Portal:Charles Dickens

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Charles Dickens FRSA (/ˈɑːrlz ˈdɪkɪnz/; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870), pen-name "Boz", was the foremost English novelist of the Victorian era, as well as a vigorous social campaigner. Considered one of the English language's greatest writers, he was acclaimed for his rich storytelling and memorable characters, and achieved massive worldwide popularity in his lifetime.

Later critics, beginning with George Gissing and G. K. Chesterton, championed his mastery of prose, his endless invention of memorable characters and his powerful social sensibilities, but fellow writers such as George Henry Lewes, Henry James and Virginia Woolf fault his work for sentimentality, implausible occurrence and grotesque characters.

The popularity of Dickens' novels and short stories has meant that not one has ever gone out of print. Dickens wrote serialised novels, the usual format for fiction at the time, and each new part of his stories was eagerly anticipated by the reading public.

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"Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There's no better rule."
Great Expectations (1860-1861)

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The Frozen Deep was a play, originally staged as an amateur theatrical, written by Wilkie Collins along with the substantial guidance of Charles Dickens. Dickens's hand was so prominent -- adding a proem, altering lines, and attending to most of the props and sets -- that the principal edition of the play is entitled "Under the Management of Charles Dickens." Although its original audience, as staged in Dickens's home Tavistock House, was modest, the play grew in influence through a series of outside performances, including one before Queen Victoria at the Royal Gallery of Illustration, and a three-performance run at the Manchester Free Trade Hall to benefit the widow of Dickens's old friend Douglas Jerrold. There, night after night, the play moved everyone -- including, by some accounts, the carpenters and the stage-hands -- to tears. It also brought Dickens together with Ellen Ternan, an actress he hired to play one of the parts, and for whom he would leave his wife Catherine. (more...)


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Charles Dickens by Frith 1859.jpg
Image credit: Frith.
Charles Dickens, 1859

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