Charles Dickens

A Biography

Early Years

  • Father went to prison for debt, followed by the rest of his family.
  • Charles was forced to work in a factory for months to pay his family's debts
  • Work experience left him mentally scarred for life
  • Started his career by publishing "sketches", which were brief, informal stories and essays for newspapers and magazines.
  • First publication was Sketches by Boz.



  • Wrote all his major works installments, which gave readers a cheap source of literature and him a steady flow of income.
  • The Arabian Nights was probably the largest influence on his writing.
  • Developed his characters through actions in the plot rather than dialogue and description.
  • Created idealized characters and sentimentalized scenes to contrast with his ugly social truths and caricatures.
  • Very critical of poverty and social stratification in Victorian society, "Virtue shows quite as well in rags and patches as she does in purple and fine linen"
  • Deeply unhappy with England's monarchy and corruption.
  • Frequently focused on the theme of corruption.