The Life of Charles Dickens


This report will talk about the life of a famous author,

Charles Dickens. It will tell you about his early, middle,

and later years of his life. It will also talk about one of

his great works of literature. In conclusion, this report

will show a comparison of his work to his life.


Charles Dickens was born at Landport, in Portsea, on

February 7, 1812. His father was a clerk in the Navy

Pay-Office, and was temporarily on duty in the neighborhood

when Charles was born. His name was John Dickens. He spent

time in prison for debts. But, even when he was free

he lacked the money to support his family. Then, when

Charles was two they moved to London. 1

Just before he started to toddle, he stepped into the glare

of footlights. He never stepped out of it until he died. He

was a good man, as men go in the bewildering 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 and yet sometimes quarrelsome.

In all the practical relations of his life he was what the

child is at a party, genuinely delighted, delightful,

affectionate and happy, and in some strange way

fundamentally sad and dangerously close to tears. 2

At the age of 12 Charles worked in a London factory pasting

labels on bottles of shoe polish. He held the job only for a

few months, but the misery of the experience remain with him

all his life. 3

Dickens attended school off and on until he was 15, and then

left for good. He enjoyed reading and was especially fond of

adventure stories, fairy tales, and novels. He was

influenced by such earlier English writers as William

Shakespeare, Tobias Smollet, and Henry Fielding. However,

most of the knowledge he later used as an author came from

his environment around him. 4


Dickens became a newspaper writer and reporter in the late

1820's. He specialized in covering debates in Parliament,

and also wrote feature articles. His work as a reporter

sharpened his naturally keen ear for conversation and helped

develop his skill in portraying his characters speach

realistically. It also increased his ability to observe and

to write swiftly and clearly. Dickens' first book, Sketches

by Boz (1836) consisted of articles he wrote for the Monthly

Magazine and the London Evening Chronicles.5

On April 2, 1836 he married Catherine Hogarth. This was just

a few days before the anoucement that on the 31st he would

have his first work printed in The Posthumous Papers of the

Pickwick Club. And this was the beginning of his career. 6

Then, at 24, Dickens became famous and was so until he died.

He won his first literary fame with The Posthumous Papers of

the Pickwick Club. Published in monthly parts in 1836 and

1837 the book describes the humorous adventure and

misadventures of the English Countryside. After a slow

start, The Pickwick Papers as the book was usually called

gained a popularity seldom matched in the history of

literature. 7

Then 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 loved Mary 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. 8


His later years was basically consisting of two main

additions to his previous activites.

The first was a series of public readings and lectures which

he began giving it systematically. And second, he was a

successive editor. Dickens had been many things 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. 9

Dickens had a remarkable mental and physical energy. He

recorded all his activites in thousands of letter, many of

which made delightful readings. He spent much of his later

life with crowded social friends from arts and literature.

He also went to the theater as often as he could, cause he

loved drama. Dickens also produced and acted in small

theaters to give public readings of his


Besides doing all this after his retirement he got involved

in various