charles dickens biography


This report will talk about the life of a famous author, Charles Dickens. Itwill tell you about his early, middle, and later years of his life. It will alsotalk about one of his great works of literature. In conclusion, this report willshow a comparison of his work to his life.

Early Life

Charles Dickens was born at Landport, in Portsea, on February 7, 1812. Hisfather was a clerk in the Navy Pay-Office, and was temporarily on duty in theneighborhood when Charles was born. His name was John Dickens. He spent time inprison for debts. But, even when he was free he lacked the money to support hisfamily. Then, when Charles was two they moved to London. 1Just before he started to toddle, he stepped into the glare of footlights. Henever stepped out of it until he died. He was a good man, as men go in thebewildering world of ours, brave, transparent, tender-hearted, and honorable.

Dickens was always a little too irritable because he was a little too happy.

Like the over-wrought child in society, he was splendidly sociable, and in andyet sometimes quarrelsome. In all the practical relations of his life he waswhat the child is at a party, genuinely delighted, delightful, affectionate andhappy, and in some strange way fundamentally sad and dangerously close to tears.

At the age of 12 Charles worked in a London factory pasting labels on bottles ofshoe polish. He held the job only for a few months, but the misery of theexperience remain with him all his life. 3Dickens attended school off and on until he was 15, and then left for good. Heenjoyed reading and was especially fond of adventure stories, fairy tales, andnovels. He was influenced by such earlier English writers as William Shakespeare,Tobias Smollet, and Henry Fielding. However, most of the knowledge he later usedas an author came from his environment around him.

Middle Life

Dickens became a newspaper writer and reporter in the late 1820’s. Hespecialized in covering debates in Parliament, and also wrote feature articles.

His work as a reporter sharpened his naturally keen ear for conversation andhelped develop his skill in portraying his characters speach realistically. Italso increased his ability to observe and to write swiftly and clearly. Dickens’first book, Sketches by Boz (1836) consisted of articles he wrote for theMonthly Magazine and the London Evening Chronicles.5On April 2, 1836 he married Catherine Hogarth. This was just a few days beforethe anoucement that on the 31st he would have his first work printed in ThePosthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. And this was the beginning of his career.

Then, at 24, Dickens became famous and was so until he died. He won his firstliterary fame with The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. Published inmonthly parts in 1836 and 1837 the book describes the humorous adventure andmisadventures of the English Countryside. After a slow start, The PickwickPapers as the book was usually called gained a popularity seldom matched in thehistory of literature. 7Then in 1837, Catherine’s sister Mary, died. Because of her death Dickens’suffered a lot of grief. This led some scholars to believe that Dickens lovedMary more than Catherine. Catherine was a good woman but she lacked intelligence.

Dickens and Catherine had 10 children. Then later in 1858, the couple seperated.

Later Life

His later years was basically consisting of two main additions to his previousactivites.

The first was a series of public readings and lectures which he began giving itsystematically. And second, he was a successive editor. Dickens had been manythings in his life; he was a reporter , an actor, a conjurer, a poet, a lecturer,and a editor and he enjoyed all of those things. Dickens had a remarkable mental and physical energy. He recorded all hisactivites in thousands of letter, many of which made delightful readings. Hespent much of his later life with crowded social friends from arts andliterature. He also went to the theater as often as he could, cause he loveddrama. Dickens also produced and acted in small theaters to give public readingsof his work.10Besides doing all this after his retirement he got involved in various charities. These charities included schools for poor children and a loan society toenable the poor to prove to Australia. 11Then about 1865 his health started to decline and he died of a stroke on June 9,1870. 12Dicken’s WorkThe Great ExpectationsThis story talks about a guy who is in love with a girl. It is the theme of ayouths discovery of the realities of life. An unknown person provides the younghero, Pip, with money so that he can live as a gentleman. Pip’s pride isshattered when he learns that he loses Estella forever, the source of his “greatexpectation”. Only by painfully revising his values does Pip reestablish hislife on a foundation of sympathy, rather than on vanity, possesions, and socialposition.


His work of Great Expectation is very related with his life. It deals with thesame problems he faced when he lost Catherine and how his life was before hebecame rich and famous. He also created scenes and descriptions of places thathave longed delighted readers. Dickens was a keen observer of life and had agreat understanding of humanity, especially of young people. The warmth andhumor of his personality appeared in all of his works. Perhaps in no other largebody of fiction does the reader receive so strong and agreeable impression ofthe person behind the story.

  1. Endnotes1. G. K. Chesterton, Charles Dickens The Last of The GreatMen, American Book-Stratford Press, NY., 1942 pg.192. Ibid, pg. 21-223.
  2. Johnson, Edgar, His Tragedy and Triumph. Rev. ed. Viking, 1977, pg. 204. Ibid, pg. 275.
  3. World Book Encyclopedia, Random House, NY., 1990 pg. 1936.
  4. G. K. Chesterton, Charles Dickens The Last of the GreatMen, American Book-Stratford Press, NY., 1942 pg. 507.
  5. World Book Encyclopedia, Random House, NY., 1990 pg. 1938.
  6. Johnson, Edgar, His Tragedy and Triumph. Rev. ed. Viking, 1977, pg. 539.
  7. G. K. Chesterton, Charles Dickens The Last of the GreatMen, American Book-Stratford Press, NY., 1942 pg. 16710.
  8. World Book Encyclopedia, Random House, NY., 1990 pg.19511. Ibid12. Ibid


  1. Chesterton, G.K., “The Last of the Great Men” AmericanBook-Stratford Press, NY., 1942.
  2. Johnson, Edgar, “His Tragedy and Triumph” Rev. ed. Viking, 1977.
  3. World Book Encyclopedia, Random House, NY., 1990Category: English

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