Charles DickensCharles John Huffam Dickens was born February 7, 1812, in Ports Mouth,Hampshire. In his infancy his family moved to Chatham, where he spent hishappiest years and often refers to this time in his novels (1817-1822).From 1822 to 1860 he lived in London, after which he permanently moved to aquiet country cottage in Glads Hill, on the outskirts of Chatham. He grewup in a middle class family. His father was a clerk in the navy pay officeand was well paid, but his extravagant living style often brought thefamily to financial disaster. The family reached financial “rock bottom”in 1824. Charles was taken out of school and sent to work in a factorydoing manual labour, while his father went to prison for his debt. Theseinternal disasters shocked Charles greatly. He refers to his workingexperiences in his writings. Although he hated doing labour, he gained asympathetic knowledge into the life of the labour class. He also bringsforth the images of prison and of the lost and oppressed child in manynovels. His schooling ended at 15, and he became a clerk in a solicitor’soffice, then a short hand reporter in the lawcourts (where he gained muchknowledge of legalities which he used in his novels), and finally likeother members of his family, a newspaper reporter. Here, he got his firsttaste of journalism and fell in love with it immediately.
Drawn to the theatre, Charles Dickens almost pursued the career of anactor In 1833, he began sending short stories and descriptive essays tosmall magazines and newspapers. These writings attracted attention andwere published in 1836 under the name, Sketches by “Boz”. At the same time,he was offered a small job of writing…
…ech, “From these garish lights I vanish now for evermore…”. Charlesdickens died suddenly at Gad’s Hill on June 9, 1870, and was buried inWestminster Abbey. People all over the world mourned the loss of “afriend” as well as a great entertainer and creative artist, and one of theacknowledged influences upon the spirit of the age.
Charles Dickens is regarded as the greatest English novelist. He had awider popularity than any other author before him or during his life time.His works appealed to everyone, a peasant, or the Queen of England. This,and the quality of his work enabled his fame to spread world wide. Hispopularity has never ceased, and he is as popular today, as he ever was.His compassion and intelligence enriched his novels and made him one of thegreat forces in 19th century literature, an influential conscience of hisage.