Public and private

Jenny Hartley

in Charles Dickens: A Very Short Introduction

Published in print February 2019 | ISBN: 9780198714996
Published online February 2019 | e-ISBN: 9780191783203 | DOI:

Series: Very Short Introductions

Public and private

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  • Biographical Studies
  • Literature
  • Literary Studies (19th Century)


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Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth in February 1812. ‘Public and private’ describes his early childhood, his first jobs, and his move into writing. His father’s imprisonment for debt when he was just 12 led to the most painful episode of his life. His first sketch appeared in December 1833 and he went on to write many more under the nickname of Boz. He married Catherine Hogarth in 1836 and before he was 30 was one of the most famous men in Britain. By the late 1840s, he felt financially secure and could devote time to social reform issues. His later work and the failure of his marriage are also described.

Keywords: All the Year Round; childhood; A Christmas Carol; Angela Burdett Coutts; Charles Dickens; Guild of Literature and Art; Old Curiosity Shop; Pictures from Italy; George Bernard Shaw; Sketches by Boz; A Tale of Two Cities

Chapter.  6194 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biographical Studies ; Literature ; Literary Studies (19th Century)

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