Charles Dickens was in his own day the most popular novelist
who had ever lived, a public figure adored like a present-
day pop star. He still holds his place as one of the
greatest English writers, an original genius whose novels
are an essential link in the canon of English literature. He
was also actively involved in the life of his time,
campaigning for social and educational reform and sharply
critical of contemporary society. This short biography
provides an excellent introduction to Dickens, from his
disturbed childhood with a traumatic period working in a
blacking factory, his instant success as a young writer and
his tumultuous acclaim in both England and America, the
major novels of the 1850s and `60s and the establishment of
Household Words, to the final years as a public performer of
his own work.
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