Charles Dickens (John Huffam) (1812-1870)
British novelist Charles Dickens was born John Huffam at Landport, near Portsmouth, the son of a clerk in the Navy pay office. In 1814, he moved to London, then to Chatham, where he received some schooling. He became a clerk to a solicitor (lawyer) then took up journalism, becoming a reporter at Doctor's Commons, and at 22, joining a London newspaper. He published several articles in the Monthly Magazine and following that, several sketches and articles in the Evening Chronicle. In 1836, his Sketches by Boz and Pickwick Papers were published. That same year, he married Catherine, the daughter of his friend George Hogarth. They had 10 children but were separated in 1858.
Dickens worked relentlessly, producing several successful novels that first appeared in monthly installments, notably Oliver Twist (1837-39), Nicholas Nickleby (1838-39), and The Old Curiosity Shop (1840-41). In the following years, he spent a great deal of time abroad. he wrote what is possibly his most popular work, A Christmas Carol, in 1843. His later novels include David Copperfield (1849-50), Bleak House (1852-53), A Tale of Two Cities (1859), Great Expectations (1860-61), and the unfinished Mystery of Edwin Drood (1870). A Child's History of England (1854) will prove interesting and informative to adults as well. In addition, Dickens gave talks and readings and wrote many pamphlets, plays, and letters. He died at Gadshill, in Kent.
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