Charles Dickens was born in Landsport, a small town near the sea, in a middle-class family. In 1814 the family moved to London. His father was a clerk in a navy office; he got a small salary there and usually spent more than he earned. As a result of this he was thrown into the debtors' prison when Charles was only ten. At that age the boy went to work at a factory which was like a dark, damp cellar. There he stuck labels on bottles of shoeblacking all day long, for a few pennies.
Later he went to school which he attended for only three years and at the age of 15 he started his work in a lawyer's office. He continued to educate himself, mainly by reading books. At 18 he became a reporter in Parliament. There he got acquainted with politics and never had a high opinion of his country's policy afterwards.
In 1833 he began to write his first short stories about London life. In 1836 those stories were published as a book, under the title of Sketches by Boz; Boz was the penname with which he signed his first work.
In 1837 Dickens became well-known to the English readers. His first big work appeared, written in instalments for a magazine at first, and later published in book form. It was The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. From then on Dickens was one of the best known and loved writers of his day.
In 1842 he made his first trip to America. He said that he wanted to see for himself what "real" democracy was like. He was rather disappointed with it. He wrote about his trip and his impressions in his American Notes.
Dickens travelled a lot. He visited France and Italy and later went to America again. At the same time he continued to write. In 1858 he began to tour England, reading passages from his works to the public. These readings were a great success, for Dickens was a wonderful actor, but the hard work and travelling were bad for his health. On March 15, 1870, he made his last reading and said to the public "From these garish lights I vanish now for evermore". He suffered a stroke on June, 8, and died the following day at his writing desk penning a sentence for Edwin Drude. The novel was left unfinished.
Dickens literary heritage is of world importance. He developed the English social novel, writing about the most burning social problems of his time. He created a wide gallery of pictures of bourgeois society and its representative types which still exist in England; he wrote of the workhouses of England and the tragedy of the children who lived in them (Oliver Twist); he wrote about the problem of education and showed how it handicapped children (Nicholas Nickleby).
After his trip to America Dickens wrote Martin Chuzzlewit. A part of this work had an American setting. He criticized American customs and democracy very severely. Later Dickens wrote about money and its terrible, destructive power over men (Dombey and Son). David Copperfield, one of the most lyrical of his works, was to some extent autobiographical; it reflected a young man's life in bourgeois society. Dickens criticized some negative aspects of that society, especially child labour and the system of education. Such problems as marriage and love in the bourgeois world were also treated in this novel.
Dickens' later novels were Bleak House and Little Dorrit. In Bleak House he took up the problem of law and justice; in Little Dorrit the reader got acquainted with the debtors' prison of London. Those novels showed more clearly than before the great social gap between the bourgeoisie and the common people. In Hard Times he wrote of the class struggle between the capitalists and the proletariat. Great Expectations and Our Mutual Friend reflected an entirely new feeling, that of disillusionment. That tragic feeling became stronger than Dickens' usual optimism.
Among his works there are two historical novels. In 1841 he wrote Barnaby Rudge, taking a subject from English history of the year 1780, known as the "Gordon Rebellion". In 1848 Dickens turned to history again; he wrote
A Tale of Two Cities, a story about people closely connected with the French Bourgeois Revolution, and the time that preceded it.
Well, I can say that Charles Dickens wrote one novel named as DOMBEY AND SON. Truthfully speaking it is to my liking.
This novel was written in 1848. It is the story of a city business man, whose only interest in life is his firm. According to Dombey "The earth was made for Dombey and Son to trade in, and the sun and moon were made to give them light. Rivers and .seas were formed to float their ships; rainbows to give them promise of fair weather;
winds blew for, or against, their enterprises; stars and planets circled in their orbits to preserve inviolate a system of which they were the centre".
Dombey is busy making money, and all that surrounds him is of little or no importance. His coldness, his absolute lack of human feeling towards people is extraordinary.