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Charles DICKENS

1812 - 1870

(source)
"Any man may be in good spirits and good temper when hes well dressed. There aint much
credit in that." ( source?)

"With affection beaming out of one eye, and calculation shining out of the other." (source)

"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual
income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery."
(Wilkins Micawber, David Copperfield 1850)

QUESTIONS
1. In what way did his childhood have an impact upon the key theme of his work?
2. Did he receive complete school education?
3. Does he represent a total break from Romanticism or is he somehow still related to it?
4. What were the main socialwork actions he undertook?
5. Which was the favourite social milieu of his novels?
6. Which were considered the more successful characters from all his work? Are they
foreground characters or secondary rank ones? How did he build them?
7. What are the key characteristics of his style?
8. How do you account for the label national writer he was given?
9. Which are the titles and themes of the novels he wrote between ..?
10. Which are the key features of his style?
11. Which are the drawbacks of his style?
12. What kind of values did he uphold in the utilitarian age of his time?
13. Why do you think he became a popular writer in his time and even today?

PROFILE: see attachments


ABOUT: He retains a firm hold on reality and never loses sense of the average conditions
which all useful activities must fulfil. An ardent believer in progress, moderate in his views, and
of an optimistic turn of mind, he lives and thinks in complete accord with the middle class
opinions of his day (Legouis et alia, 1969. A History of English Literature, p. 1132)

LITERARY CREED: He often confessed: I write because I cant help it. He practised literature as
a social commentary on a world he tried to right through active, personal involvement, thus
turning his work intop a gospel of humanitarianism (ibid). He denounced the Poor Law, the
workhouse system, the rigours of the penal code, the slowness of justice, the neglect of children

and cruelty of school masters, the excesses of the workers unions and egotism of employers, the
lasissez faire doctrine. (source)
WORK

1836, Sketches by Boz

1848, The Haunted Man

1836-37, Pickwick Papers

1849-50, David Copperfield

1837-39, Oliver Twist

1851-53, Bleak House

1838-39, Nicholas Nickleby

1854, Hard Times

1840-41, The Old Curiosity Shop

1855-57, Little Dorrit

1841, Barnaby Rudge

1857, The Frozen Deep

1843, Martin Chuzzlewit

1857, "The Perils of Certain English


Prisoners"

A Christmas Carol
1844, The Chimes
1845, The Cricket and the Hearth
1846, The Battle of Life
1846-48, Dombey and Son

1859, A Tale of Two Cities


1860, "The Italian Prisoner"
1860-61, Great Expectations
1864-6,5 Our Mutual Friend text
1869-70, The Mystery of Edwin Drood

ASSIGNMENTS:
1. The picaroo tradition in Dickens
novels

2.

Realism and sentimentalism in a


Dickensian novel of your choice.

3. The world of childhood (ex. Oliver


Twist,

David

Copperfiled,

Great

Expectations)

6. The

dramatic

character

of

his

narrative art
7. Social criticism in the second part of

4. The town and the countryside

his creative years (Dombey and Son,

5. Literary

Bleak House)

novels

technique

in

Dickens

8. The importance of symbols in the


Dickensioan novels (i.e. the carriage)

9. IMPACT and POSTERITY:

Among the the English novelists Dickens is neither the most cosummate artist, nor
the finest psychologist, nor the most accomplished realist, nor the most seductive of
tale writers; but he is probably the most national, the most typical, and the greatest
of them all (ibid, 1137)

His popularity waned after his death but has regained momentum in the 20th
century.

10. DICKENS in and out of ROMANIA


11. Primary Bibliography
1.

Aventurile lui Oliver Twist, 1959. n romnete de Teodora i Profira Sadoveanu. Editura Tineretului.

2.

Documentele Postume ale Clubului Pickwick, 1970. n romnete de Ion Pas i Nicolae Popescu.

3.

Marile Sperane, 1968, n romnete de Vera cli. Prefaa de Dan Grigorescu, EPL.

4.

Misterul lui Edwin Drood, Traducere, prefa i note Nic Popescu.Cartea Romneasc

5.

Note din America, 1962. Prefa i note Dan Grigorescu.

6.

Schiele lui Boz, 1970. n romnete de Niculai Popescu, Ed. Univers, Clasicii literaturii universale.

7.

Timpuri Grele, 1964. Din englezete de Valeria i Teodora adoveanu, EPLU.

12. Secondary Bibliography


8.

Chesterton, G.K., 1970. Charles Dickens. Ed. Univers, Bucureti.

13.
14. on line
1.

Vianu

Lidia,

Dickens

in

Nutshell,

Contemporary

http//editura.mttic.ro

15.

2.

http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/dickens/works.html,

3.

Cambridge Companion to English Literature

Literature

Press,

Bucuresti

2012,