Wednesday, 9 June 2010
On this day...
One of the popular British authors, and a known philanthropist, Charles Dickens, died in 1870, at the age of 58. Describing himself as a 'very small and not-over-particularly-taken-care-of boy', Dickens initial promise, beginning with a few years spent in private education, were soon shattered as his father, joined rapidly by the rest of the family, was imprisioned in Marshelsea debtor's prison. Dickens himself found work in a boot-blacking factory and subsequently as a junior clerk in a law firm and then freelance journalist, before publishing his first story, 'A Dinner at Poplar Walk', in 1833. His political periodical, collected in 'Sketches by Boz', soon led to the serialisation on his first novel, 'The Pickwick Papers', in 1836.
Thus followed a burgeoning literary career, and following tours in America, a pet raven, and ten children later, Dickens had written more than a dozen major novels, numerous short stories, and even some poetry. He also helped to promote and initiate the careers of fellow writers, as publisher and editor of literary journals, 'Household Words', and 'All the Year Round'. Perhaps more so than many others, Dickens was an author driven by experience, much of which can be directly equated with his novels, as works such as 'Little Dorrit', 'Bleak House', and 'Dombey and Son' so cleverly satirise the legal system in which he was employed. Likewise, his most autobiographical 'David Copperfield', and others, including ''Oliver Twist' and 'Hard Times' reflect the often dismal nature of the society in which he was brought up.