Dickens, Charles. (1812 - 1870).
W o r k
- a free-lance newspaper reporter and writer under the pseudonym Boz
- author of baggy plots filled with incident and a multitude of characters
- an acute observer of London streets and interiors, gesture and habit, spontaneity and misery
- master of direct speech, a constant inventor of metaphorical language
- describes outward character traits x not the characters' inner motives
- use fiction as a tool to evoke humanitarian feelings
- early period: a comedy of humours criticizing social abuses
- mature period: a grotesque reflecting failures of humanity
x but: his sentimental endings inconsistent with his social analysis
The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (1836 – 1837):
- a picaresque novel about Mr Pickwick's adventures in England
Oliver Twist: or The Parish Boy’s Progress (1837 – 1838):
- contrasts the insecurities of criminals x comforts of the bourgeois
A Christmas Carol (1843):
- from his series of Christmas books
Martin Chuzzlewit (1843 – 1844):
- criticises selfishness, self-centredness, and exploitation
- the protagonist finds America as much corrupted as England
David Copperfield (1849):
- concerned with the protagonist's slow ‘disciplining’ of the heart
Bleak House (1852 – 1853):
- a satire on the workings of the Court of Chancery
- the Court solves private mysteries, lawsuits, and crimes x but: does not tackle the underlying problems of dirt, disease, and urban decay
Little Dorrit (1855 – 1857):
- his most sombre novel, set in a London debtors’ prison
A Tale of Two Cities (1859):
- a revolutionary novel
- overturns old oppressions x but: introduces new ones
Great Expectations (1860 – 1861):
- the protagonist gets manipulated and left empty
Our Mutual Friend (1864 –1865):
- the protagonist is obliged to adopt the persona of a dead man
- includes some of his most inventive dialogue and his finest black comedy
(Picture: Wikimedia Commons).
AuthorCharles John Huffam Dickens. (1812 - 1870). British.
WorkNovelist. Journalist. Author of Oliver Twist (1838).
GenresVictorian period. Social criticism. Comedy. Grotesque.
Abrams, Meyer Howard, ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1993.
Barnard, Robert. Stručné dějiny anglické literatury. Praha: Brána, 1997.
Baugh, Albert C. ed. A Literary History of England. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967.
Coote, Stephen. The Penguin Short History of English Literature. London: Penguin, 1993.
Sampson, George. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1946.
Sanders, Andrew. The Short Oxford History of English Literature. New York: Clarendon Press, 1994.
"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."
From David Copperfield (1849 - 1850).