Charles Dickens is by far one of the most famous and influential authors of all time. His stories are still being told today and have been adapted to big and small screens time and time again – by people and Muppets alike. But how much do you know about the man they called Boz? Here are some fun facts about Charles Dickens.
1. Dickens was born in Portsmouth around the start of the 19th century.
2. He used to go by “Boz.”
Charles Dickens used the pseudonym “Boz” when he began his writing career. “The Pickwick Papers,”his first published work, was published under this pen name. The story behind this name is a little odd – it was actually a nickname he gave his brother, stemming from “Moses,” but pronounced with a nose full of cold!
3. He wrote Oliver Twist.
Oliver Twist remains one of his most famous works to date. It was published in 1837-1839. It tells the story of a young orphan’s difficult life in Victorian London. Many of you out there probably recognize the story thanks to its musical adaptation, “Oliver!”.
4. Dickens brought one of the most iconic ghost stories of all time to life.
Charles Dickens also famously wrote “A Christmas Carol”. He wrote it in just six weeks! It was published in 1843 and has become a beloved classic. Believe it or not, the book even contributed to popularising many Christmas traditions, such as having a Christmas tree, exchanging cards and gifts, and singing Christmas carols.
5. He was a social critic who cared about the impoverished.
Charles Dickens was known for being a strong critic of British social inequality, and used his writing and status to critique the social and economic injustices of his time. He commonly wrote to highlight issues like poverty, child labour, and the hardships of the working class.
6. He wrote one of the most famous opening lines of all time.
His introduction to the novel “A Tale of Two Cities” is widely considered one of the most famous opening lines in English literature. The famous line is, of course, ”It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
7. His novels were even serialized.
Many of Charles Dickens’s novels were published in serialized form. Publishing his novels in multiple installments in newspapers and magazines allowed readers to follow the stories across multiple issues.
8. He wrote many famous English classics beyond the two mentioned.
Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol aren’t the only famous classics Charles Dickens gave to the world. He wrote “Great Expectations,” “David Copperfield,” and “Bleak House.” That said, he might not have been as prolific as you think he was – he published 15 novels, total.
9. He survived a train crash.
In 1865, Charles Dickens survived the Staplehurst rail crash. The harrowing event left a lasting impact on him until he passed away five years later.
10. He publicly read many of his works.
Charles Dickens was known for his public readings. He traveled all around Britain and the United States, giving readings to large audiences enraptured by his colorful characters!
FAQs about Charles Dickens
What was Charles Dickens’s most famous piece of work?
When it comes to Charles Dickens’s most famous piece of work, many would agree that “A Christmas Carol” was his most famous piece. However, he did write many famous classics, as mentioned above!
What is Charles Dickens’ most famous quote?
Dickens is perhaps one of the most quotable authors of all time. For example, he was responsible for the quote, 'Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.'
What phrases did Charles Dickens invent?
Charles Dickens invented many of the expressions still used today! For example, “devil-may-care” was a phrase coined by the author in “The Pickwick Papers.” It’s possible he was only second to William Shakespeare when it came to inventing popular phrases!
Do you know any interesting facts about Charles Dickens? Share them in the comments below!