image of Charles Dickens signature

Born: 7 February 1812

Died: 9 June 1870

About: Charles John Huffam Dickens, FRSA , pen-name "Boz", was the most popular English novelist of the Victorian era and one of the most popular of all time. He created some of literature's most memorable characters. His novels and short stories have never gone out of print. Much of his work first appeared in periodicals and magazines in serialised form, a favoured way of publishing fiction at the time. Dickens, unlike others who would complete entire novels before serial publication commenced, often wrote his in parts, in the order in which they were meant to appear. The practice lent his stories a particular rhythm, punctuated by one cliffhanger after another to keep the public eager for the next instalment. A concern with what he saw as the pressing need for social reforms runs throughout his work. Critics and fellow-novelists such as George Gissing and G. K. Chesterton have applauded Dickens for his mastery of prose, and for his teeming gallery of unique characters, many of whom have acquired iconic status in the English-speaking world. Others such as Henry James and Virginia Woolf have accused him of sentimentality and implausibility.