Charles John Huffam Dickens was born on February 7, 1812. He was a popular English writer as well as a critic of the social norms. His characters became world treasures. His writings were highly enjoyed during his lifetime and by the twentieth century is genius was acknowledge by critics and scholars. His novels and writing are required reading in literature classes.
He began working in a factory when his father was thrown in to debtor's prison. He had little formal education but he had a will to succeed. He edited a weekly journal for 20 years, wrote over 15 novels and hundreds of short stories. His non-fiction articles were very insightful and he lectured extensively. He campaigned for children's rights, social reforms and education.
In 1836 Dickens wrote the Pickwick Papers. These became well known for their humor, satire, and observation of society. His novels were published in month installments and Dickens pioneered the serial publication of narrative fiction. Serial writing allowed Dickens to modify his plot and characters from week to week.
A Christmas Carol is one of the most influential stories ever written. It inspires movies, adaptations and creative stage plays. Leo Tolstoy, George Orwell and others emulate Dickens for his realism, prose style, comedy and social criticism.
In 1816 Catherine Thomson Hogath and Charles Dickens married. Ten children soon followed. However, in 1858 Dickens separated from Catherine and began living with Ellen Teman.
In 1865 Dickens was involved in the Staplehurst rail crash. The carriages of the train plunged off the cast iron bridge and the only carriage to remain the track was Dickens'. He comforted and tended the wounded and dying and is credited with saving some lives. He wrote a short ghost story The Signal-Man based on this accident.
Dickens' major works A Tale of Two Cities in 1859 and Great Expectations in 1861 received outstanding success. He also contributed to Household Words in 1850-1959 and All the Year Round in 1858 to 1870.
On June 8, 18790 Dickens suffered another stroke while he was working on Edwin Drood. He did not regain consciousness and died on June 9, 1870. He was only 58 and died as one of England's greatest treasures.