Photograph of English novelist Charles Dickens.

Charles Dickens

(1812 - 1870)

At the age of twelve in 1824, Charles Dickens went to work in a factory while his father went to a debtors’ prison. Three years later, he finished school, finding work first as a clerk in a solicitor’s office and then as a court stenographer. He gained renown for publishing The Pickwick Papers in serial form from 1836 to 1837, which was soon followed by Oliver Twist in 1838 and Nicholas Nickleby in 1839. Both prolific and popular, Dickens is generally considered the greatest novelist of the Victorian era, with his books David Copperfield, Bleak House, A Tale of Two Cities, and Great Expectations among the seminal works of the period. He was also a lifelong ally of social causes, serving more than a decade as director of a reformatory home for female juvenile delinquents. In his later years, Dickens gave hundreds of public readings that drew large crowds of adoring fans on both sides of the Atlantic.

All Writing

I wants to make your flesh creep.

—Charles Dickens, 1837

Charity begins at home, and justice begins next door.

—Charles Dickens, 1843

Voices In Time

1842 | Liverpool

Steerage Class

Charles Dickens crosses the Atlantic.More

Voices In Time

1858 | London

Autopsy Report

Charles Dickens on being unhappily married.More


Alfred D’Orsay Tennyson Dickens, Henry Fielding Dickens, Edward Bulwer-Lytton Dickens, Walter Landor Dickens, and Sydney Smith Haldimand Dickens were among the names of Charles Dickens’ sons. Among the brothers of Walter Whitman were George Washington Whitman, Andrew Jackson Whitman, and Thomas Jefferson Whitman.


Among the acts advertised for a show in the Isle of Wight in 1849 by the “Unparalleled Necromancer Rhia Rhama Rhoos” were the Pudding Wonder and the Pyramid Wonder. The latter, it was noted, had been bought for five thousand guineas from “a Chinese Mandarin, who died of grief immediately after parting with the secret.” The performer and author of the ad copy was Charles Dickens.

Voices In Time

1851 | Broadstairs

On Vacation

Charles Dickens hits the beach.More

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