Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the worlds’s best known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. Adaptations of A Christmas Carol can be seen all over the world during the Holiday season. Here are seven facts about the man behind it all.
- Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth in 1812. He died on 9 June 1870 and is buried in Poet’s Corner in London’s Westminster Abbey.
- When Charles was 12 he had to work in a dirty and smelly factory, near the river Thames in London. His job was to put labels on pots of “blacking” which were then used to clean fireplaces. People think that his books ‘David Copperfield’ and ‘Great Expectations’ were written from his own life experiences.
- Working in a factory was not Charles Dickens’ only job! He had many, including working in a lawyer’s office, writing for newspapers, editing for newspapers and acting. He even acted in front of Queen Victoria in 1851!
- Dickens had 3 sisters, 3 brothers and a pet raven called Grip!
- Charles Dickens published some sketches under a different name – Boz. This is because he wanted to keep his real identity a secret. In 1833 he published his first story.
- Charles Dickens became very famous. People would recognize him as he walked around London. A lot of people liked his funny stories called The Pickwick Papers. In Victorian times lots of people liked long novels to read because it was the best way to entertain themselves – there was no television, radio or internet!
- In 1843 Charles Dickens wrote the Christmas Carol. Apparently after the Christmas Carol was published people used to say “Merry Christmas” a lot more!
On 8 June 1870, Dickens suffered a stroke at his home after a full day’s work on Edwin Drood. He never regained consciousness, and the next day he died at Gad’s Hill Place. Dickens loved the theatre and his memory will live on for many, many more years to come as his beloved tale celebrates the generosity of the human spirit and its ability to change even the hardest of hearts.