Tuesday, 7 February 2012

7th February 1812 - Charles John Huffman Dickens born

The son of John and Elizabeth Dickens, Charles Dickens was born on 7th February 1812 in Portsmouth, England. His early life was a mix of good and bad with an early spell of education followed by having to work in the dreadful conditions of Warren's blacking (boot polish) factory when his father was sent to prison as a debtor. Charles later returned to school but his experiences inspired his books including "Great Expectations".
Charles' career path began with journalism and following his marriage to Catherine Hogarth in 1836 he published "Pickwick Papers". He wrote novels, plays (and acted), he edited journals and wrote travel books and autobiography. He travelled extensively and campaigned on many issues including against slavery and he fathered ten children before leaving his wife. His mistress was the actress Ellen Ternan. Not surprsingly maybe, in 1870, he died of a stroke and was buried in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey in London.
Dickens is much loved the world over and must have been an amazing man, full of enthusiasm for life. I have to confess that I have never read any of his books (waits for thunderbolt...)  I've seen films and television dramatisations of many novels but have not read any for myself.  So, I'm starting with Great Expectations, today, the bicentenary of the author's birth.


  1. I saw Simon Callow on The One Show talking about Charles Dickens and he sounds like he was an amazing personality. Not so sure about his leaving a wife and 10 children though - very poor show!! I, too, have to admit to not having read any Dickens. I've been looking out for his books in charity shops but it seems they're the sort of books that people hang on to (unlike The Da Vinci Code - drat).
    Teresa x

  2. Charles Dickens was born in Commercial Road, Portsmouth - and I know that because I went to college there and the plaque was on the wall for all to see!! I have read several of his books and remember once telling my father how marvellous they were, and he should read them - he replied, "Read them? I lived them!!".

  3. Happy Birthday dear Charles D - thanks Lis for the information. BTW I love your new banner! Hugs Nat

  4. Our TV news had an item about a special exhibition (in London I think) featuring Charles Dickens. Have to admit that I have never read any of his books either, probably should do something about that too!

  5. Interesting point, I'm an avid reader, but I've never read any of his books - I wonder if I was put off the classics at school? The snow dying looks great fun, I saw instructions today in popular patchwork, but our show has all gone :-(

  6. There was a recent article about Dickens in the Japan Times... I guess to celebrate his birthday. I was a very poor reader as a kid and still read extremely slowly but I have read every one of his books I could lay my hands on.

  7. Interesting, I know Dickens of course but knew nothing about his life. I was surprised to read this phrase on Wikipedia: 'Dickens found Catherine an increasingly incompetent mother and housekeeper and blamed her for the birth of their 10 children, which caused him financial worries'.
    Who wouldn't be fed up of the daily chores required by a large family? And blaming her for the birth of their children? Men!


I really appreciate your lovely comments, ideas and opinions, they make my day. Thank you for visiting Piece'n'Peace,
hugs, Lis x