Charles Dickens is much loved for his great contribution to classic English literature. He was the
quintessential Victorian author. His epic stories, vivid characters and exhaustive depiction of
contemporary life are unforgettable.
His own story is one of rags to riches. He was born in Portsmouth on 7 February 1812, to John and Elizabeth Dickens.
The good fortune of being sent to school at the age of nine was short-lived because his father, inspiration for the
character of Mr Micawber in 'David Copperfield', was imprisoned for bad debt. The entire family, apart from Charles,
were sent to Marshalsea along with their patriarch. Charles was sent to work in Warren's blacking factory and
endured appalling conditions as well as loneliness and despair. After three years he was returned to school, but the
experience was never forgotten and became fictionalised in two of his better-known novels 'David Copperfield' and
Like many others, he began his literary career as a journalist. His own father became a reporter and Charles began
with the journals 'The Mirror of Parliament' and 'The True Sun'. Then in 1833 he became parliamentary journalist for
The Morning Chronicle. With new contacts in the press he was able to publish a series of sketches under the
pseudonym 'Boz'. In April 1836, he married Catherine Hogarth, daughter of George Hogarth who edited 'Sketches by
Boz'. Within the same month came the publication of the highly successful 'Pickwick Papers', and from that point on
there was no looking back for Dickens.