railroad crash in the Staplehurst accident in which the first seven carriages of the train fell from a bridge that was being repaired. The only first-class car that did not fall was where Dickens was.
In 1869 he presides over the Birmingham and Midland Institute.
Charles Dickens died at Gad’s Hill Place, Higham, Kent, England, on June 9, 1870, after suffering a stroke and was buried five days later at Westminster Abbey.
- Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (1836-1837)
- Oliver Twist (1837-1839)
- Nicholas Nickleby (1838-1839)
- The antique shop (1840-1841)
- Barnaby Rudge (1841)
- A Christmas Carol (1843) (Christmas Song or A Christmas Tale)
- Martin Chuzzlewit (1843-1844)
- Dombey and son (1846-1848)
- David Copperfield (1849-1850)
- Desolate House (1852-1853)
- Hard Times (1854)
- Little Dorrit (1855-1857)
- History of two cities (1859)
- Great hopes (1860-1861)
- Our common friend (1864-1865)
- The guardavía (1866)