The Life of Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens was on of the literary geniuses of the 19th century. Dickens was the first main stream writer to reach out to the semiliterate class. He did much to make sure his writings were avaliable to the middle class. He published serial novels on a monthly bases. One shilling (one twentieth of a pount) would buy you the next installmenrt to your novell. In a time when novels were almost thirty times as much as one of these serial novels, it put reading within the reach of the middle class, thus highly popularizing charles dickens works. By the popularity of his work he was able to afford a humble middle class life, which was what he always desired.
Charles Dickens did not begin his life as a humble middle class child. In fact it was quite the oppisite. He was born in Portsmouth, England in 1812. He was the second child of John and Elizabeth Dickens. John Dickens was a clerk in the Navy pay office, In 1817 Charlews got the first taste of the life he would so strongly desire latter in his life. His family moved to Chatham a small portown in England. Charles enjoyed all the comforts of a humble middle class life. Fresh country air, decent schooling, and books to read on sunny afternoons. It was a short idyll, John Dickens money supply was lacking. He was recalled to London and forced to put his family of 6 in a small, smelly, bleak house in the ugly suburb of Camden town. Then in 1824 a event that shaped Charles Dickens view’s on the world occurred. His family increasingly needing of money, sent there second born child to work in a Warren’s Blackening factory . He worked beside ragged urchins, where paserby’s could see him working through the window. The factory was a foul rat infested palace next to the Thames river. Charles was then abandoned by his parents, John Dickens was arrested for debt, and moved himself and his family into the Marshalsea prison, exceppt for charles who was forced to survive on his own on the streets of London. A place where only have the children raised on them would survive to adulthood. Charles proved to be quite adept at surving for a few months when his father was released thanks to an inheritance, but much to Charles dissappointment his mother forced him to remain at the blackening factory. Only after his father retired from the clerk’s office and began the profeession of free-lance journalism was Charles sent back to school. Althought this ordeal only lasted a little more than a year it had a profound affect on a child of twelve. The class based society of London would probaly account for the severe mental affect this had on Charles. It was this time in his life that made him strive for the humble middle-class existence. The feelings created about this time in s Charles’s life can still be seen in his writing s today.
Charles Dickens like all children grew tired of school, he left the Wellington House Academy in London to become a Lawyer’s clerk. It was a dull job that quickly bored Charles. Following in his father’s footsteps he quit his job as a clerk and became a reporter, first a law reporter. This job consisted of him telling the people of London about the new laws passed by parliament. Then he became a short hand reporter for parliament, In fact he was the fastest short hand reporter they had. With his experince as a reporter for pariliment. He obtained a job at the best paper in London, The Morning Chronicle.
During this time he dabbled in amatuer theatrical, and had his first short story published. Street Sketches was the name of this series of stories about life on the streets of London. They were later collected and placed in a booke called sketches by Boz Boz was the psedoname that charles dickes used early in is career. These papers were so popular that Dickes was contracted with George Cruiksahnk, a reenowned cartoonist, to write a series of serial publications called The pickwick Papers. It success was assured when Charles Dickens invented Sam Weller a street wise low life, and paired him with Mr. Pickwick a gentelman and genial man.
Dickens strived for the better life, while his writing career was taking off he still longed for the humble middle class life. This drove him to marry an unassuming woman named Cathrine Hogarth in 1836. This marriage brought him closer to his goal of middle class respectability , but in order to quicken his journey to his goal, he began to take up magazine editing. While still writing the Pickwick papers he also began to publish another serial novel in Bentely’s Miscellany. This called Oliver Twist, it was an enourmous success, as could be seen from the number of pirate plays performed to its script. After this enourmous poularity he published nicholas nickleby in the same magazine. Unfourtantly shortly after his publication of nicholas nickelby the magazine went bankrupt and was stopped. Charles Dickens then started his own magazine, Master Humphrey’s Clock, although short lived he published two stories in it during its forty week lifespan. The Old curiosity shop was a pinaccle of victorion setimentalism and a nightmare of a threatened and dying childohood. Barnaby Rudge: A tale of the riots of ’80, was his first historical novel it was alo published in Master Humphrey’s clock.
By this time Charles had accomplished most of his goal, and with the extra money he had earned writing took a trip to America. On his trip to America he learned a lot about American culture and government. He later used this knowledge to publish a rather contraversal travel guide American Notes Martin Chuzzlewit was a satire on American society, and a failed utopia.
When charles turned thirty he was a pinnacle of victorian society. Almost every on of his writings concerned some social issue. He was heavly involved in charities and pressure groups, and increasingly drawn to theater. During this time he wrote the classical tale A Christmas Carol which he popularized with a public reading every holiday.
Italy was the next major country Charles would visit. This produced a much less contraversal travel guide called Pictures from Italy. During his stay in Italy he began writing another book called Dombey and Son it was a slow porcess without the inspiration form the late night walks on lodon streets, but evetually it was accomplished. In 1950 Charles Dickens published David Copperfield, this was actually his autobiographical novel. After it publication he began his most succesfull magazine editing of his life in the Household words. The magazine mixed entertainment with useful information and ran until arguments with his publishers forced Charles to shut it down. He started it again under the name All The year round. Later in his life Dickens met his old flame Maria Beadnell, who had toyed with him in his early thirties. She had grown plump, and sillly. Charles used her as the chracter in his novel Little Dorrit. After the publication of this book he took the final step toward his dream. He bought the gentlemans country hous that he admired as a child so much. Gad Hill’s Place in Kent. After that he oublished three more novels two set during the french revolution A Tale of Two cities, and Great expectations. This was followed by a time of readings, Charles Dickens could capture an audience with his speaking and hold them for hours according to eyewitness accounts. He began a tour of Scotland, and Ireland just preforming readings. During this time Charles mother, who was currently in India , and his beloved son died. These two deaths probaly drove Charles to write Our Mutual Friend a story charaterized by betryal, violence, and decit. This book was the last one CCCharles completed because he died fuve years later on June 9, 1870. He diend unexpctidly with and unfinished Novel of perversity and murder on his desk.
Charles Dickens spent most of his life trying to gain the respect of the middle class man. Charles Dickens was a humantarian who brought his literature to the middle class and kept it there, his public readings were always forf non profit and he wasz a thespian. His early life was the main reason for this development. His parents abandoment and his job at the shoe blackining factory shaped his views on society and allowed him the versitility to write his novels,a nd papers with the middle and lower class society in mind.