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About the Author: Charles Dickens

Charles John Huffam Dickens (7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the twentieth century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and short stories enjoy lasting popularity.

Born in Portsmouth, Dickens left school to work in a factory when his father was incarcerated in a debtors' prison. Despite his lack of formal education, he edited a weekly journal for 20 years, wrote 15 novels, five novellas, hundreds of short stories and non-fiction articles, lectured and performed extensively, was an indefatigable letter writer, and campaigned vigorously for children's rights, education, and other social reforms.

Dickens was regarded as the literary colossus of his age. His 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, remains popular and continues to inspire adaptations in every artistic genre. Oliver Twist and Great Expectations are also frequently adapted, and, like many of his novels, evoke images of early Victorian London. His 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities, set in London and Paris, is his best-known work of historical fiction. Dickens's creative genius has been praised by fellow writers—from Leo Tolstoy to George Orwell and G. K. Chesterton—for its realism, comedy, prose style, unique characterisations, and social criticism. On the other hand, Oscar Wilde, Henry James, and Virginia Woolf complained of a lack of psychological depth, loose writing, and a vein of saccharine sentimentalism. The term Dickensian is used to describe something that is reminiscent of Dickens and his writings, such as poor social conditions or comically repulsive characters.

On 8 June 1870, Dickens suffered another stroke at his home after a full day's work on Edwin Drood. He never regained consciousness, and the next day, five years to the day after the Staplehurst rail crash, he died at Gad's Hill Place. Contrary to his wish to be buried at Rochester Cathedral "in an inexpensive, unostentatious, and strictly private manner," he was laid to rest in the Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey. A printed epitaph circulated at the time of the funeral reads: "To the Memory of Charles Dickens (England's most popular author) who died at his residence, Higham, near Rochester, Kent, 9 June 1870, aged 58 years. He was a sympathiser with the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed; and by his death, one of England's greatest writers is lost to the world." His last words were: "On the ground", in response to his sister-in-law Georgina's request that he lie down.

(from Wikipedia)


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Goodreads rating: 3.89

Paperback, Published in Jul 1995 by Wordsworth Classics

ISBN10: 1853262579 | ISBN13: 9781853262579

Page count: 817

With an Introduction and Notes by Karl Ashley Smith, University of St Andrews.

Illustrations by Hablot K. Browne (Phiz).

Mr Dombey is a man obsessed with his firm. His son is groomed from birth to take his place within it, despite his visionary eccentricity and declining health. But Dombey also has a daughter, whose unfailing love for her father goes unreturned. 'Girls' said Mr Dombey, 'have nothing to do with Dombey and Son'.

When Walter Gay, a young clerk in her father's office, rescues her from a bewildering experience in the streets of London, his unforgettable friends believe he is well on his way to receiving her hand in marriage and inheriting the company. It is to be a very different type of story.

Dombey and Son moved grown men to tears (Thackeray despaired of ‘writing against such power as this’), but its rich, comic characters and their joyful explosions of language draw laughter with equally unerring magic.

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