Skip to Content (Press Enter)



Charles Dickens, one of the most popular and prolific writers of the nineteenth century, was born in 1812, in Portsea, England. In 1824, his father was arrested for debt and while he was imprisoned, Dickens, then only 12, was forced to work at a blacking factory. After his father was released from prison, Dickens attended school in London. In 1827, he was taken out of school and worked in a law office and later as a freelance reporter. In 1833, he began publishing The Pickwick Papers in monthly installments. Over the next six years, Dickens published four novels in serial form including Oliver Twist (1837-1839) and Nicholas Nickleby (1838-1839). In 1842, he went on a lecture tour of the United States and Canada, where he urged the abolition of slavery. He wrote A Christmas Carol, the first of his popular Christmas books, in 1844. In 1853, Dickens gave the first of many public readings from his work. During this period, Dickens wrote his most successful novels, including David Copperfield (1849-1850), Bleak House (1852-1853), Hard Times (1854), A Tale of Two Cities (1859) and Great Expectations (1860-1861). After several tours of the British Isles and America to give public readings, Dickens suffered a mild stroke. He died in London in 1870, leaving his final novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood unfinished.