Charles Dickens was born on Feb. 7, 1812, in Portsea and grew up in Chatham. At twelve years old, his father was jailed for debt, and the entire family suffered poverty and humiliation. Young Dickens began working as a clerk in legal offices and soon, by studying shorthand, became a court reporter, eventually in the House of Commons, for various newspapers including The Morning Chronicle. Then he moved into writing. His first success, Sketches by Boz, followed his marriage on April 2, 1836, to Catherine Hogarth. Dickens wrote some twenty novels between Pickwick Papers in 1836-37 and Our Mutual Friend in 1864-65, many published chapter-by-chapter in monthly journals. These great novels include Oliver Twist (1837-39), Nicholas Nickleby (1838-39), Christmas Carol (1843), David Copperfield (1849-50), Bleak House (1852-53), Hard Times (1854), Little Dorrit (1856-57), Great Expectations (1861), and Tale of Two Cities (1859). Dickens visited Italy in 1844 and the United States and Canada in 1842, and America again in 1867-68. He was a hugely successful dramatic reader of his own works. His poems were entirely incidental to his story-telling. Dickens and his wife separated in 1858 after having ten children. Self-driven and -made, having been weakened by decades of hard work, and rich, Dickens died June 9, 1870, at Gadshill.
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- Forster, John. The Life of Dickens. Ed. A. J. Hoppé. 2 vols. 1872-74: London: Dent, 1969. PR 4581 .F7 Victoria College Library
- S., L. "Dickens, Charles." The Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. Sir Leslie Stephen and Sir Sidney Lee. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1921-22. V: 925-37.