Background information

About Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens, the author of Oliver Twist, was born in Portsmouth, UK, in 1812. The family soon moved to London, but Dickens’ father was sent to prison for being in debt when Charles Dickens was 12 years old. Dickens was forced to work for three years in a factory, which prompted his life-long interest in labor conditions and the unfair situation of the poor. He later drew on these experiences when writing two of his most famous novels, David Copperfield and Oliver Twist

Dickens eventually went back to school, then worked in law and as a journalist reporting on court cases for several years. In 1833, Dickens published his first short story and transitioned into more general journalism. He quickly became well-known and became part of London’s literary social circles. In 1834, Dickens was invited to publish his first novel The Pickwick Papers as a series of installments. In 1837, Oliver Twist was released, also in serial form (like episodes in a television show). 

Dickens published most of his novels in this format, releasing monthly or weekly chapters in journals, before eventually publishing the full book as a novel. This made his novels more accessible and affordable than those of many other writers, allowing Dickens to reach a wider audience. This soon became the standard format for Victorian novels. 

Over the course of his career, Dickens published 15 novels and five novellas, as well as a huge number of short stories and essays. He became a ...

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