The Project Gutenberg eBook, Life of Charles Dickens, by Frank Marzials
Title: Life of Charles Dickens
Author: Frank Marzials
Release Date: October 1, 2005 [eBook #16787]
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK LIFE OF CHARLES DICKENS***
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ERIC S. ROBERTSON, M.A.,
PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH LITERATURE AND PHILOSOPHY IN THE
UNIVERSITY OF THE PUNJAB, LAHORE.
LIFE OF DICKENS.
LIFE OF CHARLES DICKENS
FRANK T. MARZIALS
24 WARWICK LANE, PATERNOSTER ROW
That I should have to acknowledge a fairly heavy debt to Forster's "Life of Charles Dickens," and "The Letters of Charles Dickens," edited by his sister-in-law and his eldest daughter, is almost a matter of course; for these are books from which every present and future biographer of Dickens must perforce borrow in a more or less degree. My work, too, has been much lightened by Mr. Kitton's excellent "Dickensiana."
The lottery of education; Charles Dickens born February 7, 1812; his pathetic feeling towards his own childhood; happy days at Chatham; family troubles; similarity between little Charles and David Copperfield; John Dickens taken to the Marshalsea; his character; Charles employed in blacking business; over-sensitive in after years about this episode in his career; isolation; is brought back into family and prison circle; family in comparative comfort at the Marshalsea; father released; Charles leaves the blacking business; his mother; he is sent to Wellington House Academy in 1824; character of that place of learning; Dickens masters its humours thoroughly. 11
Dickens becomes a solicitor's clerk in 1827; then a reporter; his experiences in that capacity; first story published in The Old Monthly Magazine for January, 1834; writes more "Sketches"; power of minute observation thus early shown; masters the writer's art; is paid for his contributions to the Chronicle; marries Miss Hogarth on April 2, 1836; appearance at that date; power of physical endurance; admirable influence of his peculiar education; and its drawbacks 27
Origin of "Pickwick"; Seymour's part therein; first number published on April 1, 1836; early numbers not a success; suddenly the book becomes the rage; English literature just then in want of its novelist; Dickens' kingship acknowledged; causes of the book's popularity; its admirable humour, and other excellent qualities; Sam Weller; Mr. Pickwick himself; book read by everybody 40
Dickens works "double tides" from 1836 to 1839; appointed editor of Bentley's Miscellany at beginning of 1837, and commences "Oliver Twist"; Quarterly Review predicts his speedy downfall; pecuniary position at this time; moves from Furnival's Inn to Doughty Street; death of his sister-in-law Mary Hogarth; his friendships; absence of all jealousy in his character; habits of work; riding and pedestrianizing; walking in London streets necessary to the exercise of his art 49
"Oliver Twist"; analysis of the book; doubtful probability of Oliver's character; "Nicholas Nickleby"; its wealth of character; Master Humphrey's Clock projected and begun in April, 1840; the public disappointed in its expectations of a novel; "Old Curiosity Shop" commenced, and miscellaneous portion of Master Humphrey's Clock dropped; Dickens' fondness for taking a child as his hero or heroine; Little Nell; tears shed over her sorrows; general admiration for the pathos of her story; is such admiration altogether deserved? Paul Dombey more natural; Little Nell's death too declamatory as a piece of writing; Dickens nevertheless a master of pathos; "Barnaby Rudge"; a historical novel dealing with times of the Gordon riots 57
Dickens starts for United States in January, 1842; had been splendidly received a little before at Edinburgh; why he went to the United States; is enthusiastically welcomed; at first he is enchanted; then expresses the greatest disappointment; explanation of the change; what the Americans thought of him; "American Notes"; his views modified on his second visit to America in 1867-8; takes to fierce private theatricals for rest; delight of the children on his return to England; an admirable father 71
Dickens again at work and play; publication of "Martin Chuzzlewit" begun in January, 1843; plot not Dickens' strong point; this not of any vital consequence; a novel not really remembered by its story; Dickens' books often have a higher unity than that of plot; selfishness the central idea of