With little formal education, he taught himself, worked furiously at everything he undertook and rocketed to fame as a writer in his mid-twenties.
When he was born, inthe King of England was George 3rd. By the time of his death inQueen Victoria had reigned for 40 years and the 19th century had lodged in most peoples minds and memories as the "Victorian age. His life was, most certainly, an eventful one that equaled many of his own storylines in its highs and lows, its dramas and its tragedies.
To this day he remains one of those few historical figures whose surname is sufficient as a means of identification, so much so that mere mention of the name "Dickens" will draw enthusiastic nods of acknowledgment no matter where in the World it is spoken.
Not bad for a man whose start in life was far from ideal. The house he was born in, 13 Mile End Terrace, is now the Dickens Birthplace Museum and is today furnished, more or less as it would have been at the time of his birth.
Dickens was christened on 4th March at St Mary's church and was named Charles, after his maternal grandfather, Charles Barrow; John, after his father, John Dickens; and Huffham, after Christopher Huffam the parish clerk misspelt the surname ,who was a London friend of his father.
John Dickens was employed as a clerk in the Navy Pay Office and his job meant that the family would have to move as, and where his employers saw fit to send him.
As a result Charles's first five years were marked by a series of moves as his father was shuttled between various jobs with the Naval Pay Office.
As the three year old boy absorbed the sights, smells and sounds of the City, and his family settled into life in the Capital, no one could have known that, in later life, the name of Charles Dickens would become synonymous with London, and that he was destined to become the undisputed chronicler of its streets, buildings and people.
Not only did his mother teach him the basics of reading but he was also enrolled at a local school where he was taught by a kindly local clergyman and schoolmaster by the name of William Giles.
One of the pastimes that the young Charles delighted in during this idyllic period of his childhood was going on long strolls with his father and exploring the lush Kent countryside that surrounded Chatham.
He was particularly fond of strolling through the grounds of Cobham Hall, just outside Rochester, where he became enamoured with a large house that sat atop a hillside looking down on the park. His father would often point the house out to him and encourage him with the words "If you were to be very persevering and were to work hard, you might some day come to live in it.
John had always lived well beyond his means and this sudden reduction in his earnings, coupled with his inability to curb his expenditure, plunged him heavily into debt and, as a result, the family finances teetered on the brink.
His wife, Elizabeth, made an attempt to improve the family fortunes by opening a school for young ladies. But this proved unsuccessful and, inJohn Dickens was arrested for debt and was sent to the Marshalsea Debtors Prison, where he was joined by his wife and children with the exceptions of Charles and his older sister Fanny, who were found lodgings elsewhere.
Dickens later told his primary biographer, John Forster, how his father had turned to him before being taken away and had tearfully told him that "the sun was set on him for ever. Thinly disguised references to it crop up time and time again in his fiction and the image of the debtors prison looms over several of his novels.
Indeed, he later recalled to John Forster how, when he first went to visit his father at the Marshalsea Prison, " And he told me, I remember, The trauma of his time at the blacking warehouse stayed with him for the rest of his life.
His torment at his situation was made worse by the fact that his older sister, Fanny, was enrolled at the Royal College of Music and received the type of education that young Charles longed for. Instead, he found himself working with boys and men whom he considered to be very much his social inferiors and, with his family living in the Marshalsea Prison, a fact he kept hidden from his workmates, he found himself virtually abandoned.
Left to his own devices, he began exploring all parts of London and, in so doing, he became acquainted with all the highs and the lows that the Victorian Metropolis had to offer.
He couldn't have known it then, but this period of his life was to be his making as he gained an unrivalled knowledge of the City with which the majority of his fiction would later become indelibly linked. With this small inheritance he was able to secure his release, although he wasn't totally debt free.
But he seems to have been genuinely concerned by the misery his actions had caused his son and, inhe took Charles away from the blacking factory, and despite vociferous objections from Elizabeth, who wanted their son to continue bringing in a useful weekly wage, John sent him to school at Wellington House Academy on Hampstead Road.
She was thirteen months older than him, capricious by nature and, for the next three years, she toyed with his feelings, even, there is evidence to suggest, agreeing to a clandestine engagement. He was also toying with the idea of becoming an actor and was granted an audition at the Covent Garden Theatre.
However, on the appointed day, he was stricken with a " However, his love of the theatre and his wish to act stayed with him for the rest of his life and, in later life, he would enthusiastically perform and produce his amateur theatricals and, from these, evolved his public reading tours from which he had become famous throughout the world by the time of his death in When she returned her enthusiasm for Dickens had cooled considerably and Dickens was devastated when, in Mayshe ended their relationship.
He had also found employment with the Morning Chronicle newspaper and had become friends with its music critic George Hogarth.Infancy in Portsmouth and London () Born on 7th February at a house in Mile End Terrace, Portsmouth, Hampshire.
His father, John Dickens, worked . A Christmas Carol, probably the most popular story that Charles Dickens ever wrote, was published in The book is as popular today as it was over years ago. Charles Dickens, through the voice of Scrooge, continues to urge us to honor Christmas in our hearts and try to keep it all the year round.
A BIOGRPAHY OF CHARLES DICKENS. Dickens life spanned the reign of four English monarchs. When he was born, in , the King of England was George 3rd. Chapter One. Charles Dickens was a public man and a famous man, and he assumed both of these slightly different roles in his early twenties.
His first sketch, "A Dinner at Poplar Walk," was published in the Monthly Magazine in December This long-awaited biography, twenty years after the last major account, uncovers Dickens the man through the profession in which he excelled.
Drawing on a lifetime’s study of this prodigiously brilliant figure, Michael Slater explores the personal and emotional life, the high-profile public activities, the relentless travel, the charitable works, the amateur theatricals and the astonishing.
Charles Dickens and the Spirit of Christmas is made possible with generous support from Fay and Geoffrey Elliott, the Parker Gilbert Memorial Fund, Ronay and Richard Menschel, and an anonymous donor, and assistance from Joshua W.
Sommer, Susan Jaffe Tane, Susanna Borghese, and Mr. and Mrs. Clement C. Moore II.