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The World of Charles Dickens

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									The World of Charles Dickens
          We’re on the move…
•   We’ve been in the Renaissance (1500 – 1650)
•   Next is the Neo-Classical Period (1660 – 1798)
•   Dryden
•   Defoe
•   Pope
•   Johnson
•   Boswell
                   On to
•   The Romantic Period (1798 – 1837)
•   Burns
•   Blake
•   Wordsworth
•   Coleridge
•   Byron
               And then into
•   The Victorian Period (1837 – 1901)
•   Dickens              Housman
•   Hardy
•   Thackery
•   Tennyson
•   Browning (both)
•   Brontes (both)
         Dickens’ Biography
• Born February 7, 1812
• 1824 -- Dickens worked at Warren’s
  Blacking Warehouse
• 1824 -- Mr. Dickens (Charles’ father) taken
  to debtors’ prison; family joins him
• Imprisoned from February - May
                More Bio
• 1827 - Dickens family evicted from home
  for not paying rent
• Charles is pulled out of private school
• Charles, now 15, becomes law clerk and
  free-lance writer
• 1834 - Charles takes Boz as pen name
• 1834 - Charles’ Dad re-arrested for debts
     Dickens starts Publishing!
• 1836 -- Sketches by Boz
• 1837 -- The Pickwick Papers



• and on a personal note...
“Here Comes the Bride…”
            • 1836 (Dickens is 24)
              he and Catherine
              Hogarth get married

            • and..one year later, the
              first “little Dickens” is
              born
            • and one year after that,
              baby # 2 is born...
        but, back to business!


• 1837-- Oliver Twist is serially published
  What was happening in 1837?
• King William IV of England dies

• Victoria becomes queen of England

• Benjamin Disraeli delivers his first speech
  in the House of Commons
           And in the arts?
• Nathaniel Hawthorne publishes Twice Told
  Tales – it becomes a best seller
• William H. Prescott publishes The History
  of the Reign of Isabella and Ferdinand
• John Constable died (English landscape
  painter)
• Berlioz completes “Grande Messe des
  Morts,” Opus 5
           Two Constables

• “Flatford Lock and Mill” 1812



• “The White Horse” – 1819
             In the sciences
• Industrialist August Borsig opens iron
  foundry and engine-building factory in
  Berlin
• Wheatstone and Cooke patent electric
  telegraph
• Samuel Morse exhibits his electric telegraph
• Dutchman Johannes Diderik born (Nobel
  Prize in physics in 1910)
                  And then
•   1838 -- Nicholas Nickleby
•   1840 -- The Old Curiosity Shop
•   1841 -- Barnaby Rudge
•   1842 -- American Notes
           Back to Dickens
         “And the beat goes on”
•   1843 -- A Christmas Carol
•   1844 -- Martin Chuzzlewit
•   1844 -- The Chimes
•   1845 -- The Cricket on the Hearth
•   1846 -- The Battle of Life
•   1846 -- Dombey and Son
            And so it goes...
• 1850 -- David Copperfield
• 1853 -- Bleak House
• 1853 -- A Child’s History of England and...
  a near nervous breakdown
• 1854 -- Hard Times
• 1857 -- Little Dorrit
             Is he done yet?
•   1859 -- A Tale of Two Cities
•   1861 -- Great Expectations
•   1865 -- Our Mutual Friends
•   1869 -- The Mystery of Edwin Drood
    (unfinished)
What’s the Point?
         • Dickens wrote 15
           major novels in a
           career spanning 33
           years.
         • His peak of creativity
           and literary prowess
           was in mid - late
           career from 1848 -
           1865.
              Dickens’ Best
•   Bleak House
•   Little Dorrit
•   Great Expectations
•   Our Mutual Friend
          And in the meantime
• He fathered 10
  children.
• His wife left him (in
  1856).
• He gave numerous
  talks across Europe
  and in America.
• He developed heart
  trouble.
       He exercised his social
            conscience
• He crusaded for children’s rights.
• He was an advocate of child labor laws to
  protect children.
• He opposed cruelty, deprivation, and
  corporal punishment of children.
• He believed in and lobbied for just
  treatment of criminals.
              In addition,
• He protested a greedy, uncaring,
  materialistic society through such works as
  A Christmas Carol, which Dickens called “a
  sledgehammer” he used figuratively to
  wake up the reading public
• He repeatedly used satire to highlight
  problems in his society
          More good works
• He gave 16 public readings in 1858 to raise
  money for the Hospital for Sick Children
 And in 1865… a key year

 He published a novel (Our Mutual
Friends), got frostbite, and survived a
          terrible train crash
              A sad ending
• 1870 -- Dickens, who had been in declining
  health since 1866, died of a cerebral
  hemorrhage.

• He is buried in the Poets’ Corner in
  Westminster Abbey in London
Westminster Abbey
Poets’ Corner
       • Dickens’ epitaph: “He
         was a sympathizer to
         the poor, the suffering,
         and the oppressed; and
         by his death, one of
         England’s greatest
         writers is lost to the
         world.”
      What about Oliver Twist?
• Dickens wrote, “I
  wished to show in
  little Oliver, the
  principle of Good
  surviving through
  every adverse
  circumstance and
  triumphing at last.”
                    Themes
•   The powerlessness of children
•   Good’s ability to triumph over evil
•   Man’s humanity to man
•   Man’s inhumanity to man
•   The outcast’s search for status and identity
•   The heinous nature of crime and criminals
      What to watch (out) for...
• Use of irony

• Use of coincidence

• Use of humor
          Definitions, please

• Situational irony = a discrepancy between
  what the reader expects and what actually
  happens
            Dickens’ Belief:
“To be thoroughly
earnest is everything,
and to be anything
short of it is nothing.”

								
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