His Fame Still Endures 144 Years Later – Charles Dickens

Day 33 of Colourisation Project – June 9

Challenge: to publish daily a colourised photo that has some significance around the day of publication.

On this day in 1870, English author, Charles Dickens passed away, leaving behind a considerable wealth of literature for the enjoyment of future generations.

Widely regarded as the literary giant of his age, his fame still endures 144 years after his death, as he continues to be one of the most widely read Victorian novelists.

Charles Dickens

Photographer Mathew Brady – Circa 1860 – Coloured by Loredana Crupi

Dickens would have revelled in today’s social media phenomenon.  It was through the 1836 serial publication of The Pickwick Papers, that Dickens’ popularity took hold. Monthly or weekly installments had become a standard method of writing and producing fiction in the Victorian England. One can only imagine what literary gems he would have produced if he had been limited to 140 characters!

He quickly rose to international literary celebrity status, famous for his satirical sense of humour and keen observations of life in Victorian times. His novels, now considered classics are a social commentary and exposé of the impoverished conditions of the English working class.

Dickens was as popular in America as he was in England however a five-month lecture tour of the United States in 1842, resulted in American Notes for General Circulation, a lively but sarcastic travelogue critical of American society based on what he considered the materialism and gregariousness of American culture. This was followed by the novel The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit, a story about a man’s struggle to survive the ruthless American frontier.

In an effort to set things right with the American public, Dickens launched a second tour from 1867 to 1868. On this ‘management control’ tour, he delivered a charismatic speech promising to make amends by praising the United States in reprints of American Notes for General Circulation and The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit.

Charles Dickens was a prolific writer and somehow he managed to find the time to father 10 children in the space of 15 years between 1837 and 1852.  Despite his domestic situation his literary output was impressive. His novels have gone on to become classics and have been translated into many languages. (Some of the major ones listed below.)

Dickens set himself a very high standard with his second novel, Oliver Twist (1838), the story of an orphaned boy trying to survive on the streets of London.  Oliver was the first child protagonist in an English novel

His 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, is one of the most influential works ever written and continues to inspire film and TV adaptations.

In Bleak House, published in installments from 1852 to 1853, he does not hold back in exposing the hypocrisy of British society. With its complicated plot, this novel is considered perhaps his most complex novel.

Although his 8th novel David Copperfield (1850) is not considered Dickens’ best work, it was his personal favorite. It is also probably the most autobiographical of his novels.

His 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities, set in London and Paris, is the best selling novel of all time with sales exceeding 200 million copies.

Great Expectations, Dickens’ 13th novel published in 1860 is widely considered his greatest literary accomplishment. Written in the first person it is a coming of age novel.

In all, Charles Dickens published 19 novels, 4 collections of short stories (including a number of Christmas-themed stories), several plays and  non-fiction books including The Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi (1838) Pictures from Italy (1846) and A Child’s History of England (1853)

Dickens was working on his 20th novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood when he suffered a stroke and passed away on June 9, 1870 at age 58, in his country home in Kent, England.

 

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“It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour.”  Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol

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One Response to His Fame Still Endures 144 Years Later – Charles Dickens

  1. Pingback: Mathew Brady – A Fountainhead for Photography | Random Phoughts

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