Charles Dickens, 1812-1870



English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens's works are characterized by attacks on social evils, injustice, and hypocrisy. He had also experienced in his youth oppression, when he was forced to end school in early teens and work in a factory. Dickens's good, bad, and comic characters, such as the cruel miser Scrooge, the aspiring novelist David Copperfield, or the trusting and innocent Mr. Pickwick, have fascinated generations of readers. Charles Dickens was born in Landport, Hampshire, during the new industrial age, which gave birth to theories of Karl Marx. Dickens's father was a clerk in the navy pay office he was well paid but often ended in financial troubles. In 1814 Dickens moved to London, and then to Chatham, where he received some education.

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Fiction, England, 19th. century, social life and customs
Pip (Philip Pirrip), an orphan, lives with his old sister and her husband. He meets an escaped convict named Abel Magwitch and helps him against his will. Magwitch is recaptured and Pip is taken care of Miss Havisham. He falls in love with the cold-hearted Estella, Miss Havisham's ward. With the help of an anonymous benefactor, Pip is properly educated, and he becomes a snob. Magwitch turns out to be the benefactor; he dies and Pip's "great expectations" are ruined. He works as a clerk in a trading firm, and he forgets his values in the pursuit of the beautiful and enigmatic Estella, Magwitch's daughter. 

London (England), fiction, 19th. century, social life and customs
This novel depicts the London underworld and hard years of the foundling Oliver Twist, whose right to his inheritance is kept secret by the villainous Mr. Monks. Oliver suffers in a poorfarm and workhouse. He outrages authorities by asking a second bowl of porridge. From a solitary confinement he is apprenticed to a casket maker, and becomes a member of a gang of young thieves, led by Mr. Fagin. Finally Fagin is hanged at Newgate and Mr. Barnlow adopts Oliver.

London (England), fiction, 19th. century, social life and customs
"Three Ghost Stories" is just that: a collection of three different stories that are true Gothic classics. The three stories, "The Signal Man", "The Haunted House" and "The Trial for Murder" were sensational for their time and continue to hold up well, thanks to Charles Dickens' superb skills at storytelling. "The Signal Man" is the most well known of the three, chronicling the haunting of a railroad signal man who is visited by a ghost just before a tragic event is to happen on the railway. If you like Dickens and tales of spectres and the supernatural, you'll love "Three Ghost Stories".

London (England), fiction, 19th. century, social life and customs
A Christmas Carol is a novella by Charles Dickens about Ebenezer Scrooge, an old man, who is well-known for his miserly ways. On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by a series of ghosts, starting with his old business partner, Jacob Marley. The three spirits which follow, the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet to Come, show Scrooge how his mean behaviour has affected those around him. At the end of the story he is relieved to discover that there is still time for him to change and we see him transformed into a generous and kind-hearted human being.

London (England), fiction, 19th. century, social life and customs
It is 1775, and Mr. Jarvis Lorry is traveling to Dover to meet Lucie Manette. He tells her that she is not an orphan as she had been told from a young age. He now says that he will travel with her to Paris to meet her father, who has recently been released from the Bastille. Doctor Manette is housed in the Defarges' wine-shop and has lost his reason, but he starts to regain it when he meets his daughter and is transported back to London.

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