The World of Charles Dickens - PowerPoint

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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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