Charles John Huffam Dickens was born February 7, 1812 in Portsmouth. He married Catherine Hogarth when he was 24 and although they separated in 1858, they never divorced.
Dickens left school at 15, but his education was interrupted when his father was imprisoned for debt and 10‐year‐old Charles was sent to work in a factory for two years to pay off money owed.
Although Dickens only spoke of this traumatising experience twice, critics agree that the two years he spent there forged much of the material for his later novels.
In his lifetime Dickens was a very famous public figure. He was reckoned to be the best after‐dinner speaker of the age; best shorthand reporter on the London Press and England's best amateur actor.
He was passionate about social causes and championed them both in his writing and in real life.
Dickens died in 1870 and was buried in Poets Corner in Westminster Abbey
Dickens had 10 children all of whom he gave nicknames. These included Lucifer Box, Skull, Chickenstalker, Skittles, The Ocean Spectre, Mr. H and Plorn. Charles Dickens's own nickname was "Boz".
Dickens suffered from both epilepsy and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). He touched objects three times for "luck," and combed his hair hundreds of times each day.
The Old Curiosity Shop was published in serial form in 1841 and readers all over Britain and the United States followed the progress of the heroine, Little Nell, with the same fervor that audiences today follow Harry Potter. When the ship carrying the last (71st) installment approached the dock in New York, 6,000 impatient fans waiting onshore called out to the sailors "Does Little Nell die?".
Hans Christian Andersen was Dicken's very close friend. However when Anderson overstayed his welcome Dickens printed a sign and left it on the mirror in the guest room. It read: "Hans Andersen slept in this room for five weeks, which seemed to the family like AGES".
The phrase "What the Dickens" has nothing to do with Charles Dickens. This word "Dickens" is a euphemism for the word devil.
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