Here are some interesting facts about the Victorian writer, Charles Dickens, the author of many classic novels, including, David Copperfield, Oliver Twist and Great Expectations. Often described as the ‘quintessential Victorian author’, Dickens’s stories are enjoyed just as much today as they were by his nineteenth century readership.
- Charles Dickens was born on 7th February 1812 in Portsmouth.
- Charles Dickens came from a poor family, but he was lucky enough to attend school.
- Unfortunately, after his father was jailed for having ‘bad debts’, Charles Dickens was forced to leave school and start work in a blacking factory (a boot polish factory). He worked there for three years. The conditions were very poor and Charles Dickens suffered from loneliness.
- Dickens started to write as a journalist. He contributed articles to journals called The Mirror of Parliament and The True Sun.
- In 1833 he was employed as the parliamentary reporter for The Morning Chronicle newspaper. He also started to produce a series of sketches. He called himself Boz when he published these.
- In 1836 Charles Dickens married Catherine Hogarth. She was the daughter of one of his editors, George Hogarth.
- Later in 1836, a story by Dickens, The Pickwick Papers was published as a serial. This proved to be very popular and Dickens started to become famous.
- Charles Dickens went on to produce a massive amount of material during his lifetime. He published fifteen novels, wrote hundreds of short stories and non-fiction pieces, lectured and performed both in England and in the United States, wrote plays, wrote thousands of letters and edited two journals.
- After having ten children together, Charles Dickens and Catherine Hogarth separated in 1858. Dickens then had a relationship with Ellen Ternan, an actress.
- Dickens was interested in the paranormal. He was a member of The Ghost Club.
- In 1865 Charles Dickens was involved in the Staplehurst Rail Crash. His was the only first class carriage to avoid running off the tracks. Apparently, Dickens helped many of the wounded passengers before rescuers arrived.
- Charles Dickens died on 9th June 1870. He suffered a stroke after completing a full day’s work on his novel in progress, Edwin Drood. He was buried in Poet’s Corner of Westminster Abbey.
- Charles Dickens has appeared on the British £10 note.
The Novels of Charles Dickens
Here is a list of the novels written by Charles Dickens. Many of these were first published as a serial – the stories came out chapter by chapter (just like the episodes of a television series).
- The Pickwick Papers
- The Adventures of Oliver Twist
- The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby
- The Old Curiosity Shop
- Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of Eighty
- A Christmas Carol
- The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit
- The Chimes
- The Cricket on the Hearth
- The Battle of Life
- Dombey and Son
- The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain
- David Copperfield
- Bleak House
- Hard Times: For These Times
- Little Dorrit
- A Tale of Two Cities
- Great Expectations
- Our Mutual Friend
- The Mystery of Edwin Drood (never completed by Dickens)
Click here to visit the Primary Facts page on Famous Victorians.