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Charles Dickens

Every baby born into the world is a finer one than the last.
- Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby

Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth in 1812, then his family moved to London in 1822. Soon thereafter, his father was sent to Marshalsea Debtors' Prison for three months, and young Charles was employed in a blacking warehouse, labeling bottles. In 1827 he became a solicitor's clerk, and five years later a parliamentary reporter. He published his first story in 1833, and the following year became a reporter on the Morning Chronicle. In 1836 he married Catherine Hogarth, the daughter of the editor of the Evening Chronicle, and together they had ten children.

Dickens first major novel, Pickwick Papers, was published in 1837. From then on, Dickens published fifteen novels (often in weekly or monthly installments in periodicals and newspapers), an autobiography, edited weekly periodicals, and wrote travel books. A theatre enthusiast, he wrote many plays, and he performed before Queen Victoria in 1851. In 1853 he gave the first of many public readings of his work.

Dickens' grave concerns about social injustice were reflected in his written work, and those concerns carried over into his everyday life. During his life, he pressed for slum clearance, educational reforms, and improved sanitary measures for the poor. Dickens was a patron of the Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, and was instrumental in encouraging the Little Sisters of the Poor to come from France to England to establish a home for the old and destitute. In the United States, Dickens lectured against slavery.

Dickens was estranged from his wife in 1858, and maintained relations with his mistress, the actress Ellen Ternan, until his death of a stroke in 1870. He is buried at Westminster Abbey.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2002.

Charles Dickens Facts

Birth Name Charles John Huffham Dickens
BirthdayFebruary 7, 1812
BirthplaceLandport, Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Date of deathJune 9, 1870 (age 58)

Selected Filmography

The Greatest Journeys on Earth: England The Journeys of Charles Dickens
David Copperfield
The Charles Dickens Collection, Volume 1
Charles Dickens Collector's Set 2
Charles Dickens Masterworks Collection
Charles Dickens: The Man That Asked for More
Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol
The Charles Dickens Collection, Vol. 2
The Charles Dickens Collection, Vol. 1
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