Charles Dickens was born on this day: He wrote only in blue ink, and his last novel is a mystery

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Charles Dickens is an English writer and social critic. Dickens is the author of some of the world's most famous characters and works, and he is considered one of the greatest writers of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed great popularity at the time, and already in the 20th century scholars and literary critics recognized him as a literary genius.

In his childhood he felt neglected

Charles John Humphrey Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, Landport on the island of Portsea, near Portsmouth. He was the second of eight children of John Dickens (1785–1851) and Elizabeth Dickens (née Barrow; 1789–1863). His father was a clerk in the Navy Pay Office. In January 1815, John Dickens went to work in London and then the Dickens family moved to Norfolk Street in Fitzrovia. When Dickens was only four, his parents moved to Sheerness and then to Chatham, Kent, where they lived until he was 11. He apparently had an idyllic early childhood, although Dickens himself said he was "a boy to whom no particular attention was paid".

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Charles mostly spent his time outside, but he also read a lot. So he grew up with the books of Tobias Smollett and Henry Fielding, but also with Robinson Crusoe. He especially read 1001 Nights and Elizabeth Inchbald. He had a great memory for his childhood, remembering a large number of people and events, which he later used in his works. Because of his father's work at the Navy Pay Office, he also had the opportunity to receive private schooling for a short period in Chatham.

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His father was in prison, and he had to work in a factory

This period ended in June 1822, when John Dickens was called to the headquarters of the Navy Pay Office and so the whole family, except for Charles, moved to Camden Town in London. The family left Kent because of debts, so John Dickens was imprisoned in London in 1824. Then, 12-year-old Charles Dickens began living with family friend Elizabeth Roylance. At the time, he was forced to earn a living on his own by working in a shoe polish factory. Remembering that time, much later, he wrote:

"I so deeply preserve the memory of the feeling of neglect and powerlessness; my whole being was to such an extent obsessed with the consciousness of the humiliating injustice of which I was the victim at that time, that even today I often tremble before that dark shadow of my bitter childhood... I forget everything and dark dreams transport me to the first years of my life".

He was the editor of a weekly newspaper for 20 years

Dickens left school to work in a factory while his father was imprisoned. Despite his lack of education, he was the editor of a weekly newspaper for 20 years, wrote 15 novels, five novellas, hundreds of short stories and articles, gave lectures, and was a fighter for children's rights, education and social reforms.

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Dickens' success began in 1836 with the publication of The Posthumous Records of the Pickwick Club. Within a few years he became a world literary star, known for his humor, satire and detailed depiction of characters and society. His novels, most of them published in monthly magazines or weeklies, pioneered the serial publication of a single short story, which in turn became the dominant way of publishing a novel in the Victorian era. published work and so often revised his characters or stories in accordance with audience reaction.

Dickens was considered a literary great of his age. His 1843 novella, A Christmas Story, is still popular and has inspired all sorts of other adaptations. Oliver Twist and Great Expectations are also the subject of adaptations, but they are also important for the detailed overview of London and Victorian England. Dickens received praise from a number of world literary giants, from Leo Tolstoy to George Orwell for example.


An interesting fact is that Charles Dickens only wrote in blue ink. Not because of any superstition, but because it dried faster than inks in other colors and made the writing look neater and cleaner.

He died of a heart attack, and he did not want to wear black at the funeral

Dickens's fifteenth and last novel could not have had a better ending. Like most books of that period, this one was published in a monthly magazine divided into 12 parts. Readers were left with their hands up when they learned of his death. Before he had a heart attack, Dickens managed to write 6 sequels, so the story is about half finished. The mystery of Edwin Drode remains a mystery forever.


The last wish of one of the most famous novelists in the world is also unusual. He requested that at his funeral, the mourners should not wear black scarves, shawls, gowns, black lacquer, or as he wrote, and other disgusting and absurd things. He did not want the funeral to be public and thought that the time and place should not be announced. He asked for a simple and cheap funeral. But these requests of his were ignored. His burial became a national event.

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