Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth in 1812. He had a really unhappy childhood since his father was imprisoned for debt. When the family finances were put partly to rights and his was released, the twelve-year-old Charles was wounded by his mother’s insistence that he had to continue to work at the factory.
Between 1824 and 1827 Dickens was sent to a school in London. At fifteen he found employement as an office boy at an attorney’s and studied at night.
By 1832 he had become a studied shorthand reporter of Parliamentary debates in the House of Commons, he also started to work as a reporter for a newspaper.
In 1833 his first story appeared and in 1836 he adopted the pen name Boz publishing ‘Sketches by Boz’. It was immediately followed by ‘The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club’ (humoristic and satirical works).
In 1836 Dickens married Catherine Hogarth and he became editor of ‘Bentley’s Miscellany’. After the success of Pickwick, Dickens started a career as a novelist although he continued his journalistic and editorial activities. In 1837 he began Oliver Twist. In 1839 he published Nicholas Nickleby. In 1844 it was published his first enormously popular book: A Christmas Carol.
Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Little Dorrit became the symbols of an exploited childhood confronted with the grim and bitter reality of slums and factories. Whereas, Bleak House, Hard Times, Great Expectations deal with social issues.
He died in 1870 in London.
2. Characters and didactic aim
Dickens shifted the social frontiers of the novel: the 18th century realistic upper-middle-class world was replaced by that of the lower orders.
He created caricatures trying to arouse the reader’s interest middle and lower classes in modern London. He was always on the side of the poor and the working class.