By: Charles Dickens
Three Ghost Stories
As a gifted writer with a strong interest in supernatural phenomena, Charles Dickens produced a string of ghost stories with enduring charm. Three of them are presented here, of which The Signal Man is one of the best known. Though quite different from his most celebrated realistic and humorous critical novels, these ghost stories, Gothic and grotesque as they are, are of good portrayal, and worth a read/listen. Summary by Vivian Chan
A Child's History of England
A Child’s History of England first appeared in serial form, running from January 25, 1851 to December 10, 1853 and was first published in three volume book form in 1852, 1853, and 1854. Dickens dedicated the book to “My own dear children, whom I hope it may help, bye and bye, to read with interest larger and better books on the same subject”. The history covered the period between 50 BC and 1689, ending with a chapter summarising events from then until the ascension of Queen Victoria.
Originally published in monthly installments between 1855 and 1857, the novel focuses on the various forms of imprisonment, both physical and psychological, while also concentrating on dysfunctional family ties. Accordingly, Dickens avidly criticizes the social deficiencies of the time including injustice, social hypocrisy, the austerity of the Marshalsea debtors’ prison, and bureaucratic inefficiency. The novel kicks off with the introduction of William Dorrit, the oldest prisoner in the Marshalsea prison, who is also referred to as The Father of the Marshalsea...
The Mystery of Edwin Drood
The Mystery of Edwin Drood is the final novel by Charles Dickens. It is a mystery indeed; the serial novel was just half completed at the time of Dickens’ death – leading to much speculation how it might have ended.The novel is named after Edwin Drood, one of the characters, but it mostly tells the story of his uncle, a choirmaster named John Jasper, who is in love with his pupil, Rosa Bud. Miss Bud is Drood’s fiancée, and has also caught the eye of the high-spirited and hot-tempered Neville Landless! Landless comes from Ceylon with his twin sister, Helena...
Two boys from the Foundling Hospital are given the same name, with disastrous consequences in adulthood. Two associates, wishing to right the wrong, are commissioned to find a missing heir. Their quest takes them from fungous wine cellars in the City of London to the sunshine of the Mediterranean — across the Alps in winter. Danger and treachery would prevail were it not for the courage of the heroine and the faithful company servant. The story contains crafted descriptions, well-drawn and diverse...
A House to Let
A House to Let is a novella originally published in 1858 in the Christmas edition of Dickens’ Household Words magazine. Each of the contributors wrote a chapter (stories within a story, and in the case of Adelaide Anne Procter, as a story in verse) and the whole was edited by Dickens. The plot concerns an elderly woman, Sophonisba, who notices signs of life in a supposedly empty dilapidated house (the eponymous “House to Let”) opposite her own, and employs the efforts of an elderly admirer, Jabez Jarber, and her servant, Trottle, to discover what is happening within.
The Battle of Life
While "The Battle of Life" is one of Charles Dickens' Christmas Books - his annual release of a story just before Christmas - this one breaks the tradition by not being concerned with Christmas. Rather, its subtitle, "A Love Story", reveals more of the plot. The major events of this book take place on land that once was a battleground. That is just a backdrop for Dickens' idea of the real battle of life - finding and winning the right partner, so that life will go on to the next generation. The family that lives there is rather confused in its affections and intentions regarding who should end up with whom...
The Cricket on the Hearth
The tale of John Peerybingle, the good-hearted carrier, and his young wife Mary ('Dot'), interwoven with the story of poor toymaker Caleb Plummer, his beloved blind daughter Bertha, and the harsh old toy merchant Tackleton, who is due to marry May Fielding, a childhood friend of Dot. Comic relief is provided by Tilly Slowboy, the disaster-prone nursemaid of John and Dot's baby, and Boxer, the family dog.The cricket who chirps on the family hearth assumes fairy form to save the day when disaster looms in the form of a mysterious stranger...
The Seven Poor Travellers
One of Dickens’ Christmas stories, this was first published as part of the Christmas number of Household Words for 1854. The first chapter relates Dickens’ visit to the ancient Richard Watts’s Charity at Rochester. The second chapter is the touching story of “Richard Doubledick”, which Dickens supposedly told the travellers, and Dickens’ journey home on Christmas morning provides the short concluding chapter.
The Chimes: A Goblin Story of Some Bells that Rang an Old Year Out and a New Year In is the second of Charles Dickens' Christmas books, published in 1844. Its contemporary setting is the "Hungry Forties", a time of social and political unrest, and the book has a strong moral message. It remained popular for many years, although its fame has since been eclipsed by that of A Christmas Carol, the first of the series. Our hero Toby ("Trotty") Veck is a poor but hard-working man, whose beloved daughter Meg is due to marry on New Year's Day...
The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain
The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain, A Fancy for Christmas-Time, (better known as The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain) is a novella by Charles Dickens first published in 1848. It is the fifth and last of Dickens' Christmas novellas. The story is more about the spirit of the holidays than about the holidays themselves, harking back to the first of the series, A Christmas Carol. The tale centers around a Professor Redlaw and those close to him.
The Wreck of the Golden Mary
A short story of a ship wreck in 1851 trying to round Cape Horn on its way to the California gold fields. Poignant and well written. (
The Uncommercial Traveller
The Uncommercial Traveller is a collection of literary sketches and reminiscences written by Charles Dickens. In 1859 Dickens founded a new journal called All the Year Round and the Uncommercial Traveller articles would be among his main contributions. He seems to have chosen the title and persona of the Uncommercial Traveller as a result of a speech he gave on the 22 December 1859 to the Commercial Travellers' School London in his role as honorary chairman and treasurer. The persona sits well with a writer who liked to travel, not only as a tourist, but also to research and report what he found; visiting Europe, America and giving book readings throughout Britain...
Mudfog and Other Sketches
The Mudfog Papers was written by Victorian era novelist Charles Dickens and published from 1837–38 in the monthly literary serial Bentley's Miscellany, which he then edited. They were first published as a book as 'The Mudfog Papers and Other Sketches. The Mudfog Papers relates the proceedings of the fictional 'The Mudfog Society for the Advancement of Everything', a Pickwickian parody of the British Association for the Advancement of Science founded in York in 1831, one of the numerous Victorian learned societies dedicated to the advancement of Science...
|The Magic Fishbone A Holiday Romance
|A Message from the Sea
|Captain Boldheart & the Latin-Grammar Master
|Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices
|To Be Read at Dusk
|The Trial of William Tinkling
|The Lamplighter; a farce in one act
|Tom Tiddler's Ground
|Perils of Certain English Prisoners
|Mrs. Lirriper's Legacy
|Going into Society
|Mrs. Lirriper's Lodgings
|George Silverman's Explanation