Charles John Huffam Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens February 7, 1812 Landport, Portmund – June 9 1870, Gadeshill, Kent, UK) One of the most famous English-speaking novelists, renowned comic creator and social critic. Chesterton gives Dickens the following characterization: “Dickens was a brilliant spokesman,” writes this English writer, who is in many ways related to him, “a kind of mouthpiece who seized England with universal inspiration, impulse and intoxicating enthusiasm, calling everyone and everyone to high goals. His best writings are a rapturous hymn to freedom. All his work shines with the reflected light of the revolution. ” Charles Dickens`s prose is imbued with a wit that influenced the originality of the national character and way of thinking, known in the world as “English humor” Charles John Huffam Dickens was born on February 7, 1812 in Landport near Portsmouth. In 1805, his father, John Dickens (1785 / 1786–1851), the youngest son of a butler and housekeeper at Crewe Hall, Staffordshire, was promoted to clerk in the naval finance department. In 1809 he married Elizabeth Barrow (1789–1863) and was assigned to Portsmouth Dockyard. Charles was the second of eight children. In 1816 John Dickens was sent to Chatham (Kent). By 1821 he already had five children. Charles was taught to read by his mother, for some time he attended elementary school, from nine to twelve years old he went to a regular school. Developed beyond his years, he eagerly read the entire home library of cheap publications. In 1822 John Dickens was transferred to London. Parents with six children in dire need huddled in Camden Town. Charles stopped going to school; he had to mortgage silver spoons, sell out the family library, serve as an errand boy. At twelve he began working for six shillings a week in a wax factory at Hungerford Steers on the Strand. He worked there for a little over four months, but this time seemed to him a painful, hopeless eternity and awakened the determination to break out of poverty. On February 20, 1824, his father was arrested for debts and imprisoned in Marshallsea prison. Having received a small inheritance, he paid off his debts and was released on May 28 of the same year. For about two years, Charles attended a private school called Wellington House Academy. While working as a junior clerk in one of the law firms, Charles began to study shorthand, preparing himself for the work of a newspaper reporter. By November 1828 he had become a freelance reporter for the Doctors-Commons court. By his eighteenth birthday, Dickens received a library card for the British Museum and began to diligently supplement his education. In early 1832 he became a reporter for The Mirror of Parliament and The True Sun. The twenty-year-old boy quickly stood out among the hundreds of patrons in the House of Commons reporters` gallery. Dickens` love for the bank manager`s daughter, Maria Bidnell, strengthened his ambitions. But the Bidnell family was not fond of a simple reporter, whose father had a chance to sit in a debt prison. After a trip to Paris “to complete her education,” Maria lost interest in her admirer. During the previous year, he began writing fictional essays on the life and character types of London. The first of these appeared in The Monthly Magazine in December 1832. The next four came out during January-August 1833, the latter being signed by the pseudonym Bose, nicknamed Dickens`s younger brother, Moses. Dickens was now a regular reporter for The Morning Chronicle, a newspaper reporting on significant events throughout England. In January 1835, J. Hogarth, publisher of The Evening Chronicle, asked Dickens to write a series of essays on urban life. Hogarth`s literary connections – his father-in-law J. Thomson was a friend of R. Burns, and he himself – a friend of W. Scott and his legal advisor – made a deep impression on the aspiring writer. In the early spring of the same year, he became engaged to Catherine Hogarth. February 7, 1836, to the twenty-fourth birthday of Dickens, all of his essays, incl. several previously unpublished works came out as a separate edition under the title Sketches by Boz. The essays, often not fully thought out and somewhat frivolous, already show the talent of the novice author; they touch on almost all further Dickensian motives: the streets of London, courts and lawyers, prisons, Christmas, parliament, politicians, snobs, sympathy for the poor and the oppressed. This publication was followed by an offer by Chapman and Hall to write a novel in twenty issues to comic engravings by the famous cartoonist R. Seimur. Dickens objected that Nimrod`s Papers, which featured the adventures of London`s hapless athletes, were already boring; instead, he offered to write about the club of eccentrics and insisted that he did not comment on Seymour`s illustrations, but that he made engravings for his texts. The publishers agreed, and the first issue of The Pickwick Club was published on April 2. Charles and Catherine had married two days earlier and settled in Dickens` bachelor apartment. Initially, the response was cool, and the sale did not bode well. Even before the release of the second edition, Seymour committed suicide, and the whole venture was in jeopardy. Dickens himself found the young artist H.N. Brown, who became known under the pseudonym Fiz. The number of readers grew; by the end of the publication of the Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (published from March 1836 to November 1837), each issue was sold in the amount of forty thousand copies. The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club is an intricate comic epic. Its hero, Samuel Pickwick, is a cheerful Don Quixote, plump and ruddy, accompanied by a clever servant Sam Weller, Sancho Panza from the common people of London. Freely following episodes one after another allows Dickens to present a number of scenes from the life of England and use all kinds of humor – from crude farce to high comedy, richly seasoned with satire. If Pickwick does not have a sufficiently pronounced plot to be called a novel, then he undoubtedly surpasses many novels with the charm of gaiety and joyful mood, and the plot in it can be traced no worse than in many other works of the same indefinite genre. Dickens turned down his job at the Chronicle and accepted R. Bentley`s offer to head the new monthly, Bentley`s Almanac. The first issue of the magazine came out in January 1837, a few days before the birth of Dickens` first child, Charles Jr. In the February issue appeared the first chapters of Oliver Twist (completed in March 1839), begun by the writer when Pickwick was only half written. Not yet finished with Oliver, Dickens set to work on Nicholas Nickleby (April 1838 – October 1839), another series in twenty issues for Chapman and Hall. During this period, he also wrote a comic opera libretto, two farces and published a book about the life of the famous clown Grimaldi. From Pickwick, Dickens descended into a dark world of horror, tracing in Oliver Twist (1838) the growing up of an orphan, from the workhouse to the criminal slums of London. While burly Mr. Bumble and even Fagin`s thieves` den are amusing, the novel has a sinister, satanic vibe. Nicholas Nickleby (1839) mixes Oliver`s gloom and Pickwick`s sunshine. In March 1837, Dickens moved into a four-story house at 48 Doughty Street. Here his daughters Mary and Kate were born, and here his sister-in-law, sixteen-year-old Mary, to whom he was very attached, died. In this house, for the first time, he received D. Forster, the theater critic of the Examiner newspaper, who became his lifelong friend, literary advisor, executor and first biographer. Thanks to Forster, Dickens met Browning, Tennyson and other writers. In November 1839, Dickens took a twelve-year lease at No. 1 in Devonshire Terrace. With the growth of wealth and literary fame, the position of Dickens in society was strengthened. In 1837 he was elected a member of the Garrick Club, in June 1838 – a member of the famous Athenaeum Club. The occasional friction with Bentley forced Dickens to give up work in the Almanac in February 1839. The following year, all of his books were concentrated in the hands of Chapman and Hall, with whose assistance he began to publish a threepenny weekly “Mr. Humphrey`s Watch”, in which the Antiquities Shop (April 1840 – January 1841) and Barnaby Raj (February – November 1841) were printed. … Then, worn out by the abundance of work, Dickens stopped producing Mr. Humphrey`s Watch. Although The Old Curiosity Shop won many hearts when it was published, modern readers, not accepting the sentimentality of the novel, believe that Dickens allowed himself excessive pathos in describing the bleak wanderings and sadly long death of little Nell. The grotesque elements of the novel are quite successful. In January 1842, the Dickens sailed to Boston, where a crowded enthusiastic meeting marked the beginning of the writer`s triumphant journey through New England to New York, Philadelphia, Washington and beyond – up to St. Louis. But the journey was clouded by Dickens` growing resentment over American literary piracy and its inability to combat it and – in the South – openly hostile reactions to his rejection of slavery. The American Notes, which appeared in November 1842, were greeted with warm praise and friendly criticism in England, but they provoked fierce irritation overseas. Regarding even more poignant satire in his next novel, Martin Chazzlewit (January 1843 – July 1844), Carlyle remarked: “The Yankees boiled like a huge bottle of soda.” The first of Dickens`s Christmas tales, A Christmas Carol (1843), also exposes selfishness, in particular the desire for profit, reflected in the concept of the “economic man.” But it often escapes the attention of the reader that Scrooge`s striving for enrichment for the sake of enrichment itself is a semi-serious, semi-comic parabola of the soulless theory of incessant competition. The main idea of the story – about the need for generosity and love – permeates the Bells that followed it (The Chimes, 1844), The Cricket on the Hearth, 1845), as well as the less successful Battle of Life (The Battle of Life, 1846) and Obsessed (The Haunted Man, 1848). In July 1844, along with the children, Catherine and her sister Georgina Hogarth, who now lived with them, Dickens went to Genoa. Returning to London in July 1845, he plunged into the trouble of founding and publishing the liberal newspaper The Daily News. Publishing conflicts with its owners soon forced Dickens to give up the job. Frustrated, Dickens decided that from that time on, books would become his weapon in the struggle for reform. In Lausanne, he began the novel Dombey and Son (October 1846 – April 1848), changing publishers to Bradbury and Evans. In May 1846, Dickens published a second book of travel notes, Pictures from Italy. In 1847 and 1848, Dickens took part as a director and actor in charitable amateur performances – Everyone in His Way B. Johnson and Windsor Mockers of W. Shakespeare. In 1849, Dickens began his novel David Copperfield (May 1849 – November 1850), which from the very beginning was a huge success. The most popular of all Dickens`s novels, the author`s favorite brainchild, David Copperfield is most associated with the writer`s biography. It would be wrong to think that David Copperfield is just a mosaic of several altered and arranged events in the writer`s life. The cross-cutting theme of the novel is the “rebellious heart” of young David, the cause of all his mistakes, including the most serious one – an unhappy first marriage. In 1850 he began publishing a twopence weekly, Home Reading. It contained easy reading, various information and messages, poems and stories, articles on social, political and economic reforms, published without signatures. Among the authors were Elizabeth Gaskell, Harriet Martineau, J. Meredith, W. Collins, C. Lever, C. Reed and E. Bulwer-Lytton. “Home Reading” immediately became popular, its sales reached, despite occasional downturns, forty thousand copies a week. In late 1850, Dickens and Bulwer-Lytton founded the Guild of Literature and Art to help writers in need. As a donation, Lytton wrote the comedy We`re Not As Bad As We Seem, which Dickens premiered with an amateur troupe at the Duke of Devonshire`s London mansion in the presence of Queen Victoria. Over the next year, performances were staged throughout England and Scotland. By this time, Dickens had eight children (one died in infancy), and another, the last child, was about to be born. In late 1851, the Dickens family moved to a larger house in Tavistock Square, and the writer began work on Bleak House (March 1852 – September 1853). In Bleak House, Dickens reaches the pinnacle as a satirist and social critic, the power of the writer manifested in all its dark splendor. Although he has not lost his sense of humor, his judgments become more bitter, and his vision of the world is bleak. The novel is a kind of microcosm of society: the image of a thick fog around the Chancellor`s Court dominates, meaning the confusion of legitimate interests, institutions and ancient traditions; the fog behind which greed is hiding, fetters generosity and obscures vision. It was because of them, according to Dickens, that society turned into disastrous chaos. The trial “Jarndis vs. Jarndis” fatally leads its victims, and this is almost all the heroes of the novel, to collapse, ruin, despair. Difficult Times (Hard Times, April 1 – August 12, 1854) were published in issues in Home Reading in order to raise the fallen circulation. The novel was not highly appreciated either by critics or by a wide range of readers. The furious denunciation of industrialism, the small number of cute and reliable heroes, the grotesque satire of the novel threw off balance not only conservatives and people who were quite satisfied with their lives, but also those who wanted the book to make only cry and laugh, and not think. Government inaction, mismanagement, and corruption that became apparent during the Crimean War of 1853–1856, along with unemployment, strikes, and food riots, strengthened Dickens` conviction of the need for radical reform. He joined the Association for Administrative Reforms and continued to write critical and satirical articles in Home Reading; during his six-month stay in Paris, he observed the excitement on the stock market. These themes – bureaucratic obstacles and wild speculation – he reflected in Little Dorrit (December 1855 – June 1857). Summer 1857 Dickens spent in Gadshill, in an old house, which he admired as a child, and now he was able to acquire. His participation in charity performances of the Frozen Abyss of W. Collins led to a crisis in the family. The writer`s years of tireless labor were clouded by the growing awareness of the failure of his marriage. During his theater studies, Dickens fell in love with the young actress Ellen Ternan. Despite her husband`s vows of allegiance, Katherine left his home. In May 1858, after the divorce, Charles Jr. stayed with his mother, and the rest of the children with their father, in Georgina`s care as mistress of the house. Dickens eagerly set about reading passages from his books in public in front of an enthusiastic audience. Having quarreled with Bradbury and Evans, who sided with Catherine, Dickens returned to Chapman and Hall. Having ceased publishing Domashne Chieti, he very successfully began publishing a new weekly, Kruplyi Goda, publishing in it a Tale of Two Cities (April 30 – November 26, 1859), and then Great Expectations (1 December 1860 – August 3, 1861). The Tale of Two Cities is not one of Dickens`s best books. It is based more on melodramatic coincidences and violent actions than on the characters of the heroes. But readers will never cease to be fascinated by the exciting plot, the brilliant caricature of the inhuman and refined Marquis d`Euremonde, the meat grinder of the French Revolution and the sacrificial heroism of Sidney Carton that brought him to the guillotine. In Great Expectations, the protagonist Pip tells the story of a mysterious deed that allowed him to leave the rural smithy of his son-in-law, Joe Gargery, and receive a gentlemanly education in London. In the image of Pip, Dickens exposes not only snobbery, but also the falsity of Pip`s dream of the luxurious life of an idle “gentleman”. Pip`s great hopes belong to the ideal of the 19th century: parasitism and abundance at the expense of inherited inheritance and a brilliant life at the expense of other people`s labor. In 1860, Dickens sold the house in Tavistock Square, and Gadshill became his permanent home. He successfully read his works publicly throughout England and in Paris. His last completed novel, Our Mutual Friend, was printed in twenty issues (May 1864 – November 1865). In the last completed novel, the writer reappears and combines images that express his condemnation of the social system: the thick fog of the Bleak House and the huge, crushing prison cell of Little Dorrit.