Charles dickens biography essay book
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He created some of the world’s best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. Born in Portsmouth, Dickens left school to work in a factory when his father was incarcerated in a debtors’ prison. Dickens’s literary success began with the 1836 serial publication of The Pickwick Papers. Within a few years he had become an international literary celebrity, famous for his humour, satire, and keen observation of character and society. Dickens was regarded as the literary colossus of his age.
His 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, remains popular and continues to inspire adaptations in every artistic genre. In January 1815, John Dickens was called back to London, and the family moved to Norfolk Street, Fitzrovia. Charles spent time outdoors, but also read voraciously, including the picaresque novels of Tobias Smollett and Henry Fielding, as well as Robinson Crusoe and Gil Blas. On Sundays—with his sister Frances, free from her studies at the Royal Academy of Music—he spent the day at the Marshalsea. Dickens later used the prison as a setting in Little Dorrit.
The blacking-warehouse was the last house on the left-hand side of the way, at old Hungerford Stairs. It was a crazy, tumble-down old house, abutting of course on the river, and literally overrun with rats. When the warehouse was moved to Chandos Street in the smart, busy district of Covent Garden the boys worked in a room in which the window gave onto the street and little audiences gathered and watched them at work—in Dickens biographer Simon Callow’s estimation, the public display was «a new refinement added to his misery». On the expectation of this legacy, Dickens was released from prison. Under the Insolvent Debtors Act, Dickens arranged for payment of his creditors, and he and his family left Marshalsea, for the home of Mrs Roylance. Charles’s mother, Elizabeth Dickens, did not immediately support his removal from the boot-blacking warehouse. This influenced Dickens’s view that a father should rule the family, and a mother find her proper sphere inside the home: «I never afterwards forgot, I never shall forget, I never can forget, that my mother was warm for my being sent back».
His mother’s failure to request his return was a factor in his dissatisfied attitude towards women. Dickens was eventually sent to the Wellington House Academy in Camden Town, where he remained until March 1827, having spent about two years there. He did not consider it to be a good school: «Much of the haphazard, desultory teaching, poor discipline punctuated by the headmaster’s sadistic brutality, the seedy ushers and general run-down atmosphere, are embodied in Mr Creakle’s Establishment in David Copperfield. Dickens worked at the law office of Ellis and Blackmore, attorneys, of Holborn Court, Gray’s Inn, as a junior clerk from May 1827 to November 1828. He was a gifted mimic and impersonated those around him: clients, lawyers, and clerks.
He went to theatres obsessively—he claimed that for at least essay years he went biography the theatre every single day. In 1830, Dickens met his first love, Maria Beadnell, thought to have been the model for the character Dora in David Copperfield. Maria’s parents book of the courtship and ended the relationship by sending her to school in Paris. Charles 1832, at age 20, Dickens was energetic dickens increasingly self-confident.
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He enjoyed mimicry and popular entertainment, lacked a clear, specific sense of what he wanted to become, and yet knew he wanted fame. Hogarth invited Dickens to contribute Street Sketches and Dickens became a regular visitor to his Fulham house, excited by Hogarth’s friendship with a hero of his, Walter Scott, and enjoying the company of Hogarth’s three daughters—Georgina, Mary, and nineteen-year-old Catherine. Dickens made rapid progress both professionally and socially. In November 1836, Dickens accepted the position of editor of Bentley’s Miscellany, a position he held for three years, until he fell out with the owner. George Hogarth, editor of the Evening Chronicle.
His success as a novelist continued. The young Queen Victoria read both Oliver Twist and Pickwick, staying up until midnight to discuss them. In the midst of all his activity during this period, there was discontent with his publishers and John Macrone was bought off, while Richard Bentley signed over all his rights in Oliver Twist. Dickens was perturbed by the return to power of the Tories, whom Dickens described as «people whom, politically, I despise and abhor. He had been tempted to stand for the Liberals in Reading, but decided against it due to financial straits. On 22 January 1842, Dickens and his wife arrived in Boston, Massachusetts aboard the RMS Britannia during their first trip to the United States and Canada.
Sketch of Dickens in 1842 during his first American tour. He described his impressions in a travelogue, American Notes for General Circulation. During his American visit, Dickens spent a month in New York City, giving lectures, raising the question of international copyright laws and the pirating of his work in America. The popularity he gained caused a shift in his self-perception according to critic Kate Flint, who writes that he «found himself a cultural commodity, and its circulation had passed out his control», causing him to become interested in and delve into themes of public and personal personas in the next novels.
Dickens portrait by Margaret Gillies, 1843. Painted during the period when he was writing A Christmas Carol, it was in the Royal Academy of Arts’ 1844 summer exhibition. Soon after his return to England, Dickens began work on the first of his Christmas stories, A Christmas Carol, written in 1843, which was followed by The Chimes in 1844 and The Cricket on the Hearth in 1845. Dickens’s career as his novels became more serious in theme and more carefully planned than his early works. It had been carried out by Thomas Powell, a clerk, who was on friendly terms with Dickens and who had acted as mentor to Augustus when he started work. Angela Burdett Coutts, heir to the Coutts banking fortune, approached Dickens in May 1846 about setting up a home for the redemption of fallen women of the working class.
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