Charles Dickens

Essay by katib_1980 June 2010

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Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens is one of the most gifted literary minds to come out of the 1800s. His entire works can be seen as a set of social commentaries, because they revolve around issues that engulfed the Victorian era of literature. He has over fifteen novels, numerous stories and travel books to his name, along with many poems too.

Dickens was the second of eight children, born to John and Elizabeth Dickens, in 1812, in Port Sea. He had to see much hardship in life which he drew inspiration from much of his work. His father was imprisoned for debt after which he was forced to work in the office of a blacking manufacturer. The experience is said to have traumatized him for life and influenced his books such as Dombey & Son and The Old Curiosity Shop. It also started a chain reaction which ended in most of the great works penned by Dickens that we know of today.

Dickens was known as the "gothic poet-in-prose" of London (Cunningham p.329). When it comes to journalism, Dickens was an avid documentarist, trained in shorthand Parliamentary reporting and wrote for three different papers. It was based on this experience that he wrote his first novel the Pickwick papers. It was around the late 1830s that he also gained some experience as an editor. He fathered ten sons, all named after famous writers and separated from his wife Catherine. His mistress Ellen Ternan is said to have been the muse for many of the young women described in his books. Some critics go as far as to say he could never "imagine a mature woman," (Cunningham p.330). Dickens died in 1870.

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Dickens was known for his flamboyant style of writing. His particular visionary literary style not...