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Though Tomalin, whose previous work includes a prize-winning biography of Ternan, rightly celebrates Dickens' genius, she is cleareyed about his faults, as a writer and a human being.

was Dickens's first published story.

The defining moment of Dickens's life occurred when he was 12 years old.

It appeared in the in December 1833.

Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, at Port-sea (later part of Portsmouth) on the southern coast of England. He was the son of a lower-middle-class father whose lack of financial foresight Dickens would later satirize in David Copperfield. Dickens’s father constantly lived beyond his means and was eventually sent to debtor’s prison, a jail specially reserved for people who could not pay back their debts. This deeply humiliated young Dickens, and even as an adult he was rarely able to speak of it. At the age of twelve he was forced to work in a factory for meager wages. Although the experience lasted only a few months, it left a permanent impression on Dickens.

Together they had 10 children before they separated in 1858.

Dickens returned to school after an inheritance relieved his father from debt, but he became an office boy at the age of fifteen. He learned shorthand and became a court reporter, which introduced him to journalism and aroused his contempt for politics. By 1832 he had become a reporter for two London newspapers and, in the following year, began to contribute a series of impressions and sketches to other newspapers and magazines, signing some of them “Boz.” These scenes of London life helped establish Dickens s reputation and were published in 1836 as Sketches by Boz, his first book. On the strength of this success he married Catherine Hogarth. She eventually bore him ten children.

This experience left profound psychological and sociological effects on Charles.

Dickens was driven to achieve success from the days of his boyhood

harles Dickens: the name conjures up visions of plum pudding and Christmas punch, quaint coaching inns and cozy firesides, but also of orphaned and starving children, misers, murderers, and abusive schoolmasters. Dickens was 19th century London personified, he survived its mean streets as a child and, largely self-educated, possessed the genius to become the greatest writer of his age.

Read works by Charles Dickens for free at Read Print.

This childhood poverty and feelings of abandonment, although unknown to his readers until after his death, would be a heavy influence on Dickens' later views on social reform and the world he would create through his fiction.

In 1833 Dickens began to contribute short stories and essays to periodicals.

One hundred whip-smart wisecracks

Mrs Green, however, grew to love David Copperfield when she returned to it in her thirties. In fact, most family members cite it as their favourite book, partly because it was his most autobiographical work. Mrs Jermyn also grew fonder of her heritage, particularly The Pickwick Papers, which she was challenged to read after an uncle told her that “women didn’t get it” (she did, although her uncle died before she could tell him that she enjoyed it).

In 1834, still a newspaper reporter, he adopted the soon to be famous pseudonym Boz.

David Perdue's Charles Dickens Page

In 1851 Dickens was stricken by the death of his father and one of his daughters within two weeks. Partly in response to these losses, he embarked on a series of works that have come to be called his “dark” novels. The first of these, Bleak House (1852-1853), has perhaps the most complicated plot of any English novel, but the narrative twists create a sense of the interrelationship of all segments of English society. The novel offers a humbling lesson about social snobbery and personal selfishness.

Dickens's first book, a collection of stories titled , was published in 1836.

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