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Life of Charles Dickens   By: (1840-1912)

Book cover

First Page:

Great Writers.

Edited by

Eric S. Robertson, M.A.,

Professor of English Literature and Philosophy in the University of the Punjab, Lahore.

[Illustration: Portrait of Dickens]

LIFE OF CHARLES DICKENS

by

FRANK T. MARZIALS

London Walter Scott 24 Warwick Lane, Paternoster Row

1887

NOTE.

That I should have to acknowledge a fairly heavy debt to Forster's "Life of Charles Dickens," and "The Letters of Charles Dickens," edited by his sister in law and his eldest daughter, is almost a matter of course; for these are books from which every present and future biographer of Dickens must perforce borrow in a more or less degree. My work, too, has been much lightened by Mr. Kitton's excellent "Dickensiana."

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I. PAGE

The lottery of education; Charles Dickens born February 7, 1812; his pathetic feeling towards his own childhood; happy days at Chatham; family troubles; similarity between little Charles and David Copperfield; John Dickens taken to the Marshalsea; his character; Charles employed in blacking business; over sensitive in after years about this episode in his career; isolation; is brought back into family and prison circle; family in comparative comfort at the Marshalsea; father released; Charles leaves the blacking business; his mother; he is sent to Wellington House Academy in 1824; character of that place of learning; Dickens masters its humours thoroughly. 11

CHAPTER II.

Dickens becomes a solicitor's clerk in 1827; then a reporter; his experiences in that capacity; first story published in The Old Monthly Magazine for January, 1834; writes more "Sketches"; power of minute observation thus early shown; masters the writer's art; is paid for his contributions to the Chronicle ; marries Miss Hogarth on April 2, 1836; appearance at that date; power of physical endurance; admirable influence of his peculiar education; and its drawbacks 27

CHAPTER III.

Origin of "Pickwick"; Seymour's part therein; first number published on April 1, 1836; early numbers not a success; suddenly the book becomes the rage; English literature just then in want of its novelist; Dickens' kingship acknowledged; causes of the book's popularity; its admirable humour, and other excellent qualities; Sam Weller; Mr. Pickwick himself; book read by everybody 40

CHAPTER IV.

Dickens works "double tides" from 1836 to 1839; appointed editor of Bentley's Miscellany at beginning of 1837, and commences "Oliver Twist"; Quarterly Review predicts his speedy downfall; pecuniary position at this time; moves from Furnival's Inn to Doughty Street; death of his sister in law Mary Hogarth; his friendships; absence of all jealousy in his character; habits of work; riding and pedestrianizing; walking in London streets necessary to the exercise of his art 49

CHAPTER V.

"Oliver Twist"; analysis of the book; doubtful probability of Oliver's character; "Nicholas Nickleby"; its wealth of character; Master Humphrey's Clock projected and begun in April, 1840; the public disappointed in its expectations of a novel; "Old Curiosity Shop" commenced, and miscellaneous portion of Master Humphrey's Clock dropped; Dickens' fondness for taking a child as his hero or heroine; Little Nell; tears shed over her sorrows; general admiration for the pathos of her story; is such admiration altogether deserved? Paul Dombey more natural; Little Nell's death too declamatory as a piece of writing; Dickens nevertheless a master of pathos; "Barnaby Rudge"; a historical novel dealing with times of the Gordon riots 57

CHAPTER VI.

Dickens starts for United States in January, 1842; had been splendidly received a little before at Edinburgh; why he went to the United States; is enthusiastically welcomed; at first he is enchanted; then expresses the greatest disappointment; explanation of the change; what the Americans thought of him ; "American Notes"; his views modified on his second visit to America in 1867 8; takes to fierce private theatricals for rest; delight of the children on his return to England; an admirable father 71

CHAPTER VII... Continue reading book >>




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