Biography of Famous Writers and Authors: Charles Dickens Part 2

About the famous English writer Charles Dickens, history and biography of the author.

Charles Dickens (1812-1870).

Dickens' output was prodigious. Such novels as Oliver Twist, Bleak House, A Tale of Two Cities, and A Christmas Carol poured forth from his pen. He traveled extensively and enjoyed parties and amateur theatricals. He lent his name and abilities to such causes as prison reform and education for poor children. He never forgot his distrust of the "Establishment," whose injustices he had witnessed as a court reporter, and his experience as a lad whose only crime was being poor.

In the last years of his life Dickens had enough energy to build a 2nd career for himself. In England crowds swarmed into the theaters to hear him read such horrifying scenes as the murder of Nancy by Bill Sikes from Oliver Twist. In America people paid the then enormous sum of $3 just to attend one of his readings.

By Victorian standards Dickens' private life was unusual. He formed deep attachments with 2 of his wife's sisters, who had come to live in the Dickens household. The 1st was Mary Hogarth; when she died, Dickens removed a ring from her finger and kept it on his own until he himself died. Her place was taken by her sister Georgina Hogarth, who often acted as Dickens' hostess and companion in place of his dull wife. However, the truly great love of Dickens' life was Ellen Ternan, a pretty actress who was young enough to be his daughter. Dickens' wife refused to let him move out of the family home quietly, so the great defender of hearth and home and teller of Christmas stories was forced to announce their separation publicly.

When Dickens died, the whole world mourned. He was buried in the Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey, the highest tribute England can bestow upon its writers. One of the most poignant memorials was a cartoon showing his writing desk surrounded by characters from his novels. The chair was empty.

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