Chapter 4 Charles Dickens（1812-1870） By QinYuhua andSong Xiaoqing English Department in Hetao University
Charles Dickens（1812-1870） Charles Dickens is one of the greatest critical realist writer of the Victorian Age. Charles Dickens is a master story-teller.
With his first sentence, he engages the reader’s attention and holds it to the end. He is also a humorist that he is sure to produce roaring laughter or under-standing smiles.
I．His Personal Life • Charles Dickens （1812-1870） was born at Portsmouth. His father， a poor clerk in the Navy Pay office， was put into the Marsalsea Prison for debt when young Charles was only 12 years old. The son had to give up schooling to work in an underground cellar at a shoe-blacking factory - a position he considered most humiliating. We find the bitter experiences of that suffering child reflected in many of Dickens's novels.
The 12-year-old Dickens began working ten hour days in a Warren's boot-blacking factory, located near the present Charing Cross railway station. He earned six shillings a week pasting labels on the jars of thick polish.
This money paid for his lodgings in Camden Town and helped him to support his family. The shocking conditions of the factory made an ingrained impression on Dickens.
In 1827， Charles entered a lawyer's office， and two years later he became a Parliamentary reporter for newspapers. From 1833 Dickens began to write occasional sketches of London life， which were later collected and published under the title Sketches by Boz （1836）. Soon The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club （1836-1837） appeared in monthly installments.
And since then， his life became one of endless hard work. In his later years， he gave himself to public readings of his works， which brought plaudits and comfort but also exhausted him. In 1870， this man of great heart and vitality died of overwork， leaving his last novel unfinished.
Charles Dickens chalet He wrote the final chapter of the unfinished novel the mystery of edwin drood in the chalet before he died
II. His Major Works • Upon his death， Dickens left to the world a rich legacy of 15 novels and a number of short stories. They offer a most complete and realistic picture of English society of his age and remain the highest achievement in the 19th-century English novel. In nearly all his novels， behind the gloomy pictures of oppression and poverty， behind the loud humor and buffoonery， is his gentleness， his genial mirth， and his simple faith in mankind.
The following is a list of his novels and other collections in three periods： （1） Period of youthful optimist • Sketches by Boz 《新手之笔》（1836）； • The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club 《皮克威克外传》（1836-1837）； • Oliver Twist 《雾都孤儿》（1837-1838）； • Nicholas Nickleby 《尼古拉斯．尼克尔比》（1838-1839）； • The Old Curiosity Shop《老古玩店》（1840-1841）；
（2） Period of excitement and irritationAmerican Notes （1842）； • Martin Chuzzlewit 《马丁.朱述尔维特》（1843-1845）； • A Christmas Carol （1843）； • Dombey and Son《董贝父子》 （1846-1848）； • David Copperfield 《大卫.科波菲尔》（1849-1850）
（3） Period of steadily intensifying pessimism • Bleak House 《荒凉山庄》（1852-1853）； • Hard Times 《艰难时世》（1854）； • Little Dorrit 《小杜丽》（1855-1857）； • A Tale of Two Cities 《双城记》（1859）； • Great Expectations 《远大前程》（1860-1861）； • Our Mutual Friend 《我们共同的朋友》（1864-1865）；
III. his work’s views: • Dickens expose and criticize in his works all the poverty, injustice, hypocrisy and corruptness he sees all around him. He hates the state apparatus, especially the Parliament, but as a bourgeois writer, he can in no way supply any fundamental solution to the social plights.
The best he can do seems to try to retain an optimism with wishful thinking, as in his early works, or to express a helpless indignant protest. At the same time, he hopes to call people‘s attention to the existing social problems, thus affecting some reform or amelioration.(改良， 革新)
IV. Distinct Features of His Literary Creation • Dickens is adept with the vernacular and large vocabulary. He is humorous and witty. Character- portrayal is the most distinguishing feature of his works. Among a vast range of various characters, marked out by some peculiarity in physical traits, speech or manner, are both types and individuals.
And he is also famous for the depiction of those horrible and grotesque characters and those broadly humorous or comical ones Dickens' works are also characterized by a mingling of humor and pathos.
V. the features of the Charles Dicken’s novels • a. Dickens’s novels offer a most complete and realistic picture of the English bourgeois society of his age. • b. Dickens is a petty bourgeois intellectual • c. Almost all his novels have happy endings. • d. His novels tell much of the experiences of his childhood. • e. Dickens is a great humorist.
Oliver Twist • The novel is famous for its vivid descriptions of the workhouse & life of the underworld in the 19th-century London. The author's intimate knowledge of people of the lowest order & of the city itself apparently comes from his journalistic years. Here the novel also presents Oliver Twist as Dickens's first child hero & Fagin the first grotesque figure.
This section， Chapter III of the novel， is a detailed account of how he is punished for that " impious and profane offence of asking for more" & how he is to be sold. At three pound ten， to Mr. Gamfield， the notorious chimneysweeper. Though we can afford a smile now & then， we feel more the pitiable state of the orphan boy and the cruelty and hypocrisy of the workhouse board.
VII. Dombey and Son attacked the Capitalist Dombey regards his wife chiefly as a woman whose duty is to give birth, and regards his son as someone who carries his name and inherit his property. He thinks that his daughter is useless, can be neglected. He teaches his son that money can buy everything. His son died young. After his wife died, he marries a young beauty. He thinks that he buys her and she gets social status and money. Dombey thinks the marriage is a good business.
Dombey is very inhumane to his daughter. When his second wife shows her concern to the daughter. Dombey is annoyed. He thinks that he buys the second wife to love him only. She can't love another person. The second wife finally elopes with Dombey's manager who later cheats away his money. In his late life, Dombey lives in poverty and solitude. Only his daughter stays with him and takes care of him.
Bleak House attacked the law court • It's about a family lawsuit. Almost all family members are involved in the lawsuit for many years. The result is that the long legal procedure makes everybody poor and miserable.
IX. Hard Time attacked Utilitarianism • Utlitiarianists show their concern over facts. The novel exposed the influence of Utilitarianism in education. An educated man teaches his son and daughter by facts. The children have no time to play and to learn beautiful natural things. They only learn abstract, logical things. The son finally becomes a thief and is almost killed by others. The daughter becomes moral degenerated.
Charles Dickens means that Utilitarianism is a failure of education. It's also an attack on social Darwinism, which drugs people mind "you are poor and incapable so you have to work for me. "