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Charles Dickens was born in 1812 in Portsmouth, the son of a Navy pay clerk. When Dickens was 12, his father was put in prison for debts and he had to work in a shoe-blacking factory: this experience was to make him a lifelong campaigner for social justice and reform.
After his father was released he continued his schooling until the age of 15, then he started working in a solicitor’s office where he came into contact with courts and the Victorian underworld and conceived a hatred of the Law that he reveals in “Bleak House”.
Dickens began writing at a time when literacy had greatly risen as well as the public lending libraries. In particular, many middle and lower – class women were now learning to read and wanted amusing but also respectable edifying entertainment. D. was a great story-teller and his major novels were published in monthly instalments in periodicals. Sometimes audience reaction even affected how D. developed the story.
TYPES OF NOVELS
Charles Dickens’s novels combine humour with a sentimental plea for reform in favour of the less fortunate. They constitute the bulk of what is called “the humanitarian novel” or “the novel of purpose”
D. employed the most effective language and accomplished the most graphic and powerful descriptions of life and character ever attempted by any novelist, by means of a careful choice of adjectives, repetition of words and structures, juxtapositions of images and ideas, hyperbolic and ironic remarks.